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Compadres, Los (Spear/Folsom) South of MarketOMR: 7.17
200 Spear
cross street: Folsom
ph. none
Map Visits: 4
This lunch-only taqueria drops anchor every weekday just off the Embarcadero, making burrito picnics at nearby Rincon Park along the waterfront a paper-plated reality. It’s also the only taqueria in town bold enough to spell “chicken” with “qu” rather than “ck.” The small staff maintains a few tables off the Spear St. sidewalk, but most customers take their orders to go. Cash only.

Will My Health Be Violated?

10/20/11Super Pollo Asado$6.507.00 Mustaches
Swish: spiciness (10); sauciness (9); burstage abatement (9); size (8); vegetables (8)
Shrug: tortilla (7); meat (7); rice (6); ingredient mix (6); temperature (6)
Clang: cheese (4); beans (3)
Intangibility bonus: 1 (of 2)

Only a paltry few elements of our latest Los Compadres (Spear/Folsom edition) burrito were truly outstanding, but the acute spice, solid construction, and consistently fine sauciness earned some highly mustachioed plaudits from our ever-critical panel of judge-cranks. Problem was, our lunch lagged in so many other ways that it never stood a chance of attaining any sort of respectable overall rating. Major temperature concerns revealed themselves from the first few bites on down, and not coincidentally, so did a bunch of unmelted cheese patches. As for the lowest element rating of all, three for the beans, the legume-y objects at hand not only weren’t refried as promised, but there just weren’t that many of them. As for our so-called chiquen, it was as serviceable as the tortilla cradling it and everything else, even though the poultry seemed distinctly boiled rather than grilled as it was billed. There was lots and lots (and lots) of Spanish rice, and it was really just OK at best. And how about that perilously ingrown tortilla?! None more ingrown.

03/11/08Super al Pastor$6.507.50 Mustaches
Swish: spiciness (10); burstage abatement (10); size (9); sauciness (9); temperature (9); tortilla (8); meat (8); vegetables (8)
Shrug: no elements elicited shrugs
Clang: beans (5); cheese (5); rice (4); ingredient mix (4)
Intangibility bonus: 1 (of 2)

So this is what gale-force sluggers of yore - Gorman Thomas, Reggie Jackson, Pete Incaviglia - are up to nowadays: cooking up burritos in a South of Market slabwagon. Baseball’s unholy trinity of home run-or-strikeout kings certainly would have appreciated our sizable lunch from Los Compadres, which was either swinging for the fences or shuffling back to the dugout after yet another whiff. Several cubic feet of smokily sauced pastor anchored this meat-lover’s burrito, but the mix failed to bring any sense of elemental harmony to the densely packed, but hopelessly subdivided slab. Miles of wee-grained rice simply took over at times, and its mashed-together texture was akin to what you’d expect from refried rice, if such a thing were available at the taqueria. Yeah, we got riced hard, and it sort of hurt. Miniscule grates of jack cheese were occasionally unmelted and less than the best we’ve experienced, while the unremarkable beans languished deep in the mix. On the up side, Los Compadres’ salsa roja brought down the spice hammer instantly and frequently, and the cilantro-fueled veggie gang and grilled tortilla merited respect. Much like Rob Deer’s major league career, this one looked promising at the top before demonstrating its failure to bang the burrito equivalent of a stand-up double into the left-center alley.

12/06/05Super Carnitas$4.507.33 Mustaches
Less than two weeks after we were merely whelmed by a burrito from Los Compadres’ red Civic Center slabwheeler, this location kicked down an even less mustachioed effort. It’s true that, despite its disappointing overall showing, certain elements here transcended the encroaching mediocrity – a heaping helping of excellent, shredalicious carnitas (salted just enough), superior construction, a nicely grilled tortilla, and ruthless spice to burn. But even though we offered a two-mustache temperature handicap (one for the three-minute trip from truck to table, another for the fact that it had to brave a brisk 50-degree air temperature in that time), we could only award eight hairy ones, as this burrito’s average bite temperature still came in only around “sorta-warm.” A foolish ingredient mix that squished all the guacamole and most of the veggies into one end of the cylindrifood also contributed to the internal chills. And unsurprisingly, the grated jack was only partially melted. But it was a 7.33-mustache burrito, and it was far from ghastly.
09/07/04Super Carne Asada$5.008.26 Mustaches
Delicious and finely trimmed steak, delicious intangibles, and spice that nearly set off alarms at the bayside fire station adjacent to Rincon Park. Also, smokin-hot and solidly constructed – integral requirements for any burrito, and particularly for one taken to-go.