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Corneta Taq., La Glen ParkOMR: 7.97
2834 Diamond
cross street: Kern/Chenery
ph. 415/469-8757
Map Visits: 7
The enduring popularity of La Corneta, Glen Park's sole burrito production house, can create lengthy waits at peak times, and the taqueria's assembly line won't assuage your patience when you see your burrito impatiently tapping its fingers on the counter as you wait in line to pay for it. No wonder slabular temperature issues can often be a concern here, so consider asking to have your burrito sent to the grill after it's been foiled — try it, you'll like it. At any rate, the extensive menu at this bustling place features a heavy emphasis on seafood, and let's see if you can order that ill-named "super baby fish" burrito option with a straight face. Reading this in Dublin, Pittsburg, or Fremont? Take BART virtually right to the front door. Terrific (if oily) house-made chips and mighty sweet aguas frescas. Wine and bottled beer available. Weirdly, cash only. The quarter-fed weight scale near the restroom door is also worth noting.

Will My Health Be Violated?

06/16/11Super Carnitas$7.758.08 Mustaches
Swish: temperature (10); rice (9); beans (9); spiciness (9); size (8); cheese (8); vegetables (8); burstage abatement (8)
Shrug: tortilla (7); meat (7); sauciness (6); ingredient mix (6)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

Enduring a good two or three post-construction minutes on the La Corneta grill, you’d think our burly lunch would have registered a ten-mustache tortilla. Not the case — way too much seepage encouraged perennial drips from the top on down, a napkin-wasting development that more than counter-effected all the notoriously flaky grillwork. Another significant issue was the burrito's off-balance ingredient mix, which caused ill-distributed spiciness while bringing forth a metric ton of roast pork that kept hitting us with Rhode Island-sized chunks. The carnitas itself was perfectly adequate-tasting, but nothing special in the least — not nearly enough external char, for starters. The ruthless grilljob did the cheese a lot of melted favors, and the rice/beans foundation was typically strong; hats off as well to the punch-packing salsa roja. Good enough to be good — almost quite good, actually — and also sloppy enough to not be great.

06/28/10Super Carne Asada$7.757.67 Mustaches
Swish: spiciness (10); rice (9); beans (9); burstage abatement (9); size (8); meat (8); vegetables (8); sauciness (8)
Shrug: tortilla (7); temperature (6)
Clang: ingredient mix (5); cheese (4)
Intangibility bonus: 1 (of 2)

Major temperature dips and scads — scads! — of unmelted Jack cheese grates hamstrung this burly Glen Park slab early and often. Even the beef, so juicy and righteously smoky, fell prey to a few gristly moments, although La Corneta’s storied pea/carrot-inflected Spanish rice continued to proudly fly the nine-mustache flag. An equally ace set of refried beans and some robust veggie action also brought brief corner-mouth smiles to our panel’s usually pouty faces, as did the downright fierce spiciness (courtesy of the chunky salsa verde). But while the hot steak-and-rice bites were the best ones here, they couldn’t compensate for those that were less than hot (or even warm); we blamed the disappointing ingredient mix, which seemed to throw all the cold components together while also bunching the meat in unwieldly clumps. It all resulted in middling intangibility and a frustratingly inconsistent foiled lunch.

04/02/09Super Pollo$7.758.00 Mustaches
Swish: tortilla (9); burstage abatement (9); size (8); meat (8); beans (8); cheese (8); vegetables (8); sauciness (8); spiciness (8)
Shrug: rice (7); temperature (7); ingredient mix (6)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

A complete absence of perfect element ratings couldn’t derail this nicely sized slab from dropping anchor at our eight-mustache off-ramp, nor could it convince us to not lamely jumble a bunch of transit metaphors in this review’s first sentence. Unlike what transpired here on our previous visit, cheese created no fiasco this time — we’ll proudly take some of the credit there, thanks to our request for a post-foiling grill stint that provided our lunch with additional warmth. Still, the divisive mix, which relegated all vegetal ingredients to the west side of the slab, encouraged some middling temperature inadequacies up and down the burrito. One more complaint, then we’ll quit grousing and take a quick powder: What happened to La Corneta’s award-winning Spanish rice of yore? Used to be the best in its class in town. Now to the Bahamas!

OK, we’re back. This burrito's extra time on the grill did marvelous, wonderful things to the tortilla, while spice remained right throughout. The burly chunks of chicken were seasoned in all the right ways and places, while the tiny chunks of melon in the pico de gallo provided the answer to our favorite taqueria-parlor game, What’s That There in the Pico de Gallo, Anyway? Intangible cred reigned supreme. La Corneta comes through again. Alright.

03/15/08Super Molé de Pollo$6.758.00 Mustaches
Swish: burstage abatement (10); size (9); beans (9); sauciness (9); tortilla (8); meat (8); rice (8); vegetables (8)
Shrug: spiciness (7); ingredient mix (7); temperature (7)
Clang: cheese (4)
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

What’s with adding cheese to the burrito ingredient party last? We don’t get that. Had La Corneta added those ultimately unmelted mini-grates of jack earlier in the construction process, we’d have had a much higher OMR to work with here. But kudos are nonetheless in order for this workmanlike burrito that dodged a four-mustache element rating to still ratchet up an eight-mustache winner in the end. Single-napkin comportment and mighty hefty sizing impressed our judges panel, as did the marvelous molé sauce and killer refried beans. The grilled (by request) tortilla should have made a greater impact, but the chicken pulled apart nice and easily and gave all that rad mole something to glob onto. La Corneta’s previously legendary Spanish rice didn’t impress us the way it has in the past, but it still more than held the grainy fort. Pico de gallo was particularly jalapeño-infused, and the mix performed fluidly enough. A lukewarm slab-wide temperature brought the room down somewhat, but what else can be expected when the burrito reaches the point of purchase a full three minutes before its eventual recipient?

05/20/07Super al Pastor$6.758.08 Mustaches
Swish: rice (9); beans (9); vegetables (9); sauciness (9); burstage abatement (9); size (8); tortilla (8); meat (8); temperature (8)
Shrug: spiciness (7); ingredient mix (7)
Clang: cheese (4)
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

Globby grates of unmelted jack prevented our air traffic controllers from facilitating another mid-eight-mustache landing on La Corneta’s airstrip. Still, our FAA-approved judges panel enjoyed enough other elements of this Sunday slab to nudge it into thumbs-up territory. Coming in at nine mustaches, La Corneta's usually unassailable rice actually underperformed, while the glorious slop pulled from the refried beans tray was more than up to the task. A manageable surfeit of chopped onion anchored a strong assemblage of vegetables, and few complaints were heard re: the tangy/tasty marinated pork. A harmless guac burst at one end eliminated the possibility of a perfect burstage abatement score, but the fact that only one napkin was pulled throughout the life of this burrito tells you all you need to know; anyway, that was some chunky, delicious guacamole. Spice mostly danced on the periphery, but it got our attention early and maintained it through the last bite. Nice mix – not exactly seamless, but effective all the same. Steady sizing. Sharp intangibility. Great foil!

08/11/06Super Chile Relleno$6.558.64 Mustaches
Swish: rice (9); beans (9); cheese (9); vegetables (9); spiciness (9); temperature (9); burstage abatement (9); size (8); ingredient mix (8)
Shrug: tortilla (7); sauciness (7)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

Less than halfway into this marvelous sucker punch of a slab, we felt as if we’d been conscripted into a semi-secret chile relleno burrito appreciation society. Sure, its mildly fried batter didn’t add much to the experience, but the cheese-filled vegetable hunk within turned out to be an extraordinary centerpiece. This stocky, sorta-soft burrito’s allure wasn’t just relleno-deep, however – if the formidable foundation of top-shelf Spanish rice and deliciously pasty refried beans wasn’t winning us over, the instantly impressive spice, aggressively peppery pico de gallo, and roof-busting intangible cred certainly were. Presented relatively burstage-free (albeit in an unspectacular, steamed tortilla), intelligently mixed, and suffering from none of the temperature dips that have hindered past La Corneta efforts, this was a glorious, groan-free visit for our judges panel.

03/29/05Super Pollo en Salsa Roja$6.257.92 Mustaches
We always enjoy La Corneta’s excellent, pea-inclusive Spanish rice – it’d be a fine (if austere) dish in its own right. And anytime a burrito’s this long and hefty, someone behind the counter is doing something right. But the slippery slope of temperature inconsistencies reared up here, with the usual cause being the unfortunate bypassing of the post-construction steamer, and the expected result was more un-melted cheese than we’d have preferred. And was the spicy chicken actually that spicy? Not really, but the crafty addition of jalapeño mostly picked up the slack. Some formidable vegetable content (cilantro, chopped onion, them jalapeños) couldn’t improve the unspectacular tortilla situation, and this burrito’s sauciness rating took a minor hit at the hands of some unwanted juiciness. Aside from all that, it was a perfect eat.