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Dos Piñas Taq. Potrero HillOMR: 7.71
251 Rhode Island
cross street: 16th St.
ph. 415/252-8220
Map Visits: 7
Arriving on the lower Potrero Hill scene around the end of the 20th century, this lively mainstay remains more popular than ever with the area's workaday Oriental rug dealers, antique vase scavengers, and dot-com survivors. Aside from the odd nine-mustache slab (see 11/01/07 below), no local food goes down more delightfully on a chilly San Francisco evening than a bowl of Dos Piñas' unassailably rad tortilla soup; there's also a California "burro" on the menu for all the fries lovers out there. Expect "Celebration"-style party music, particularly if your idea of a party is hanging out in the bar of Radisson in 1988. Beer in bottles, beer on tap, beer hooray! Agave wine margaritas as well. Credit cards accepted.

Will My Health Be Violated?

01/09/13Super Carne Asada$9.447.58 Mustaches
Swish: temperature (10); beans (9); cheese (9); burstage abatement (9); meat (8); rice (8); ingredient mix (8)
Shrug: tortilla (7); sauciness (7); size (6)
Clang: vegetables (5); spiciness (4)
Intangibility bonus: 1 (of 2)

The latest chapter in Dos Piñas' roller coaster of a slabular biography may have fallen on the short side of likability, but it did feature a small handful of items worth trumpeting: nicely pasty refried beans, thoroughly melted cheese, reliably solid construction, and hot bites throughout. Still, too many elements came up short for our panel to allow this short, floppy slabette access anywhere near our Eight-Mustache Club's entrance. From the just-there tortilla and scattered moments of greasiness on through spice remaining a rumor top to bottom, this foiled food could have been a lot better. But the most maddening thing about it? The severe drought of vegetables, which failed to include any pico de gallo and resulted in an overly dominant performance by the (admittedly excellent) guacamole. Worst of all, this helped make the burrito alarmingly soft and mushy, apart from the nicely juicy carne asada. Clearly, there was no two-mustache intangibility bonus in the offing here.

02/26/11Super Carnitas$6.708.17 Mustaches
Swish: tortilla (10); spiciness (10); size (9); meat (9); cheese (9); burstage abatement (9); sauciness (8); temperature (8)
Shrug: rice (7); vegetables (7); ingredient mix (6)
Clang: beans (4)
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

What took so long to make this burrito? It must have been all that grill time the grilled-all-to-hell tortilla spent a-grilling on the grill. Result: ten-mustache tortilla. A little on the short — and a lot on the stocky — side, this Saturday night widemouth superslab did so many things well, from multi-alarm spiciness and a host of ultramega-cheesy bites to a heaping helping of invitingly flavorful carnitas. Not that this was a complete masterpiece by any means, as the sub-profile presence of refried beans and sometime-goofy ingredient mix acted as ballast to Dos Piñas’ lofty ambitions. Indeed, most of the guacamole was slammed down into the burrito’s hind end, and the ordinary rice was rarely allowed to commingle with the other elements. Double-positive intangibility shot through the roof, though, and that never doesn’t count for something with our panel.

06/25/08Super Chicken Molé$7.457.50 Mustaches
Swish: cheese (10); size (9); tortilla (9); temperature (9); meat (8); spiciness (8)
Shrug: sauciness (7); rice (6); vegetables (6); ingredient mix (6); burstage abatement (6)
Clang: beans (5)
Intangibility bonus: 1 (of 2)

Even the tortilla – so grilled, it was practically toasted – had no choice but to ultimately succumb to this hefty burrito’s molé washout. One by one, the molé's sea of dark glurg knocked everything else flat, staging a merciless coup until it was the last thing oozing. Among the defeated ingredients: thin, barely-there refried beans; the delicious, but completely overmatched guacamole; a delicate construction aesthetic that didn’t stand a chance against Agent Molé; and as noted, the otherwise spot-on tortilla. Problem is, burritos shouldn’t be war zones, but rather peace parks of harmoniously cooperative elements. However, Dos Piñas’ molé had a damaging militaristic mood that couldn’t be deprogrammed, and it led to the final detriment of this squishy, at times burstage-happy slab. Not even credible spice, a fine helping of poultry, and tortilla-lining pillows of melted cheese could save this one from the bin of disappointment, considering how its immediate predecessor several months prior was the greatest burrito of 2007.

11/01/07Super Fajita al Pastor$8.259.17 Mustaches
Swish: cheese (10); temperature (10); burstage abatement (10); tortilla (9); rice (9); sauciness (9); spiciness (9); vegetables (9); ingredient mix (9); size (8); meat (8); beans (8)
Shrug: no elements elicited shrugs
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

No way. Way! Our po-faced panel sauntered into this old haunt at the dinner hour expecting more seven-something-mustache adequacy, only to emerge more stunned than the bonehead who accidentally wears a target shirt to a Taser convention. Taquerias with longstanding reputations for undersized, overpriced, shrugtacular burritowork aren’t supposed to weigh in at 9.17 mustaches, completely out of nowhere. What the hell happened here? Our sharp decision to go the super fajita ordering route here resulted in generous dimensions, more melted jack than we (almost) knew what to with, some right tasty guacamole, and a throng of grilled onion and red bell pepper that played a significant role in sealing this extraordinary burrito’s nine-mustache deal. Elsewhere, the steady-rollin’ refried beans contributed tasty squish throughout this slab’s 18-bite stay, while the grilled tortilla and subtly peppered pork each caught and maintained our attention top to bottom. The delicious and moist rice, perfectly applied in both placement and amount, also deserves much credit, as does the spiciness...the kind that sneaks in after about a dozen bites and slyly reminds you it’s been there all along, and it’s only going to escalate. Have we covered everything? Almost. As great as all the parts here were, the sum of them was greater, for this slab’s intangible dominance can’t be conveyed in a capsule review. As with taquerias, as in life: Sometimes, you just never know.

09/22/05El Truck Stop (Chicken Saus.)$3.257.55 Mustaches
It’s hard to find a more simple burrito than one of Dos Piñas’ breakfast options. (For the purpose of this review, we define “simple” as “containing five, and only five, ingredients.”) Even in their late ‘90s heyday, Dos Piñas never brought forth much in the way of sizable AM slabbery, and nothing’s changed all these years later. The fluffy scrambled eggs were the prime mover here within the sharply grilled tortilla, which begs the question: Are truck stops known for skimping on chicken apple sausage? The cylindri-pork that was on hand here was certainly very tasty, but a more equal portion to that of the dominant eggs would have upped the ante to a reasonable level. The big clang, however, came via the suspect salsa – its attempt to bring a bit of tangy flair to our morning just made us frown on contact. And where were the grilled sweet onions on the bill? Elsewhere, apparently, along with all the other vegetables. Given this burrito’s austere makeup, a fairly seamless ingredient mix was a near certainty, and don’t think we didn’t appreciate its perfectly melted jack cheese shreds, near-perfect run of hot bites, and infallible construction, because we did. But 13 bites? Come ahn. Beef, er, sausage it up.
12/10/03Steak$6.757.38 Mustaches
If you’re going to ask someone to kick down nearly seven bucks for a burrito, it should at least fill one's tummy. Not the case here, and sadly, neither was a full slate of warm bites. Apart from those costly errors, Dos Piñas’ work did manage to include some enjoyable guacamole, laudable spiciness and sauciness, and the all-too-rare achievement of intelligent sour cream deployment. But cold bites are unforgivable.
11/06/03Steak$6.758.00 Mustaches
As small as it was, we still enjoyed this burrito. But the dog ate our notes about it, so you’ll have to take our word for it.