the Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly Apparel Bazaar

Compadres, Los Civic Center / TenderloinOMR: 8.21
cross street: Polk
ph. none
Map Visits: 5
Los Compadres’ first truck near the Embarcadero was such a smashing success, management decided to invest in a second slabwheeler, hurl a metric ton of red paint at it, and park it in a corner lot a few blocks south of City Hall. Most importantly, the burritowork here is strong. Minimal outdoor seating. Closed/absent evenings and weekends. Cash only.

Will My Health Be Violated?

05/16/12Super al Pastor$7.508.00 Mustaches
Swish: spiciness (10); burstage abatement (10); tortilla (9); vegetables (9); ingredient mix (9); size (8)
Shrug: rice (7); beans (7); temperature (7); meat (6); cheese (6); sauciness (6)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

It’s no secret our panel is dangerously thin on math whizzes, so when we tallied Los Compadres’ final marks and saw that the place hit eight mustaches right on the snout, we checked our work a couple times. Despite high-scoring intangibility, five-alarm spice, clean construction, a highly credible ingredient mix, and some full-on bitchin’ veggie action — onions! pico de gallo! avocado! onions! — this lengthy slab sure had its share of frustrating turns. Why was the pork so internally dry? What was with the scattered, but noticeably unmelted cheese? Who ordered the clams? (OK, nobody ordered the clams.) The periodic dips into lukewarm territory also got our daubers down, and we wished the refried beans would have maintained a higher profile throughout. But remember that time Jimmy Page launched into the solo on “Achilles Last Stand” with a few ragged notes before everything ended up sort of heroic? This burrito was like that.

08/16/10Super Carnitas$7.008.67 Mustaches
Swish: temperature (10); burstage abatement (10); meat (9); cheese (9); vegetables (9); spiciness (9); size (8); tortilla (8); rice (8); sauciness (8)
Shrug: beans (7); ingredient mix (7)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

Minimally flawed and maximally delicious, this kinda long and real slender burrito stuck around a surprisingly long time, and given its sky-high Overall Mustache Rating — Los Compadres’ best yet — our panel was sure glad it didn’t disappear too quickly. A politely grilled tortilla introduced us to a fine ensemble inside, particularly the chunks of far above-grade fried pork and all the guacamole, diced onion, cilantro, and pico de gallo that helped seal the veggie deal. Near-fully melted cheese remained a constant factor throughout, and even if the mix allowed the rice a bit too much leeway and seemed to promote discernible fluctuations in spiciness, there was no denying this champ slab’s airtight construction and clean run of hot bites. The refried beans could have slatted a higher profile, but with idiot-proof intangibility like this, who’s to bellyache? Not us.

04/27/09Super Pollo Asado$7.008.17 Mustaches
Swish: burstage abatement (10); meat (9); sauciness (9); spiciness (9); size (8); tortilla (8); vegetables (8); temperature (8)
Shrug: rice (7); beans (7); ingredient mix (7); cheese (6)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

This tall, slender effort sidestepped a few middling elements (moments of unmelted cheese, a just-OK rice/beans foundation, no golden ticket tucked wedged between tortilla and foil) to ring up an impressive rating. Even if the otherwise fine refried beans were under-represented and the brown rice, though tasty, approached the mushiness of most Journey ballads, there was no denying the juicy and extra-flavorful cuts of chicken that anchored our lunch. Or the completeness of the veggie ensemble. Or the hell-bringing spice. Los Compadres’ salsa was, of course, equally devastating, creeping into most every bite the way it did. We couldn’t have squeezed more intangible goodness out of this burrito had we originally ordered it in a threatening tone, while two or slightly more cheers were in order for the nicely grilled tortilla. The ingredient mix could have been a bit more deft, but the burrito was clearly at the peak of its burstage abatement game, even with all that salsa ready to bleed out. Real nice.

06/25/07Super Carne Asada$6.008.25 Mustaches
Swish: sauciness (10); spiciness (10); temperature (10); burstage abatement (10); meat (9); tortilla (8)
Shrug: size (7); beans (7); cheese (7); vegetables (7); rice (6); ingredient mix (6)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

Make it bigger. Cook the rice a bit longer, and don’t add so damn much of it. Hurl in another scoop of tomato-rich pico de gallo, and do whatever it takes to ensure a seamless ingredient mix. If Los Compadres’ kitchen-on-tires follows through on each of these suggestions, we’re likely staring down the barrel of the eleventh nine-mustache effort on Burritoeater record. Alas, we were plenty happy with how this one panned out, irrespective of these various shortcomings. The tortilla, though guilty of a few ingrown moments, was sharply grilled, and we welcomed each randomly placed splotch of guacamole. Cheese deployment was much more melted hit than unmelted miss, while the cuts of carne asada burst with peppery flavor all slab long. But the one element here that bespelled us most? The extraordinary chipotle salsa, which seemed to punctuate every bite with a hearty “Ha! Smoky!” So rad. Hot bites, dunce-proof construction, and through-the-roof spice also sent our generally grouchy panel home happy.

11/23/05Super Pastor$4.507.58 Mustaches
It did well to hit on a triumvirate of perfect ratings, but in the end, this stocky slab couldn’t wrest itself out of the mid-seven-mustache sandpit that victimizes so many burritos capable of greater things. Blame an off-balance rice/beans foundation - the refried pintos were almost completely obscured by space-hogging brown rice – and a weak veggie supporting cast. Pico de gallo appeared to be fully absent inside the grilled tortilla, and other than a few mildly consequential splats of guacamole, everything else was pretty much forty shades of brown and orange. The mix was hampered by the aforementioned rice coup and some overly bunched barbecued pork at the hind end. Speaking of meat, Los Compadres’ pastor was particularly baffling – tasty and smoky on its own, but lost in the monochromatic shuffle at other points. We’d even hazard that the gullible sort would mistake it for carne asada. Sauciness was fine throughout, and despite having to eat this food-blimp elsewhere, it retained every degree of the toasty heat index it emanated upon delivery. A heaping helping of jalapeño shot the spiciness rating into the stratosphere, and we’ve seen few burritos as smartly constructed as this. But on the whole, we know Los Compadres can do better.