the Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly Apparel Bazaar

Público South of MarketOMR: 8.00
555 9th St.
cross street: Bryant/Brannan
ph. none
Map Visits: 3
Before picking up some 19-cent bananas at Trader Joe’s and a new shower caddy at Bed, Bath & Beyond, consider dropping by self-described “urban taqueria” Público. What makes this Dos Piñas Taq.-affiliated walk-up window so urban? Certainly not the gas station restroom-style paper towels, all brown and coarse, although perhaps the parking structure-adjacent location qualifies it as suitably urbanomic. Of course, the food’s always the thing, and we reckon the burritowork here is solid overall. Bonus points for management’s decision to go the biodegradable foodware route. Don’t bother trying to call ahead — there’s no phone. Outdoor seating only. Cash only.

Will My Health Be Violated?

06/04/12El Magnifico Carne Asada Faji.$8.498.00 Mustaches
Swish: burstage abatement (10); size (9); meat (9); beans (9); vegetables (9); temperature (9); rice (8)
Shrug: tortilla (7); sauciness (7); cheese (6); spiciness (6); ingredient mix (6)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 1 (of 2)

It's not as if Público was onto nine-mustache genius here. Proceedings opened with a merely adequate tortilla and moved on to semi-melted (at best) cheese, overly well-behaved spiciness, and an ingredient mix that seemed to stumble through several phases (veggie phase, meat phase, rice phase, etc.); perhaps due in part to these lackluster elements, intangibility never truly caught fire. And while this seriously hefty burrito was neither particularly saucy nor dry, it did boast a number of exceptional traits as well, beginning (and ending) with its faultless construction. Extra-juicy carne asada and high-grade refried beans nudged our foiled lunch's fortunes upward, as did strong fajitafication -- onion, green and red pepper, the works. Then we bought some delightfully soft sateen sheets at BB&B.

10/25/09Al Pastor$7.007.75 Mustaches
Swish: cheese (10); temperature (10); tortilla (9); spiciness (9); beans (8); burstage abatement (8)
Shrug: rice (7); ingredient mix (7); size (6); meat (6); vegetables (6); sauciness (6)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 1 (of 2)

And on our let’s-see-if-it’s-really-as-good-as-our-first-visit-suggested return trip to Público, the walk-up taqueria’s fortunes took a minor hit; still, respectability persevered. We never identified what was to blame, but something in the roast pork’s belligerent sauce wasn’t quite right, although the enjoyably pasty black beans did their best to mask the sauce’s off-kilter taste. This junior-sized slab also suffered for its dearth of pico de gallo punch, although robust avocado slices (added on request) and the occasional grilled onion pitched in to prevent a full-on vegetabular drought. Why not some happy talk now? The mildly grilled tortilla sure turned out awfully nice, and nothing resembling even a lukewarm bite reared up throughout this squatty lunch’s too-brief existence. The show-stealing, all-melted Jack cheese (also added on request) took charge along the inner tortilla early and often, and we had to give it up for all the subtly creeping spice action that lasted top to bottom. Burstage issues arose both upon initial unfoiling and in the bottom third, but our sure-handed judges panel averted messy disaster. 7.75 mustaches is nothing to sneer at, particularly for a newcomer like Público. But we’re pretty sure we won’t be rushing back for a pastor rerun here.

08/04/09Pollo Asado$6.508.25 Mustaches
Swish: temperature (10); tortilla (9); meat (9); beans (9); cheese (9); ingredient mix (9); burstage abatement (9); rice (8); vegetables (8); sauciness (8)
Shrug: size (6)
Clang: spiciness (3)
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

Another San Francisco burrito shop that seems to borrow a few pages from Papalote’s winning playbook, Público produced us a wee little slab rich in intangibility and based around a foundation of on-point black refried beans, delicious grilled chicken, and burly guacamole. The stunted burrito was easily 25% shorter than most contemporary Mission-style scuds (Público’s menu doesn’t feature a super burrito by name), but it compensated the best it could with those aforementioned champion-level elements, as well as with its exceptional, all-in ingredient mix and gooey walls of melted Jack cheese lining the inner tortilla. The poultry was tender and juicy in all the right ways, and the smartly grilled tortilla earned nine mustaches in honest fashion. The thick, all-business guac dominated this burrito’s veggie angle, and while a smattering of ground red pepper flecks constituted the entirety of the spice line-up, it was better than nothing (though not by much). It all added up to further proof that suburban, rural, and wilderness burrito shops have nothing on the quintessential urban taqueria experience offered by Público. Oh yes.