the Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly Apparel Bazaar

Iron Cactus, The South of MarketOMR: 6.44
683 4th St.
cross street: Townsend
ph. 415/777-1004
Map Visits: 2
Housed in the old Gilt Edge Creamery building around the corner from the local ballyard, the Iron Cactus features old-time hanging light fixtures, scorching table salsas, rad horchata, sportsy decor, TVs in three corners...pretty much the works. The room's all windows on the entry side and accented by dark wood most everywhere else; there's also a giant patio in the rear. The staff’s quite nice, even if our burrito-eating experiences here haven't been. Credit cards accepted. Wine and beer (bottled and draft) available, as well as sangria and agave wine cocktails.

Will My Health Be Violated?

01/19/13Super Chile Roja Chicken$8.756.33 Mustaches
Swish: spiciness (10); burstage abatement (9)
Shrug: size (7); meat (7); temperature (7); tortilla (6); rice (6); beans (6); sauciness (6)
Clang: ingredient mix (5); vegetables (4); cheese (2)
Intangibility bonus: 1 (of 2)

Other than the ideal level of spiciness this slightly undersized slab maintained throughout, we had a real clanger on/in our hands here. The ingredient mix was iffy at best, and disastrous at worst. Just how disastrous? Spotty sauciness and too much rice (mushy, at that) were major character flaws, but not as much as the one (1) bite of guacamole and pathetically tiny amount of cheese on hand; worse yet was the fully unmelted state of said cheese, ew. The shredded chicken wasn't offensive, but other bummers included occasional drippiness, the drab tortilla (lamely sodden at the hind end), and a nasty cold patch about a half-dozen bites in. One bonus mustache for intangibility seems like a gift, but something must have possessed us to be so generous...although at press time we can't quite imagine what.

12/22/09Carnitas$8.556.67 Mustaches
Swish: burstage abatement (10); vegetables (9); spiciness (8)
Shrug: size (7); meat (7); rice (7); tortilla (6); beans (6); ingredient mix (6); temperature (6)
Clang: sauciness (5); cheese (4)
Intangibility bonus: 1 (of 2)

A sticky, overly elastic tortilla introduced us to the Iron Cactus’ burritowork, and we wish the whole meeting had gone better. Sadly, our lunch was sauce-deficient, length-challenged, and victimized by several bites that came in well under our temperature acceptability level. The veggie-based contingent — crisp and chunky pico de gallo, burly guacamole — remained impressive throughout, and we certainly had no gripes about this girthy/hefty burrito’s construction. But too many elements underperformed, from the tasty but overabundant Spanish rice (which included corn kernels and peas) to the drab, too-pasty refried beans. As for the carnitas, its flavor was fine enough, but it completely lacked the sort of charred crispiness we hope for in killer carnitas. The biggest drags here were all the unmelted cheese grates and the poorly realized ingredient mix, and don’t think those two things weren’t related. Some bites demonstrated sky-high spice; others were sea-level flat. We tried seeking out the good here, but instead were subjected to just too much six-mustache sub-mediocrity. Let’s try this again some other time, shall we?