cross street: Polk
Map Visits: 5
Shrug: size (7); meat (7); beans (6); vegetables (6); ingredient mix (6)
Clang: cheese (5); tortilla (4)
Intangibility bonus: 1 (of 2)
When our judges panel peeled off this short-ish slab's foil to reveal the whitest, stickiest item spotted in San Francisco since that time Gavin Newsom spilled a bunch of glue on his jacket, we knew times could turn tough at the only taqueria in town with red velvet booths. And while this burrito's bumbling bi-plane avoided taking a nosedive into the side of Mt. Six Mustaches, its fortunes certainly weren't helped by all the unmelted cheese and super-austere pinto beans. Stuffing an overwhelming percentage of the moist, yet strangely mealy chicken down in the sketchy tortilla's hind end also didn't do anyone any favors. Fortunately, we at least got a bit of a thrill out of the supercharged habanero salsa, and wasn't it ironic that the Spanish rice — an item that didn't find its way onto Nick's menu until around six years prior — turned out to be a star element? Cleave-free construction and mostly hot bites also helped matters, but the too-creamy guacamole and overly tomato-reliant pico de gallo sure didn't. Neither did middling intangibility and the flypaper-like outer wrap.
Shrug: size (7); rice (7); cheese (7); tortilla (6); ingredient mix (6)
Clang: beans (5); sauciness (5)
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)
Despite a number of on-point elements — including a heap of right-smoky beef and soaring intangible credibility — our latest uncrispy burrito at Nick’s lagged overall. Our witch hunt’s trail led directly to this length-deprived burrito’s lousy sauce dispersal, which allowed the top half to wallow in dryness while the lower half hogged (and occasionally spewed) all the excess. Kind of not so ideal. The other big trouble was laid at the feet of the sparse collection of whole pinto beans, which at best dotted the interior slabscape; meanwhile, the wickedly sticky/gummy tortilla was a borderline-clanger itself. As for certain things we enjoyed here that didn’t get mentioned up in the opening sentence, hats off to the piping-hot overall temperature and gracefully sledgehammering of habanero sauce that punctuated several bites. But in the end, the Spanish-inspired rice was a microcosm of this burrito: seven mustaches we couldn’t quite figure out.
Shrug: size (7); ingredient mix (7); tortilla (6); beans (6); sauciness (6)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)
Although refried beans remain unwelcome at Nick’s, the recent arrival of delicious, moist Spanish rice caused an immediate upsurge in respect from our carb-appreciative judges panel. But that wasn’t all we found likable about this fully respectable slab, as tongue-lashing spiciness – brought on by no shortage of habañero sauce – excellent fried pork, and some killer, tomato-splashed guacamole each provided mustachioed fireworks on this afternoon. This was a dense, tightly packed slab, well-built and full of all those hot bites we pine for whenever we approach the taqueria counter and kindly say, "Burrito please." Still, the mega-steamed tortilla left us looking for synonyms for “sticky,” and that was kind of a bummer...although not as much as the austere pinto beans here. Sizing was ever so slightly underwhelming, but hey, back to those carnitas – slyly salted and smartly textured, inside and out. Cheese: all melted, quietly contributing, very nicely done. And other than the encroaching rice, the ingredient floor plan was smartly laid out. All told, a nice surprise from this site of slabular disappointments past.