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New Spot, The DogpatchOMR: 7.67
632 20th St.
cross street: 3rd St.
ph. 415/558-0556
Map Visits: 3
In need of some rice and beans for a few years there in the mid 2000s, Dogpatch welcomed the New Spot in late 2006. However, the restaurant’s ownership alliance might be better off renaming the popular, 25-seat Mexican/Salvadorean joint "EnormoParrot" or something similar, given the massive mural (of a parrot, yes) that hogs most of its east wall. The exceptional chips are served warm, the ranchero salsa rules, credit cards are accepted, and breakfast is available until 10:30 A.M....and holy smokes, that parrot’s just colossal. Dress lightly — it’s a toasty room. Seriously: Hugest parrot mural in San Francisco, no contest. Closed evenings, and all day Sunday.

Will My Health Be Violated?

10/01/10Super al Pastor$6.507.17 Mustaches
Swish: spiciness (10); rice (9); burstage abatement (9); beans (8); temperature (8)
Shrug: tortilla (7); meat (7); vegetables (7); size (6); ingredient mix (6)
Clang: sauciness (4); cheese (4)
Intangibility bonus: 1 (of 2)

More than anything, it was the weird sauce — overly creamy and an off-putting shade of light orange, it didn’t do the accompanying pastor (or our cockeyed panel) any favors. The disastrously undermelted cheese, which weighed in at an equally egregious four mustaches, also hurt the New Spot’s cause...but man, that sauce, ow. Spiciness overcompensated for these missteps, but we’ve been down that path before, and it always leads to a dead-end when a kitchen ransoms the devil for one ten-mustache rating at the expense of the big picture. This comparatively wee slab did feature moist ‘n’ plump grains of rice; pity, then, that they were all pushed to one side. Diced onion was the only vegetable that stood out, and the pork failed to make much of an impression, so it’s no shocker that intangibility came in slow and low here. Sorry for all the mixed metaphors in the third sentence.

08/17/09Super Puerco en Chile Verde$6.508.33 Mustaches
Swish: sauciness (10); spiciness (10); temperature (10); cheese (9); ingredient mix (9); burstage abatement (9); size (8); tortilla (8); meat (8); rice (8)
Shrug: vegetables (7)
Clang: beans (2)
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

As closely as this burrito brushed up against greatness, its takeover-minded chile verde ensured a despondent rating for that oft-overlooked burrito element: beans. Our beloved refrieds were lost to a washout of delicious green salsa, although there’s always a chance the New Spot’s kitchen used a baby-sized spoon when scooping from the beans tray. Whatever the cause for their abysmally low profile, we missed the beans, and the accordant two-mustache rating kept this otherwise exceptional slab from hitting the high eights. Despite its encroachment, the rich chile verde bathed the jumbo pork chunks (occasionally fatty, but still delicious) in all the right ways, while the unusually nimble mix enabled us to enjoy the fine Spanish rice amidst all the burrito’s other ingredients, rather than off on its own. And it takes guts for a kitchen at a fairly straightforward Mexican/Salvadorean place like this to opt for Swiss-American cheese, but the results here were worth nothing — 90% melted, 100% fun. Intangibly sharp and piping-hot in every imaginable way, with only a minor sauce overflow preventing a perfect burstage abatement score, this was the sort of rustically rad foiled lunch mom used to make, assuming your mother had an aversion to beans. Also, have we mentioned the parrot mural here? So massive. Takes up an entire wall, pretty much.

03/26/09Super Carne Asada$6.508.00 Mustaches
Swish: size (9); rice (9); cheese (9); temperature (9); meat (8); ingredient mix (8); burstage abatement (8)
Shrug: tortilla (7); beans (7); vegetables (7); sauciness (7); spiciness (6)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

The New Spot may have failed to ring up any ten-mustache element ratings here, but we’ll never slag a clang-free lunch like this. Cylindrical (thinner top, wider base) and hefty as all hell, this 20-bite monstrosity featured ample and highly flavorful carne asada, not to mention almost as much cheese as the whole of Wisconsin. Digging a little deeper, going “inside” the burrito, etc. etc.: The juicy beef tasted and appeared as if it had been smartly braised, while the cheese explosion was the result of a super-gooey synthesis of Swiss, (white) American, and Jack — hey, don’t knock it ‘til you try it, friend-o. The slab’s mix was, for the most part, successfully inclusive, while we appreciated the plump and moist rice grains because this is San Francisco, not San Diego, dammit. And the thick-enough guacamole and mildly tangy pico de gallo got the job done. Eliciting shrugs were the unflashy tortilla and happy-to-be-there refried beans, while the hind end’s late gash was a drag, even if it didn’t result in a major ingredient spill. The considerable steak did spew forth an increasing level of grease the further down we drilled, but we were armed with napkins — although it didn’t do the sauciness rating any favors. Intangible cred remained on the mark throughout. Look at the size of that parrot!!