the Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly Apparel Bazaar

Tacobar Pacific HeightsOMR: 8.57
2401 California
cross street: Fillmore
ph. 415/674-7745
Map Visits: 6
Filling the mid size shoes of departed La Salsa in 2010, Tacobar’s first-rate slabs and premium price points have found their niche along Fillmore up in the Heights of the Pacific. True to its name, this real friendly place features more counter seating than it does tables, all the more suitable for the long, rectangular plates on which its mighty tasty “burros” (don’t call them burritos here) are served. Seafood’s liberally represented on the menu, and there’s coconut-caramel flan (oh yes) for dessert. Credit cards accepted. Breakfast available (until 2PM) on weekends; bottled beer, margaritas, and sangria on offer all week long. And the watermelon agua fresca rules, as does the Q*bert-style tilework on the taqueria's west wall. Outdoor seating available.

Will My Health Be Violated?

09/09/13Especial Carne Asada$10.108.33 Mustaches
Swish: vegetables (10); spiciness (10); cheese (9); temperature (9); burstage abatement (9); meat (8); rice (8); sauciness (8)
Shrug: size (7); beans (7); ingredient mix (7); tortilla (6)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

Holy habanero! The switchboard's totally lighting up here at Burritoeater Towers.

Caller one! You're on the air.

How am I supposed to take your opinions of San Francisco taquerias even remotely seriously when you champion the work of Tacobar? I only ever see white people eating at that place.
And? Is Rush an unworthy entity simply because only white people listen to their music? What's your truck with Banana Republic apparel? Or skiing and Wes Anderson films? Great guacamole, hair-raising spice, and hot bites know no racial divide. Caller two!

Was the carne asada...juicy? (So juicy?) Was your “burrito” full of...moist rice? Did you find everything...sized to please? Did “burstage” slowly build into a volcano of....
Hold it right there, playboy. Who are you, some fifth-rate food-erotica writer? Guido the Killer Pimp? Sure, that was all pretty much the case with today's slab, but I can hear your heavy breathing through your keyboard, and it's starting to fog up my screen. Go cruise yourself. Caller three!

Past Tacobar slabs have earned higher ratings, but it seems this one didn't quite hit the same sort of heights. What's the story? Why only 8.33 hairy ones?
There's certanly no shame in 8.33 mustaches, but the truth is that our panel wasn't too thrilled with the overly sticky tortilla – the damn thing was steamier than that last caller's doggie breath. And we could have done with some higher-profile refried beans, as well as few extra bites and a more seamless ingredient mix. But the intangibility! That went through the roof today. OK – caller four, make it happen.


11/27/12Especial Pollo$9.958.75 Mustaches
Swish: vegetables (10); spiciness (10); burstage abatement (10); meat (9); beans (9); ingredient mix (9); size (8); tortilla (8); rice (8); sauciness (8); temperature (8)
Shrug: cheese (6)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

If it weren't for some unmelted cheese damaging this slab's overall temperature, our panel certainly would have had another nine-mustache monster in its midst here at California and Fillmore. As it stood, this burro was still a major winner for our panel at the dunch hour, from its hyper-flavorfully sauced chicken and wise old dude of an ingredient mix on through its inestimably high level of intangible charm. It was also so neat to eat. A Tacobar burro may never be a buxom affair, but you can always count on a rightly sized scud here. And the guacamole! Richly flavorful, indeed, although it and the onion-rich pico de gallo were guilty (along with the aforementioned unmelted cheese) of promoting declined temperature in a few bites here and there; boo to that. Habanero-fueled spice (oomph) and a lightly, yet firmly grilled tortilla (aamph) helped keep the whole production in the high eights, as did the delightful Mexican rice and on-the-money refried beans.

10/14/12Especial Carnitas$9.959.17 Mustaches
Swish: cheese (10); spiciness (10); burstage abatement (10); meat (9); rice (9); beans (9); vegetables (9); sauciness (9); ingredient mix (9); temperature (9); size (8)
Shrug: tortilla (7)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

One steamed, sticky tortilla notwithstanding, Tacobar's fourth time around our mustachioed basepaths turned out to be one of the biggest successes on Burritoeater record — 9.17 mustaches ain't no joke, friends. This delightfully burly burr(it)o was a force to be reckoned with from the top down. Consider all the marvelous, wonderful elements we had to put up with: infernal, unceasing spice courtesy of just the right amount of habanero salsa; exceptionally tasty Mexican rice and refried beans (although the latter deserved higher-profile in-slab status); tender, knack-possessing carnitas; a champ combination of veggie talent, anchored by thick 'n' rich guac and onion-laden pico de gallo; nice and tidy construction; and a $200 bill wedged inside one of the tortilla folds with a note reading, This burrito gets at least nine mustaches or you and your "panel" get a icy bucket of housemade horchata poured down your shorts. Then we bussed our own table and hurried out. Hell of a lunch! Thanks!

12/20/11Especial Carne Asada$9.708.50 Mustaches
Swish: meat (10); burstage abatement (10); rice (9); beans (9); spiciness (9); temperature (9); size (8); sauciness (8)
Shrug: tortilla (7); cheese (7); vegetables (7); ingredient mix (7)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

While Tacobar hasn’t quite reached the level of complete brilliance sustained by the Little Chihuahua and particularly Papalote in San Francisco’s upmarket taqueria Olympiad, this corner joint is probably closer to making the ultimate grade than you’d expect. Cheese and vegetables played somewhat lesser roles this time through, and we sure would have appreciated a grilled tortilla rather than one that was all stickily steamed and stuff. But other than all that and an ingredient mix that separated the marvelously moist rice from everything else more than it should have, gripes here were minimal. We enthusiastically welcomed the arrival of refried beans on Tacobar’s menu — real tasty refried beans, these refried beans — while the truly big galoot on the block here was the note-perfect carne asada, juicy and tender through and through. Pointedly sharp spiciness and super-rad intangibility sealed the eight-and-a-half mustache deal. Then we went and bought an $800 handbag a couple blocks up Fillmore.

10/11/10Especial Pollo$9.508.33 Mustaches
Swish: ingredient mix (10); cheese (9); vegetables (9); spiciness (9); temperature (9); burstage abatement (9); tortilla (8); rice (8)
Shrug: size (7); meat (7); sauciness (7); beans (6)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

It may not have performed quite at the same tall level as what we thoroughly enjoyed on our first Tacobar visit a few months prior, but 8.33 mustaches is nothing to scoff at. Our foiled meal was a bit on the svelte side, and the just-there pinto beans did little to impress our panel — and rarely have we been subject to such utterly shrug-worthy chicken. Still, between the bitchin’ guacamole, often-furious spice, and much-improved rice situation, there was plenty to applaud here. Never mind the minor drips and lack of heft — a truly exceptional ingredient mix and some full-on, ragin’ intangibility sealed the deal.

07/09/10Especial Carnitas$9.708.58 Mustaches
Swish: tortilla (10); meat (9); cheese (9); vegetables (9); ingredient mix (9); temperature (9); burstage abatement (9); size (8); spiciness (8)
Shrug: rice (7); beans (7); sauciness (7)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

Delivering a terrific medley of ingredients, righteous intangibility, and the sort of density usually reserved for jean-jacketed stoners in the back of the classroom, Tacobar’s maiden voyage into our panel’s stormy sea of burrito-criticism was met with almost nothing but cheers. The only element garnering something even remotely close to a jeer was the “Mexicano” rice, which seemed to simply play a role and fill space. We’re not sure what was citrus-touched here — possibly the braised pork? — but it worked real well, whatever it was. Don’t doubt Tacobar’s ability to grill a tortilla eight or even nine or ten ways to Sunday...this was one of the best-ever grill-jobs. Cheese was all nicely melted inside, and while the carnitas wasn’t at all crispy, it still had the right mix and salty and roasty tendencies to merit nine hairy ones on our scale; the veggie army of thick guacamole, diced onion, and pico de gallo also marched in nine-mustache step. The whole pinto beans retained a hint of smokiness, and other than some very minor seepage, construction was top-rate. The only issue with the otherwise ace ingredient mix was the inconsistent placement of habanero spice — hot as a firebrand here, not quite so much there. All in all, a real-deal concoction.