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Sol, Taq. El Civic Center / TenderloinOMR: 8.14
595 Geary
cross street: Jones
ph. 415/441-0405
Map Visits: 3
Taq. El Sol’s management took over Taq. Dos Amigos’ former home in 2006 and tarted up the restaurant and storefront with bright paint, new tilework, and a completely redesigned kitchen. The dining area may contain 15 seats, but we can’t imagine nearly that many people shoehorning themselves into this tiny space. Not into eating animals? Try El Sol's "El Veggie," which our sources tell us is Spanish for "The Veggie." Breakfast and bottled beer available. Credit cards accepted. Open late Thursday-Sunday.

Will My Health Be Violated?

05/30/12Super Spicy Beef$7.808.17 Mustaches
Swish: spiciness (10); sauciness (9); burstage abatement (9); size (8); meat (8); rice (8); beans (8); cheese (8); temperature (8)
Shrug: vegetables (7); ingredient mix (7); tortilla (6)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

Sizable but floppy and lacking density, with a tortilla that was uncommonly elastic, this Tendernob slab certainly had its contradictory moments. Still, it managed to overcome a few just-OK and sub-OK elements — a set of everyman veggies, an ordinary ingredient mix, and that overly stretchy tortilla — to put 8.17 mustaches up on our mustache board, and for that sort of dedication to the task, El Sol earned our panel's respect in 2012. Stemming from the beef's sauce and some fearsome rojo salsa, five-alarm / ten-mustache spice led this burrito's charge. The beef itself, meanwhile, was essentially stewed and supported by moist rice and nicely sludgy refried beans. Most (but not all) bites were hot, which naturally resulted in mostly (but not entirely) melted cheese. And finally, we doled out two bonus mustaches for intangibility, because that's not only the kind of burrito this was, but the kind of panel we are.

02/26/09Super Spicy Chicken$7.658.08 Mustaches
Swish: sauciness (9); spiciness (9); size (8); tortilla (8); meat (8); cheese (8); vegetables (8); temperature (8); burstage abatement (8)
Shrug: rice (7); beans (7); ingredient mix (7)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

With a nice, tidy foil wrap and a host of inoffensive-to-strong element ratings to its credit, this Taq. El Sol slab made for some biting, chewing, and mulling pleasure one chilly February night. Not sure if we’ve ever come across more impossibly pale refried beans than those on hand here, but they (nor the slightly dry Spanish rice) failed to kill the business. The star of this tidily foil-wrapped production was the borderline-pasty sauce accompanying the plenteous chicken – it wasn’t so much salsa roja as much as salsa naranja, orange in color as it was. Thick and fiery, it brought a welcome dimension of richness to the chicken, which itself fell at the ideal midpoint between tender and tough. Sauce drips were a continuous, but manageable issue throughout the life of the well-sized dinner. And Mr. Slabmaker Fella was kind enough to grill the tortilla on request, and he didn’t even give us a sideways look about it like Team Gordo is prone to do more often than not. Enough grates of Jack cheese were melted to make a positive contribution, and hey alright, nice guac you got there. Intangibility was suitably high, given the overall consistency of the burrito. It was much better than Cats. We would see it again and again.

01/02/07Super Pork in Red Sauce$6.357.67 Mustaches
Swish: rice (9); size (8); meat (8); vegetables (8); sauciness (8); spiciness (8); burstage abatement (8)
Shrug: tortilla (7); beans (7); ingredient mix (7); cheese (6); temperature (6)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

El Sol brought forth a patently centrist burrito on our first visit within a few weeks of the taqueria’s opening. Most every element rated seven or eight mustaches, so while nothing jumped out of the everyday tortilla and onto the highest reaches of our scoresheet, nothing clanged either. We found the large and tasty pork chunks to be pleasantly tender and easily shredded, while the sauce from which it sprung boosted the spirits of everything it accented - most notably the terrific brown rice. The thin refried beans didn’t sport a look of relevance at the outset, but their adhesion tactics proved impactful by slab’s end. Graceful, salsafied spice was a factor throughout, but the low end temperature dip brought bad news. Occasional drips and some awkward foil/tortilla intertwining at the bottom dropped the burstage abatement rating a couple mustaches. Everything tasted swell; the El Sol kitchen just needs to work on a few aspects of slab presentation.