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Best Burritos in (East) Somerville?

I'm taking a class at MudFlat - often spending most of the day there, and recently went to Rincón Mexicano (99 Broadway) for the first time. I had noticed this pseudo hole-in-the-wall place while walking by, but had previously gone to the larger Tapatio across the street. It's only been open for about three weeks, but the owners (a group) are obviously very serious about providing top quality, and highly professional; they're clearly in it for the long haul. They would need to be - to think that what East Broadway needs is another Mexican/Latino eatery.

When I went in, I was amazed to see that all of the kitchen staff (3 guys, plus a woman waitress/cashier) were wearing chef's white jackets. The kitchen was clearly newly installed, and the equipment truly looks to be restaurant quality. They do offer full meals, and seem to be building a good take-out business in the short time they've been open. It's a tiny place, with only three tables and a small raised counter with stools, but very bright feeling, and ultra clean.

On follow-up visits, Lorenzo - one of the owners and chief chef, has been more casually dressed, but the guys cooking are still in white. He says the whole crew is from Mexico City. If they are successful, a larger establishment is not out of the question.

The first time I ordered Carne Asada, and it was delicious. The jalapenos only hit about half an hour later, and produced the sensation of an overall warm glow. I will usually only eat half of a burrito initially, and bring the rest home for dinner - or even breakfast. The beef was in large pieces and quite moist. There is no assembly line here - you tell them what you want, and the work is done in the kitchen. It looked to me that most of the ingredients were sautéed on the stove and then loaded into the tortilla, which was rolled and briefly browned. I well realize that in promoting this place ("just a satisfied customer"), if others agree with me they may need to evaluate their process.

I've also had the pollo (not on the printed menu, but available), and the Al Pastor and Carnitas. I'd say the carne asada is still my favorite, but I experienced something unusual with the two pork entries. They actually tasted a bit better when I reheated the second half; the pineapple was more apparent. There is also a vegetable variety that I haven't tried. Burritos at Rincón Mexicano only come in one (large) size, and are all $6.

The only negative - and it's conditional, is that the burritos aren't rolled very tight, and do tend to unravel while eating. It might be best to slowly peel the aluminum foil down, only exposing what you're ready to bite. This is conditional because the tortilla is whole wheat (at least in color - I didn't actually ask), and I think better quality than any other I've ever had; it doesn't have that "doughy" consistency that most do. Also, the ends aren't folded completely over as at most places (hence the tendency to unroll), and this means no bites where you're getting mostly tortilla and little filling.

I'm aware that readers will already have their own long-established preferences, and I have searched to see what the current favorites are. I have excluded what are primarily sit-down restaurants, and this includes Cantina la Mexicana - where a large burrito is a whopping $9 at lunch. I'm also only commenting on those in this immediate area - I've walked by, but have yet to visit Taqueria Montecristo.

Taco Loco - heaviest burrito I've ever had, and decent - but not great. The pieces of beef were smaller than at Rincón Mexicano, and not as tender.

Tapatio is well established and does a lot of business. Their burritos are just slightly less huge than Taco Loco's. I like the chicken, but don't trust the steak. The two times I've gotten it, there were pieces of meat with gristle - or similar.

While doing my search I noticed that Chipotle Mexican Grill in Davis Square was rated as the #9 Mexican food in Somerville. One uninformed fellow even wrote: "By far the best Mexican food anywhere in the Greater Boston area. Tasty, fast burritos made with quality ingredients."

Huh ??? This guy must also think that McD is the best American food in the Boston area. I tried Chipotle once and all the ingredients were these tiny little chopped up pieces of things that were awful - I wouldn't be caught near one. Meat is a bit like ice: the smaller the size, the larger the relative surface area, and the faster it melts / dries out.

All burritos are filling, but those at Rincón Mexicano are the most tasty and satisfying that I've ever had.

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  1. Great post - will definitely check out Rincon when I am in the nabe.

    1. Thanks for the post. I'm not much of a burrito man, but I'll be swinging by soon for tacos and whatnot.

      1. Tonight, after confirming that Zoe's was still closed, we headed towards Rincón Mexicano. Evidently, they are not open on Mondays. [Why oh why do these small places not have websites?]

        Since we had found a parking spot right across the street, we decided to walk down to Taco Loco as an alternative. Taco Loco, at least tonight, has stepped up their game. The steak tasted liked it had been grilled, not braised at all, the salsa verde had some real kick, and the veggie toppings were really fresh. And they now have BLACK beans [!!!!!], not those unappealing pintos. Downside? The pico de gallo was not made with August ripened tomatoes, and the radishes should have been replaced yesterday.

        Best $4 dinner in East Somerville.

        1. Picked up carne asada tacos today. plentiful beef and cilantro, with , admirably, no SAZON seasoning (msg, salt salt salt salt-heavily used on many Central American and other Latin-prepared meats, as at Taqueria Montecristo). Not grilled over a fire but meat was tender and easy-to-eat small pieces. Green and red salsas for spiking. Didn't try anything else but i think many CHs will be happy with the food at this new place.

          1 Reply
          1. re: opinionatedchef

            p.s. On a related note, for those taco lovers out there: Pennypacker's- also on Broadway in Somerville (but about a 10 min. drive from Rincon Mex.)puts out some really good things on their Taco Tuesdays. Today it was grilled chile red sauce chicken with cilantro ,grilled scallions and cotija. Very generously filled flour or corn tortillas, for ~$3.And there's always a veg.taco option as well. I'd like to see them put more effort into some exc. salsas but i haven't seen any yet. Their salsa verde is scantly used and not memorable.

          2. This was an unusual week. We ate out twice! So, we headed to Rincon Mexicano earlier this week, arriving around 7 in the evening.

            As noted above, this is a very clean spot with three tables [four-tops] and some high stools at a counter. The owner indicated that we should sit and he brought menus along with some chips and salsa. I order a chicken taco and a chiorizo taco. Husband ordered a beef burrito. Since there were no sides on the menu, I asked if I could get a side of beans. He said I could have either pinto or churro beans. When asked to describe the churro beans, his eyes lit up as he talked about bacon and pork.

            The chicken, both dark and white meat, was under seasoned, but moist and delicious. Best chicken I have had at a taco joint around Boston. The chiorizo was well cooked. The tacos are indeed served with two tortillas. Tons of meat but only topped with a cilantro-onion salsa. He brought my requested salsa verde in a separate bowl so I could serve myself. The burrito was stuffed with meat. The menu indicated black beans and pico de gallo, and extra pico de gallo was requested. The beans in the burrito were pinto, and there was no pico. The meat didn't taste marinated.

            He forgot to bring the churros, but it arrived quickly after a reminder. These were great beans! Pinto beans with bacon, shredded pork and sausage in a well-flavored broth. He promised me that in the future, I can get a plate with rice and beans.

            I really like this man. He is quick to smile, and wants his shop to be successful. While we were there [1 hr], he probably had about $80 in gross sales during that time, and this was dinner time! He won't last long that way.

            Though I prefer more varied toppings on my tacos, I am going to go back, try some enchiladas. Have some more of those beans. Dinner for two was $11.30 but he simply wouldn't charge us for the beans, so I don't know what they cost.

            Few more notes. Yes, they have beef tongue, the fish is tilapia, and they have shrimp which he says is very good. Hours are Tues-Sun, 10:30am-10:00 pm. He is doing both eat in and take out. No chef coats when I was there.

            1. Nice reports from OP and smt. Thanks. I’ll look forward to this place.

              1. After spending time at a Friends & Family Legoland preview, we stopped by Rincon Mexicano on our way home for dinner. Tonight we took a left turn... no tacos, no burritos. Instead I ordered the chicken enchiladas with mole sauce and my companion ordered a carnitas torts.

                The owner remembered us even though we have only been once before. Tonight when the chips and salsa arrived, the salsa was bright and fresh. So much more enjoyable than the first time. In the case, you could see the large gallon containers filled with more salsa. Perhaps Tuesday is make-the-salsa day?

                He assured me that he makes the mole completely from scratch, no powders, flavor blocks, or seasoning mixes. It showed. The man knows how to cook chicken. It was moist and well seasoned, and the mole was delicious. No one flavoring stood out, and I was not able to pick out all the ingredients. Served with rice and beans, it was too much food to finish.

                The torta bread was well-made, not as greasy as the Tenoch bread. This sandwich had the carnitas, lettuce, jalepenos, tomatoes, cheese, sliced avocado and some creme. This sandwich was the perfect balance of ingredients. We were offered salsa verde and a salsa rojas, and we accepted both. Both of these were terrific! Enough heat, ample flavor. Again, so much better than the last time.

                He brought us two churros for dessert which were lightly dusted with a cinnamon sugar. They were more narrow than a traditional churros. Turns out he is currently piping them, but has ordered a special tool to make a more ample version.

                Dinner with two ample plates of food and one soda was $17.00. There were plenty of parking spaces tonight in front of the library which is only a half block from the restaurant.

                One final note. The owner is originally from Mexico City. If more folks like me request it, he will start to offer dark turkey meat with his mole. In the meantime, he says if I bring the turkey with me already cooked, he will warm it and serve it covered in mole. "Anything for the customer," he said. But of course, what he meant was that he would sell me a container of mole to enjoy at home.

                2 Replies
                1. re: smtucker

                  You may want to edit that last paragraph so the owner doesn’t get, y’know, shut down for health code violations (but continue to tell your chowish friends because, y’know, dark meat turkey awesome.)

                  1. re: smtucker

                    I’ll drift a little off topic to say I dig the mole at Los Paisanos in East Somerville. No idea the etiology of it.

                  2. Tonight we returned to Rincón Mexicano for dinner. The chips that arrived as we were seated are still excellent, but the salsa was even better than last time!

                    I couldn't resist ordering the chicken enchiladas with mole sauce. My dining partner decided to try the carnitas plate. We hardly ever order pork in restaurants, especially carnitas because generally it is a total disappointment. But tonight he took a chance, and boy are we glad that he did! He received three 3" cubes of perfectly cooked pork. Absolutely wonderful, cooked perfectly, and wonderfully seasoned. His plate came with black beans, rice, and a nice helping of pico de gallo. Freshly made tortillas and a salsa roja on the side. Not only were the beans and pico well made, the salsa roja was hot and flavorful. My mole was as good as last time.

                    They haven't received the churro dispenser yet, but hope that family will send it soon.

                    1. I need to pile on the praise train for Rincon Mexicano. Went last night for the first time. See photos.

                      Guacamole: Excellent. Just the right amount of that tangy fermenty flavor that the avocado and lime make together.

                      Taco al Pastor (yes, I had only one as an appetizer): Great tasty griddled tortillas. The meat was nicely fatty. Very gentle flavor. Came with a little cup of delicious spicy red salsa. Very spicy, and fresh tasting, not a vinegar hot sauce. [Photo of the side salsa, no photo of the taco, sorry :( ]

                      Tacos Pescado: For these tacos, the two tortillas were excessive, and we just ate one per. The fish had a wonderful fish flavor, nicely fried, great balance among the fish, lime, lightly pickled cabbage, and spicy mayo.

                      Chiles Rellenos: Very hearty assembly with plenty of cheese and ground beef. The pepper was nicely fried in fluffy egg batter. Topped with an unusual red sauce, like a very salty tomato marinara with lots of onions - tasty but too salty for me. The pepper itself was a little upstaged, though the overall dish was very tasty. Rice had a nice touch of lime.

                      Friendly efficient service. Hilarious Spanish language sketch comedy thing on TV.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jajjguy

                        I am so pleased that someone else has tried Rincon Mexicano! We went again the other night. New items that we tried included the tostadas which are wonderful and chicken enchiladas with salsa verde. The tostada order comes with two, and they had the perfect balance of beans, cabbage, chicken and other toppings.

                        A repeat order of the carnitas was very good, but not quite as fantastic as the first time we ordered. Loving the salsas and sauces. They are actually spicy and have flavor.

                      2. I finally tried Rincon Mexicano and am also a fan. Two of us split the chiles rellanos and chicken enchiladas with green sauce. The rellanos was maybe a touch too salty, but was really hearty and had great flavor. Loved the enchilada sauce, it was really bright and spicy.

                        I read something on Yelp about $1 Taco Tuesday. Can anyone confirm?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: LeoLioness

                          He does have a sign about Tuesday Tacos, but I didn't see a price on that sign. Worth remembering and making a trip.