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