A few Sundays ago, I headed over to Fisherman’s Wharf to check out, rather reluctantly, Tanguito, a truck permanently housed there. I was on an empanada-seeking mission, following this lead,
Parked across the street from the F-line’s final stop at the wharf coming from the Ferry Building, this truck switched from a falafel vendor to Argentinean a year ago. A husband-and-wife team own and operate the business, buying out a partner a couple months ago. The truck has a couple of picnic tables in an enclosed area for sitting down and eating street food in comfort. Tanguito’s not mobile, staying put. Fully equipped with a grill, deep-fryer, full-size oven, and smaller ovens, the truck has an electricity line from the adjoining parking lot and does all prep on-site. The owner jokingly said that this is the only taco truck that doesn’t have Mexican food or drive.
Colorful Buenos Aires-San Francisco-Paris truck
The selection of Argentine-style empanadas includes humita, filled with corn, parmesan and cream sauce, but unfortunately, none to be had at the moment. I had the beef instead, $3.50, served hot and fresh out of the oven. Filled with well-seasoned picadillo (ground Angus beef, onion, red pepper, olives), the flaky-crusted and golden empanada was quite delectable. Even more so with a little bit of excellent chimichurri on the side that I requested. The crust was just a bit oilier than El Porteño’s, maybe because it was just baked, but the filling was a lot tastier and I prefer Tanguito’s.
Encouraged by this good showing, I ordered the Spanish tortilla, $5.25. The tortillas are cooked-to-order and served hot. I was told that there’s usually a chilled one on-hand for quick pick up, but not first thing in the morning. I was warned that it would take 20 minutes, and the time was actually closer to a half-hour. Made with well-browned cubed potatoes, browned onions, red pepper, mozzarella, herbs, and mushrooms, this was more like tasty home fries bound with a little bit of egg. The first couple bites were fine, but as it cooled off, the potatoes were too dry and grainy. I liked it even less at room temperature, the classic way of serving tortilla. When the husband checked with me, I told him that I would prefer more egg and less browning. He explained that custom orders are no problem since they’re cooked to order.
I overheard an Iranian customer rave to the cook about the chicken with saffron rice when he came back for another order, saying it reminded him of home. Another told me to get the hamburger with chimichurri sauce, “it’s the bomb.” I think that burger is calling to me.
Everything’s under $10, and most are $5 or less. The owner said that they’re trying to offer good food at prices for the working people at the Wharf. Judging from the Muni drivers who patronize this little piece of Argentina, Tanguito has hit this mark.
2850 Jones Street
(between Beach St and Jefferson St)
San Francisco, CA 94133
415 577 4223
Tues-Sun, 10:30am to 4:30pm
Closed on Mondays