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Best Burritos in (East) Somerville?

velotrain | Apr 5, 201412:19 AM

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.

Rincon Mexicano Somerville,
Cantina La Mexicana,
Chipotle Mexican Grill
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