Mission and 23rd. Street has got to be a Chowhounder's Ground Zero this week. It's exploding with live crab at a perfect $2.99 a pound, and perfect tight, juicy, sweet little tangerines for 89 cents a pound. It's tangerine season AND crab season on Mission Street, and probably elsewhere as well, but NOT at these prices - that I've seen. I must have bought ten pounds of the tangerines after I tasted one. Both crab and tangerines are to be had right by the southwest corner of Mission & 23rd.
But the original reason for the trip to Mission and 23rd. was to taste test the rumored existence of one of my own personal Holy Grails - the elusive flame-broiled-to-order juicy/charry carne asada! IT'S TRUE! And it's the real item - juicy, charry steak and plenty of it. La Corneta is very generous with the portions. I had been nursing a grudge against La Cumbre for no longer grilling the carne asada steak to order for their burritos - the meat was sitting around getting dry. I was actually kind of depressed about it because sometimes I just start craving rare, flame broiled steak - it's just so satisfying, somehow. Maybe it's the smoky flavor...but, in any case, for only $8.00 La Corneta gave me enough to take home for a second delicious meal with all the fixins. My buddy had the regular sized prawn burrito - which was huge, with very fresh, also huge, prawns in every bite.
Everything is very fresh. The portions are huge. The prices are very fair. They even have Latino desserts. When you open the door you will probably find yourself at the end of a longish line. But when we started worrying about it, a kindly woman in front of us turned around and said that the line was for take-out, and that if we wanted to sit down in back there was table service.
The dining room in the back belies the high energy of the front of the restaurant. It's quiet, airy with high ceilings, and very comfortable. What a lovely space! The murals are the most beautiful I have seen anywhere in SF. Roses float around the arched walls. Palm trees sway around you. And the Virgin of Guadalupe, who is about two stories high, looks like if she changed her serene mood for something more militant - like perhaps deciding to punish the sin of gluttony, she could easily climb down and stomp everyone in the place - before heading out to set Mission Street straight.
But don't let that scare you away. Actually, she's lovely and very peaceful looking. And I'll be back to the corner of Mission and 23rd. for tangerines, crab, and carne asada very soon myself.