El Palenque Taqueria (San Mateo, CA)
Score: 7.5 / 10 Reviewed by: Chris
I once tried to find this place, but got lost in the maze of curvy residential streets in this part of San Mateo. After reading Pedro's review, i knew i had to redouble my efforts and find the place. So on my next business trip back to the Bay, i made time to try it out; twice. Surely enough, this little place, produces some darn fine burritos that i wish i'd found sooner.
My first burrito here (super of course) contained carnitas. The meat is on the salty side, rather finely chopped, but still moist and tasty. Not all crispy, which i like, but certainly good enough to order again. It was a bit light on meat quantity, however. The next day i went with the pollo asado, which was very good, and not lacking in meat. Meat choices include carnitas, pollo asado, carne asada, pastor, chorizo (quite good), cabeza and lengua. Alas, no chile verde.
Tortillas here are given a quick lie on the grill, giving them a mottled appearance. They might be a bit flaky, but not dried out to lose their flexibility. Integration was decent. Though my coworker's burrito had all the meat at one end, my own was evenly distributed. Oddly, they don't use guacamole here. It's straight avocado, and is frequently found in large pieces. I'd prefer some proper guac, but this wasn't bad.
Chips and salsa are available for free, but it's not a salsa bar per se. Pre-filled plastic cups contain one of two salsas. They don't hold back on the jalapenos- they are sliced thickly and very spicy. The chips are probably store bought, the deep yellow kind with dust on them. Not great but good enough for salsa dipping.
Prices here are good. A super is only $6.01 after tax, with the regular being about a buck less. Padda's next door is cheaper, but this is the better slab.
Overall, i wish i'd found this place sooner, as it's not far from my former office. This place is tough to find, but certainly worth a trek. Very good burritos at great prices- how can you not try it?
posted 2/7/2008 1:13 PM, updated on 5/24/2012 8:01 AM