Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Burrito Bros. Taco Co.


Recommended Posts

Burrito Bros. Taco Co.

2209 West 1st Avenue


Burrito Bros.


I’d been aquiver recently, thinking that a quality taco emporium might be moving into the neighbourhood. Gord Martin hasn’t delivered on the fish tacos promise at Go Fish!, and frequent trips to Mexico remind me just how much I miss them. In Manzanillo, the taqueria stand at the end of our dusty road turns out handsome breakfast tortillas of pulled pork and hot sauce, served with a pint of fresh grapefruit juice, for one American dollar.

Key to quality burritos and tacos is the quality of the tortilla itself. In Mexico, one person feeds hot-off-the-press tortillas to the person stuffing them—with pork, fish, beef or chicken. They are thin and pliant without being spongy.

Unfortunately, the tortillas at Burrito Bros. are a letdown—their taste and texture being identical to the supermarket versions churned out by large-scale manufacturers and bereft of that fresh, slightly toasty corn taste that's a hallmark of Mexican cuisine.

We ordered an early afternoon ‘Taco Trio’ ($6.99), with sides of sour cream (again, supermarket quality only, and heavily over-salted guacamole--$.99 each). With a Coke, the tab, including taxes, was $12.60.

The Taco Trio (soft version) arrived 14 minutes after we placed our order—too long in my opinion. They comprised ‘Mexi Beef’ (spiced ground beef), ‘Fajita Steak’ (chopped sirloin with vegetables) and ‘Baja Fish’ (small pieces of breaded cod with salsa crema).

The fish and steak versions were passable, slightly elevated with the routine hot sauces provided—Tabasco, Frank’s Red Hot and Tapatío picante. Missed opportunity there—why not provide some more interesting smoked chipotle versions—or housemade condiments? The ground beef version—a mush of angrily-spiced but characterless meat, was a write-off.

The menu also features burritos, burrito bowls (an oxymoron waiting to happen), and ‘Quesa-Dealios’—jack cheese, jalapenos, salsa and sour cream.

There’s a short Mexican beer list that numbers the usual victims and glasses of 1516 are available for $4.70; margaritas are $4.91, or $6.40 for a double. Breakfast burritos are $6.99, but beware the bait-and-switch pricing; sides such as the aforementioned guac and sour cream are additional. The salsa verde was average, and, although fresh tasting, a trifle mild for our taste.

Burrito Bros. occupies a popular corner (adjacent to Adesso) near 1st and Yew in beautiful downtown Kitsilano, where walk-in traffic is a necessity because parking is tricky, especially at this time of the year. Complimentary sombreros are available to sun-challenged patio patrons.

There are about 30 seats inside and half a dozen tables on the patio. The restaurant appears to have been decorated—from menu boards to faux-Mexican movie posters—entirely by Chalkstar.com.

And perhaps that summarizes my disappointment with this restaurant —the closer you get the less autentico it gets--it’s as trite as a lime in a bottle of breakfast beer and equally as false. It has every appearance of a small-footprint concept-restaurant chain in waiting but doesn't achieve the ‘do one thing very well’ that other practitioners execute upon; it certainly didn’t revive my latent love for quality Mexican cooking, or even its Tex-Mex equivalent.

How to improve?

1. Make regulation 6.5” tortillas by hand, in-house with fresh maze flour. Tortilla presses cost next to nothing. Make the tortilla station an eye-contact point and brand it.

2. Drill down on the fillings. Brown the ground beef before spicing.

3. Up the ante on the fillings—they seemed frugally portion-controlled to the extreme; Mexican taquerias are famously ‘free-pour’.

4. Add some interesting condiments, such as Dan-T’s smoky chipotle hot sauces, or create some interesting housemade condiments. Get some quality sour cream such as Avalon or Blackwell Dairies.

5. Ask the chef to taste his own cooking—the guacamole, otherwise well-made, could melt snow.

6. Get some spoons to convey the sides to the tacos—Burrito Bros. only offered knives and forks.

7. Hasten the food delivery time by at least 5 minutes. When we were there the restaurant was busy but hardly slammed and there was an abundance of service staff dawdling near the pass.

8. Add a quality, cabbagey cole slaw to the menu.

9. Serve soft drinks in a glass, with ice and lime.

10. Hang some garlands of smoked dried peppers over the pass; use them in the cooking.

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine


Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rumour has it that there will be another little Mexican Place opening soon on Davie Street so, James, all is not lost. Perhaps these chaps will take your advice to heart and perhaps do it just that much better.

If all else fails, we could open our own little taco stand. With you taking care of the food, and me taking care of the marketing and promotion ................................perfection !! :laugh:

Neil Wyles

Hamilton Street Grill


Link to comment
Share on other sites

We had Burrito brothers (to go) this weekend, and our experience was just about the same as yours - though I was happy with the fish tacos and the salsas (verde and traditional) that came with it.

The guac was oversalted by half and the ground beef was, as you say, angry, so I will stay away from both next time. We didn't eat in, so I can't comment on the atmosphere.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Last Thursday a friend with my wife and I tried Burrito Bros. I think Jamie's breakdown is very accurate of the meal and service we had there as well. My wife ordered the Burrito bowl with Steak and was disappointed with only a few bits of meat in this Taco Salad. My friend and I both had the Beef burrito's. Overall impressions we're that they we're alright but a bit bland. I found myself reaching for the Hot Sauce with each bite.

A pet peeve of mine with Mexican restaurants is when they don't just serve Chips and Salsa, but instead you have to pay for them. I think they charged $2.99 for them. Obviously it's not the $ but it's the fact that I think it's just annoying to pay for something that is so inexpensive and IMO should just accompany the dish.

All in all even though one of my favourite foods is Mexican, I don't think we'll be back.

I think if someone in this town actually could make a good Burrito / Taco meal at a decent price point they would make a killing. Because I know all of my Mexican food loving friends are seriously left wanting.

The closest, pretty good place we found is Banano's on Pacific.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I went there today and while I was not very impressed, there is a lot of potential here.

First, I don't think we can ever expect homemade tortillas here and to do so sets expectations so high that it is no surprise that you would be disappointed. Even the great burrito places I've been to in LA and San Diego rarely use homemade tortillas. This is not a mexican place, but a tex-mex joint.

I had the chicken burrito and the meat was well seasoned, although there was no hint of the chipotle marinade they supposedly used. I do agree that it was quite understuffed. There was plenty of meat, but not enough of the other fillers, like rice and beans. Rice and beans are incredibly cheap, so it's odd that they don't put a little more in. I don't like leaving a burrito shop hungry.

There was a bit of a wait, but that's not surprising in a new restaurant. The staff was incredibly nice and even offered complimentary chips and salsa to make up for our wait.

It wouldn't be hard to make this into a decent burrito place.

I wanna say something. I'm gonna put it out there; if you like it, you can take it, if you don't, send it right back. I want to be on you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


  • Similar Content

    • By gulfporter
      Grilled fish recipe from Mexico. 
      Pescado Zarendeado
      4 large dried ancho chiles 2 dried chiles de arból (omit if you prefer a milder sauce) ½ small onion, chopped 8 ounces canned tomato sauce 4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced 3 tablespoons Ponzu sauce (or substitute ½ soy sauce, ½ lime juice) 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce ½ teaspoon salt ½ cup mayonnaise 2 kilos Pargo blanco or red snapper (huachinango) one 2-kilo fish or two 1-kilo fish. Butterflied from the belly out.  Remove and discard the stems and seeds from chiles. Place the chiles in a bowl and cover completely with boiling water and then soak for 40 minutes.
      Remove the chiles and place in a food processor with ½ cup of the soaking liquid, the onion, tomato sauce, garlic, Ponzu, Worcestershire and the salt. Process until very smooth. Sieve the mixture into a bowl, then add the mayonnaise and blend.
      Set aside 2/3 cup of the blended sauce to serve with the cooked fish. The rest will be used to prepare the fish for the grill.
      Slather the flesh-side of the fish with the sauce and then place, skin-side down on a hot charcoal or gas grill. Cooking time will vary depending on the size of the fish. (About 15 minutes for a one-kilo snapper on my gas grill at medium-high, lid closed).
      Place cooked fish on a large platter; use a spoon to remove the flesh.
      Serve with fresh tortillas and pickled onions. Pass the reserved sauce.
      Pickled Red Onions
      Thinly slice a medium red onion into a glass bowl, toss with the juice of a large lime, one or two finely minced serrano chiles and ¼ teaspoon salt. Best if marinated overnight in the fridge.
    • By cyalexa
      Salsa Para Enchiladas  
      3 ancho chiles
      2 New Mexico chiles
      2 chipotle chiles
      1 clove garlic, sliced
      2 TB flour
      2 TB vegetable oil
      1 tsp vinegar
      ¾ tsp salt
      ¼ tsp dried oregano
      2 cups broth, stock, or (filtered) chili soaking liquid
      Rinse, stem and seed chiles. Place in saucepan and cover with water. Bring to boil. Cover and remove from heat and let soften and cool. While the chiles are cooling, gently sauté garlic slices in oil until they are soft and golden brown. Remove the garlic from the oil, with a slotted spoon and reserve. Make a light roux by adding the flour to the oil and sautéing briefly. Drain the chilies and puree them with the garlic slices and half of the liquid. Strain the puree back into the saucepan. Pour the remainder of the liquid through the sieve to loosen any remaining chili pulp. Add the roux to the saucepan and whisk to blend. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pan, bring to a boil then and simmer 15-20 minutes. Taste and add additional salt and vinegar if necessary.
    • By Kasia
      My quesadilla
      Today I would like to share with you the recipe for a dish which meets holiday requirements. It is easy, and it doesn't need sophisticated ingredients or an oven. A frying pan is enough. Quesadilla, the dish in question, is a tortilla with melted cheese. The rest of the ingredients you choose at your discretion. Red beans, pepper, chorizo or fried meat all work brilliantly. I added fried pieces of turkey leg. Thanks to this, my dish could be a holiday dinner.

      Ingredients (for 2 people)
      4 tortillas
      300g of turkey leg
      half a chili pepper
      half an onion
      1 clove of garlic
      2 tablespoons of oil
      200g of tinned sweetcorn
      200g of tinned red beans
      fresh pepper
      200g of mozzarella cheese
      salt and pepper

      Cube the meat. Fry the diced onion, garlic and chili pepper in oil. Add the spiced-up-with-salt-and-pepper meat and fry on a low heat until the meat is soft. Cube the pepper. Drain the sweetcorn and red beans and slice the mozzarella cheese. Put the tortilla into a dry, heated pan. Arrange the meat, sweetcorn and red beans on it. Cover with the slices of the mozzarella cheese and the second tortilla. Fry on a low heat for a while. Turn it and fry a bit more until the cheese has melted. Put it on a plate and cut it into triangles.

      Enjoy your meal!

    • By Pierogi
      Mexican Rice
      Serves 4 as Side.

      1 T olive oil
      1 small onion, finely chopped
      2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
      1-1/2 c long-grain rice
      3 c low-salt chicken broth or stock
      2 med-size tomatoes (about 12 oz total), chopped
      1 can (4&1/2 oz) chopped green chilies
      1 tsp chili powder
      1/2 tsp salt
      1/4 tsp pepper
      1/2 c fresh chopped cilantro
      1/2 c pimento-stuffed green olives, sliced

      Heat oil in 4-quart saucepan over med-high heat until hot. (Make sure you use a large enough pot, I tried to make it fit into a 3&1/2 quart pot and it was very tight). Add onion & garlic, cook until soft. Add rice, and stir well, cook, stirring occasionally, until rice toasts a bit and turns golden, about 3-5 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes, chiles, chili powder, and S&P. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, until rice is done, about 25 min. You may have some liquid still left.
      Turn off heat and stir in cilantro and olives, Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
      Keywords: Side, Rice, Mexican, Easy
      ( RG2089 )
    • By chardgirl
      Greens Tacos
      I like to make these for breakfast or lunch: I try to eat dark leafy greens most days one way or another.

      3/4 lb greens, cleaned well and sliced into approximate 1 inch pieces (today I used arugula and radish greens, leaving the radish ‘roots' in the fridge to be munched on later. the greens are good to eat, but
      2 tsp cooking oil
      2 stalks green garlic, cleaned as a leek and chopped, or another allium family, whatever you have on hand (onion, green onion, garlic, leek.....)

      Pinch red pepper flakes or cayenne
      2 T cream cheese
      4 small corn tortillas or 2-3 larger flour ones

      Heat the oil and add the garlic, having the greens ready to go, and cook garlic for about 30 seconds. Then add greens and cook until bright green and wilted, add red pepper (and salt and black pepper if you like). Take off heat and stir in cream cheese. Heat tortillas, divide filling among them. Eat and enjoy.
      Keywords: Vegetables, Easy, Vegetarian
      ( RG1521 )
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...