On any given weekday it seems that half of Hillcrest has lunch at El Cuervo, the other half at Bronx Pizza. People from various professions, laborers, "suits", and "scrubs" from the nearby Hospitals, are all holding a spot in line.
After comments from both Jack (whom I'm sure I must've been standing next to in line several times) and Annie of Green Beans in San Diego mentioning El Cuervo were made, I finally decided to get down to business and actually do a post. I guess because of the close proximity to our offices, it's relatively easy to take El Cuervo for granted. I mean, I could literally just up and walk the few blocks over (over people sometimes sleeping in the alleyway) and grab a quick order of Five Rolled Tacos ($3.20), a favorite of mine. These rolled tacos, or taquitos are smothered in guac and covered with lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, and cheese, and somehow find a way to stay nice and crunchy when I eat them back at the office. And I can justify it as a pseudo-salad if I need to, after all there is lettuce and tomato on it, right? You can also just get 3 rolled tacos for $1.90.
I prefer the guacamole at "Cuervo's" to those of most taco shops, the guac here is more on the chunky side, rather than the usual runny, snotty mess that I get. Green is a really bad color for runny food! I think I've ordered many of the items on the menu, and today I had a Carne Asada Torta ($3.80). As you can see the veggie's in the sandwich are really mostly symbolic, sort of to make you better about eating this slipper-sized torta. The one thing I could do without on this torta are the refried beans, they end up making the bottom bun soggy to the point of disintegration, and I have to end up eating this with a fork and knife. I'm at work after all, I wouldn't want to walk into a meeting with refried bean smears looking like god knows what (I'll let you decide on your own visuals here) on my shirt. On second thought this sandwich could've used a bit more carne asada.
The burritos at El Cuervo are pretty sizable ranging in price from $2.40 (Ground Beef) to $3.30 (Machaca), and for 90 cents more you can get it "wet", that is with cheese and enchilada sauce on them. The item below is the Pollo Asado (grilled chicken) burrito, "wet". Grilled chicken, salsa, guac, and cheese, wrapped in a tortilla the size of a hubcap. If there's one complaint I would have, it's that there's too much tortilla, and when wrapped around itself, it can be pretty "tough", but in this case the enchilada sauce cures that ill. The chicken in the burrito was moist and all the flavors blend well, until you get to the end and it's only tortilla.
What does El Cuervo got going for it? The fare is not as greasy as other taco shops, good prices, fast service, good sized portions, good guacamole, and good hot sauce. A pretty good list by any standard. Some of the favorites Chicken Tostada ($2.40), Carne Asada Quesadilla ($4.25), Chimichanga ($4.20), and Machaca Burrito ($3.30). I would stay away from the "seafood" here, I've found it to be "grease city". All in all, a good neighborhood taco shop!
El Cuervo Mexican Restaurant
110 West Washington St
San Diego, CA 92103