Editor's Note: Today's burger report comes from Erin Jackson, our San Diego burger correspondent who discovered a few tasty burgers on a trip to San Francisco. Look for more coverage of San Francisco burgers on AHT soon!
2850 Jones Street, San Francisco CA 94133 (map)
Cooking Method: Grilled
Short Order: Delicious burgers with an Argentinean kick served from a food truck
Want Fries With That? Not really. Pick up an empanada if a half-pound burger doesn't fill you up
Price: Tanguito Burger, $6; fries, $2
Notes: Open Tues to Fri, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Sat, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Cash only
My initial plan for a recent trip to San Francisco was to avoid Fisherman's Wharf altogether. Having already seen Alcatraz and the harbor seals on a family vacation, I was more inclined to stick to less touristy locales and live like a local. That quickly changed when I heard about a Argentinean food food truck in Fisherman's Wharf that serves some of the city's best burgers. This, I had to try.
Tanguito (which means "little Tango") is parked among a group of souvenir vendors on the outskirts of Fisherman's Wharf. Compared to the pimped-out trucks with flashy custom paint jobs that I saw at Off the Grid, the Tanguito truck is a little rough around the edges. However, experience has taught me that these such trucks almost always serve the best food, so I eagerly placed my order for a Tanguito burger and a side of fries.
The half-pound 100% Angus beef Tanguito burger gets an Argentinean kick in the form of homemade chimichurri sauce that's mixed in with the beef before grilling. The herbaceous chimichurri sauce and the robust Angus beef make for a burger with rich, complex flavors that could easily stand alone. The hand-formed patty was remarkably thick and made with coarse ground beef. It was cooked exactly to my liking: with a thin layer of char on the outside and a juicy center. The addition of the chimichurri sauce had three-fold benefits: It made the burger extra moist, more flavorful, and the herbs and spices brought texture to the patty.
In addition to the standard lettuce, tomato, and cheese (which were all generously portioned), the burger is topped with grilled onions, sweet peppers and mushrooms, all of which bring complementary flavors and textures to the burger (note: I nixed the onions). The burger is served on a fresh and soft sesame seed bun, which held up to the juicy patty. Plain (non-chimichurri-infused) cheeseburgers and veggie burgers are also available, but my signature burger was so delicious that I would never stray from it.
The thick-cut fries were a bit puzzling. Instead of being crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, the fries were starchy and a bit rubbery, which was unexpected. The flavor was like a gently roasted potato, which was tasty in its own way, but different than conventional french fries. Considering that empanadas are only a dollar or so more than a side of fries, I'd suggest starting with burger and if you're still hungry, picking up an empanada instead. This is an Argentinean food truck after all.
Tanguito's giant half-pound burger and fries was one of the best meals I had in San Francisco. It was plenty big enough to split with my husband, and an amazing deal at just $8. Even the touristy location has its perks: Tanguito is located across the street from the final stop on the F-line, so while you're chowing down on a burger, you can watch colorful historic streetcars pull in and out of the station (and then take one back home).