BIG FAT BURRITO (285 Augusta, at Oxford, 416-913-7487) Complete meals for $10 per person, including all taxes, tip and a juice. Average main $6. Open Monday to Thursday 11 am to 10 pm, Friday and Saturday 11 am to 3 am, Sunday 11 am to 9 pm. Unlicensed. Cash only. Access: barrier-free, one step to washroom. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Stumbling out of that new Kensington Market booze can - "It's the new Matador," goes the buzz - the other morning, I couldn't help but notice the crowd hanging around Big Fat Burrito across the way.
Located in the jinxed shed that housed Romeo's Fruity Fruit, Spitfire Sound, Pasta Rica and the Streams of Blessings and Paradise Bay fish shacks, Big Ass Burrito (as locals already call the month-old take-away) would appear to be a Burrito Boyz clone, right down to its similar Cal-Mex menu and late weekend hours.
Owners Michael and Leslie Shepherd have done wonders with the space. For the first time, it doesn't feel like a fly-by-night operation.
Gone are the Caribbean knick-knacks and reggae riddims of the former tenants, in their place a sleek contemporary look, all poured concrete floor and a few laminate plywood tables and chairs.
I order one of each burrito from BFB's short lineup - a large steak, chicken, yam (all $5.75/$4.50 small) and veggie ($4.75/$3.75), all loaded with everything and specified spicy - and hustle the results back to the Test Kitchen for a once-over.
Slightly smaller than the competition's - 16 ounces versus 18 - these still considerable flour tortilla wraps are mighty tasty, especially the fajita-style steak with lots of gooey cheese as well as crunchy diced tomato, bell pepper and the slightest hint of jalapeño, garnering a three-out-of-10 rating on the NOW Spice-o-meter (patent pending). Any signs of guacamole or salsa have disappeared into the mix, and the refried beans, except for a lone kidney, and so-called "Mexican" rice are AWOL.
No big deal - they're likely filler anyway.