Best Fish Burrito (2004)

Jalape�o Mexican Grill

There are three things we love about the little, often-overlooked Jalapeo Mexican Grill that squats on Leetsdale amid all the paint stores and mechanics. We love the patio, which is the ugliest patio in the city, with the worst view in the state. We love the fish tacos, which are basic, pedestrian and the closest thing to the real Juarez article you'll find off Federal Boulevard. And we love the La Jolla fish burrito -- as thick as a grown man's forearm and stuffed full, a California take on coastal-Mexican cuisine but much more complex than the simple fillet-salsa-tortilla wraps served on those Mexican beaches devoid of tourists. The La Jolla features the same fish as Jalapeo's tacos -- a firm-fleshed, mild whitefish sealed inside its chewy armor, rich enough to leak grease over everything -- along with rice, beans and a sweet pico de gallo that's much better than Jalapeo's weak salsa. Go with black beans over pinto; they're slightly firm, never gooey, and have a clean, almost meaty taste that lends extra bulk and flavor.


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