The Great Burrito Hunt Continues at Lucha Libre

This Mexican eatery has garnered the most attention and fame among many tourists and locals, evidenced by the line of hungry patrons that stretched out the door during my visit — an expected dilemma given the restaurant was featured on “Man vs. Food” in 2010. Yes, Adam Richman, king of unapologetic gluttons everywhere, was told that Lucha Libre could be the best representation of San Diego burrito culture. Of course, I had to see for myself.

Although “Man vs. Food” featured the Surfin’ California burrito, I’ve been told by multiple Libre enthusiasts that the real prize menu item was their version of a more classic San Diego staple, the Surf ‘n’ Turf burrito. While waiting there for a good 25 minutes in line, I was given ample time to study its description: carne asada steak, shrimp, avocado slices, rice, pico de gallo and chipotle sauce? Sounds like a party.

Upon receiving it a mere two minutes after ordering, I was not disappointed by first impressions. It, like most burritos served in America, was utterly huge, and even came with a side of freshly made tortilla chips. Of course, it was nothing I couldn’t handle, but I understood that it would severely push me to my limits. As a matter of technique I helped myself to the plethora of salsas available, ready to take on a challenge of Adam Richman-sized proportions.

But once I got deep into the burrito, my disappointment kicked in. It may seem like a terribly ungrateful complaint, but there was simply too much steak. As opposed to most other burrito places that usually skimp on the meat, it was a lack of a balance with the other ingredients that ultimately threw me off. Where was the avocado? Where was the rice? Where was the pico de gallo? It wasn’t until halfway down the wrap that I saw anything other than shrimp and steak, which made me grateful that I loaded up at the salsa bar to change up (or, at least add) its flavor. The steak was also too chewy for my taste. Although it was cooked down nice and pink, the chunks were too thick and very hard to bite into smaller pieces, resulting in what seemed like an endless cycle of cow-like chewing. 

Nonetheless, when I finally did get to the heart of the burrito, I discovered why so many people loved it so much. The chipotle sauce, proclaimed to be made from Lucha Libre’s “super secret recipe,” was delicious and very flavorful, which went well with the lightly seasoned steak and shrimp. The shrimp was not overcooked, and I thought that using fresh avocado slices instead of guacamole really gave it beautiful color. Their fire-roasted salsa was copiously poured, although they offered many winning varieties at their bar, including one of the best pico de gallos I’ve had in a while. The rice was also very good, even though it was mostly located at the very end. Perhaps I just started at the wrong end of the wrap.

All in all, it cannot be denied that Lucha Libre definitely makes a killer burrito, but it definitely didn’t live up to my expectations. The Surf ‘n’ Turf, albeit a pretty delicious specimen, has a few kinks to work out before I can say it surpasses my experience at Don Carlos. But, at $7.25, it’s definitely worth its weight in gold. The atmosphere is friendly and the décor fun. I suggest it to anyone who is willing to make the trek; I’m sure you’ll leave full and satisfied.