The menu lists chile relleno ($7.50) — a fire-roasted poblano stuffed with cheese (or choice of meat) and served with salsa, beans, and rice — as a Salvadoran specialty, and perhaps that's because it isn't dipped in batter and fried, as in the more typical preparation you find in Mexican restaurants around town.
The fish tacos ($3.15) are exemplary. I always try a place's fish tacos, since the range of possible outcomes is so great. Good ones are unforgettable; bad ones are ... forgettable. Bland, usually. The New Spot's menu doesn't say what kind of fish is used — some kind of cod or pollack, I would guess, or possibly tilapia, judging from the bits of soft, white flesh — but the grill imparts some appealing smoke, and the crispy tacos are filled out with shredded lettuce (instead of the more usual shredded cabbage), diced tomato, refrijoles, salsa, and guacamole. Like a regular taco, really, and the better for it.
The food, it must be said, doesn't exactly fly out of the kitchen, in part because the dishes are made to order and also because the crunch-time crowds are thick. At the moment, alternatives in the neighborhood are few. But the New Spot is flanked by signs of yesterday and tomorrow; on one side is a faded old-school Chinese restaurant on its way out, while on the other is a café, Sundance Coffee, that could easily be associated with a museum of modern art. The times, they are a-changin'. SFBG
Mon.–Fri., 6 a.m.–7 p.m.; Sat., 7 a.m.–5 p.m.
632 20th St., SF
Noisy if busy
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