Rito Loco food truck

Tex-Mex
$$$$ ($14 and under)
'

Editorial Review

Rito Loco food truck in the District
By Nevin Martell
Wednesday, October 31, 2012

When you buy a meal at a burritoria on wheels called Rito Loco, you expect the choices to be a little unusual. There’s no arguing that a moment of madness led to the creation of the Fruit Rito, a cold tortilla stuffed with blueberries, bananas, condensed milk and granola ($8).

The rolled-up fruit parfait is a bit of a gloopy misfire. Luckily, Daniel Diaz, 29, and Louie Hankins, 35, offer a menu with four standard savory options as well. The first-time restaurateurs, of Adams Morgan and Arlington, respectively, rolled out their scarlet-red food truck in the District in mid-August.

Each flour-tortilla-wrapped, seven-inch burrito gets a quick run through the panini press, which lightly toasts the outside. The sweetly braised pork in the Rib Rito takes the blue ribbon ($8). Baby back ribs are dry-rubbed with chili powder, paprika, brown sugar, salt and a few secret ingredients, then they sit for a full day. After a six-hour slow cook, the meat is pulled and basted with a house-made Crack Sauce that’s a liquid equivalent of the rub. The result is moist, slightly sweet and a tad spicy.

The top seller is the Mojito Rito, whose shredded chicken is flavored with citrus juices, onion, garlic, cumin, cilantro and a few fresh mint leaves ($8). Unfortunately, it doesn’t pack the punch of flavor one expects from Miami’s Little Havana-influenced cuisine. Luckily, there’s another house-made hot sauce you can splash on for added oomph.

Coconut is the predominant flavor in the Veggie Rito, because its oil is used for sauteing the red and green peppers, onions and tomatoes ($8). This tropical touch is both unexpected and unwelcoming, overwhelming the vegetables’ natural flavor.

The co-owners look south of the border for inspiration for the O.G. Rito. Their own blend of taco spices melds well with the ground beef, which is supplemented with a few gooey gobs of a cheese blend and a fresh pico de gallo sauce ($8).

The compact menu is filled out with the mornings-only AM Rito ($4) with scrambled eggs, Velveeta, pasta shells and a little Crack Sauce; add the pork, beef or chicken from the other burritos for an extra $2. A daily special is also available in limited quantities (prices vary). The day that I stopped by, they were already sold out of a burrito packed with Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale-soaked sausage with peppers and onions.

The burritos are constantly being made fresh throughout the day. (The exception is the Fruit Rito, which is made to order to prevent sogginess.) So your order either will take a few minutes to assemble or might be ready to go if it’s already prepped in the hot box. A small selection -- nothing crazy -- of chips, soda and water (all $1) is available to fill out your meal.