Fry One On

In the quest for the perfect churro, one place comes out on top

If you've ever been desperate enough to snag a churro from a passing Mission vendor, only to bite into a dry, cold dough stick then you know what mediocrity tastes like.

Inexplicably, despite our citywide predilection for fancy fried dough, outfits that make authentic churros–served piping hot, encrusted with cinnamon sugar–have been a rarity.

But at Chilango, a newcomer to the Castro dining scene, $5 gets you a plate of three freshly fried beauties. While chef Roberto Aguiar Cruz claims there's no secret–just a traditional recipe that includes milk, butter, flour and eggs combined in a similar fashion to pate à choux–he does admit to that time-honored addition: a lot of love.

Still, we're convinced there's some magic. How else to explain the custardy interior and perfectly crisped exterior? Then there's the crowning moment, a generous cloak of sugar and Mexican cinnamon that's been toasted and ground in-house.

That there's no rich chocolate for dunking is a minor tragedy, but it's easily remedied: Get a second order of churros.

Chilango, 235 Church St. (at Market St.); 415-552-5700 or chilangorestaurantsf.com