Torta Ruling

Everything's fresh at this sandwich shop

To call La Ciudad de México "closet-size" is no exaggeration. It's practically an armoire.

But Luis Bolaños and his two cooks make good use of the space, and you can spot the doorway rimmed in electric yellow from a block away. Bolaños worked at Mission favorite La Torta Gorda before opening his own place in the Inner Richmond, where he specializes in Mexico City-style sandwiches and antojitos.

Yes, there are burritos on the menu. Ignore them. Instead, get one of his freshly made quesadillas ($4), a corn tortilla lined with melted cheese and wrapped around savories such as nopales or sautéed squash-flower blossoms.

His tortas are as good as anything you'll eat in the Mission or Oakland. Because there's no space for elaborate storage, one person cooks the meats to order on a tabletop griddle while another toasts the bread in a panini press.

The fully stuffed carnitas torta ($6 for a small; $8 for a giant), for instance, featured shredded, braised pork shoulder freshly browned on the grill bracketed with a smear of refried beans and slices of tomato and avocado.

Instead of ketchup, dip the sandwich in the container of chipotle sauce Bolaños gives you for a jolt of smoke and heat.