The Painted Burro
219 Elm Street
Friends and I ate at the Painted Burro on Saturday night. We enjoyed the margaritas, tacos, and other nibbles, and the atmosphere was very lively for a Mexican restaurant on St. Patrick's Day.
Major points from me for serving these in tumblers rather than unwieldy, wide-mouthed stemware. I rarely want just one margarita, and after the first the bathtub-on-a-perch presents problems. They have a few varieties that I tried; I preferred their house version that had the most appealing balance of sweet, sour and tequila bite. You have the option of rocks and/or salt.
Bar Snacks and Appetizers
A nice presentation of pickled cucumbers, radishes and grapes. Nicely presented in a round jar. These weren’t the hit of the evening, but they did offer an appreciated vinegary balance to cut through the…
Wow. Tamarind glazed pork belly. This went really fast and was the talk of the table throughout the meal. Bite-size chunks of fatty pork belly in a just-sweet-enough glaze.
Guacomole w/ optional roasted poblano-
The guacamole was creamy, fresh and colorful. The poblanos were savory but didn’t add a whole lot to guac. If you really like poblanos then it’s a nice addition, but you won’t miss them otherwise.
Ceviche del mar-
This was very nice with a variety of delicate flavors and textures. The fish was firm enough to fork.
Each order has two tacos. We were given two corn tortillas per taco, which for these you need as the filling amount is generous.
Lamb Neck w/ Apricot Barbacoa-
These were nice but a bit one-note compared to the others. The apricot sweetened but didn’t brighten the lamb enough. The lamb itself was rich and savory. A generous squeeze of lemon or lime will finish these.
These were the table’s favorite. Compared to the other tacos these had stand-out variety of textures and flavors. The creaminess of the avocado played well against the plump shrimp, and while there was considerable heat it brought flavor, not just burn.
Skirt Steak Asada-
These had rich and smoky steak and poblano flavors right out front, with a pleasantly lingering sweet garlic note.
Crispy Maine Redfish-
I made it around to these right after the spicy shrimp taco and my palette was a bit blown out. My wife sang their praises, though.
This is a hot mess. I don’t think they intend for you to pick this taco up, but rather to eat it with a fork. It’s four corn tortillas laid overlapping one another, with what seemed like two cups of a variety of their taco fillings (chorizo, lamb, beef and pork). It was delicious but I wouldn’t call it a taco.
The four of us were too stuffed to explore the entrée menu.
The staff was very friendly and attentive, though there were some new-restaurant jitters on display.