Monday, August 6, 2012

The Painted Burro - Mexican in Davis Square

Davis Square was buzzing as the owners of the beloved Pizzeria Posto were opening a new Mexican place, The Painted Burro, in the former Gargoyles on the Square location.  With the cult-like following that Posto has (I still need to go there!), the Painted Burro would have an immediate clientele, but there were suspicions about whether it would live up to Posto's standard.

The Painted Burro!
Nick and I joined Gillian over in Davis Square one evening after work to give this new Mexican place a go.  It's hard to believe that two years ago I said that the Boston area was lacking good options for Mexican cuisine because there have been 5 or 6 places that have opened since then!  With all of these new locations sprouting up, it takes more than average food now to stand out.

We had reservations and were seated straight away, and shortly thereafter our server brought over some salsa.  This salsa was less chunky-tomato and more spicy, which I prefer (being the non-tomato fan that I am.)

After looking at the drink menu, I spotted a special for the evening: Blackberries and Giggles.  With a name like that I HAD to order it - I am easily swayed by creative names and labels in everything I buy! The Blackberries and Giggles was a lovely mixture of Privateer Amber True American Rum, lime, blackberries and simple syrup.  I really could taste the fresh blackberries in this drink, and while I did not giggle upon sipping, there was no lip pursing - I did completely enjoy it!

Blackberries and Giggles
Nick thought he would take a mini vacation and order the Frozen Burro Colada, made with Gosling's Black Rum, cayenne, pineapple juice and cream of coconut.

Frozen Burro Colada
Gillian went traditional with De La Casa Margarita, but I always believe a restaurant needs to master the basic before moving on.  This margarita is a mixture of Agavales Blanco, Combier and lime juice. You know this is going to be better than most house margaritas because there is no sour mix in sight!  The house version was totally drinkable and delicious.

House Margarita
As with all Mexican meals I had to order guacamole - it truly brings happiness and joy to my life when I get good guacamole!  The Painted Burro offers up a couple of varieties, including a spicy and a pork belly version.  We decided on the more basic one with avocado, cilantro (YAY!), sea salt and white onion.  With so few ingredients I was surprised how much flavor each bite packed.  The chips here were not a mere delivery system for the guacamole, instead these were large "chip wedges" that were sturdy and plenty salty that didn't necessarily need the guacamole.

For main courses, we went with the White Gulf Shrimp Diablo tacos, filled with guacamole and a habanero and mango salsa.  The other tacos we ordered were the Pork "Cochinita" with pineapple and serrano salsa and spicy citrus achiote.  Both tacos were fresh and had a fun combination of bold flavors that I love.  The price point was not too bad - between $12 and $14 for two tacos.

Shrimp Diablo
Pork "Cochinita"
Each of the tacos came with a refreshing vegetable slaw dressed with a vinegar that I loved.  It contrasted well with the flavors of the tacos.

Side of Slaw
Nick went with the Yucatan Meatloaf, which comes with two fried eggs "soleado" on top of spicy ground sirloin loaf stuffed with chorizo, ham, chicharron, green olives and toasted almonds served open faced with red mole and thick toast.  There was a lot happening on this plate between the eggs and all of the stuffing in the loaf, but it all came together well - nothing worked against anything else.  The egg yolk, once broken, seeped into the spicy meatloaf.

Yucatan Meatloaf
For dessert we went with some ice cream in a variety of flavors including coconut and green tea.  It was a refreshing end to our meal.

Ice Cream
Overall I was satisfied with the Painted Burro.  I know it had some mixed reviews when it first opened but I think now that they have settled into their service they have worked out some of the kinks.  It's definitely a higher price point than the nearby Anna's, but you get so much more in your experience.  Between the delicious drinks and the fun, welcoming atmosphere, it's unfair to really compare the two.

If you're in the area and craving some great Mexican, The Painted Burro is definitely worth a visit.

The Painted Burro on Urbanspoon


  1. One of the many places I'm sad I didn't get to before I left. Everything looks fabulous. Love that meatloaf with the egg on top.

  2. that meatloaf looks outstanding! and your blackberry & giggles drink looks so good.

  3. I am one of Posto's cult followers! I went to the Painted Burro when it first opened, while they were still ironing out kinks I guess, because I wasn't too impressed. I'm planning on going back soon though1

  4. I love the idea and looks of that slaw served with the tacos. And also agree that a well-made margarita (without mix!) is a must!

  5. I adore Posto, so I can only imagine how good this place is. I'll have to check out it!

  6. Blackberries and giggles... yes, please! Sounds like a fun atmosphere with some tasty bites.

  7. ooh I did not remember seeing the Yucatan meatloaf on the menu. My husband would love that! You guys really ordered well :)

  8. I love their shrimp tacos and have been wanting to try that meatloaf (although it scares me a little bit)!


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