The Painted Burro features an authentic and diverse Latin American menu in their super hip and fun restaurant.
When you think about Mexican or Latin American restaurants, you think sombreros and pinatas hanging from the ceiling, right? Well, The Painted Burro is none of that. It’s all about large comfy wooden tables and chunky chairs, casual chic decor, and a killer bar.
With over 100 tequilas to choose from and an impressive selection of cerveza including Negra Modelo, Chupacabras Pale Ale, and La Migra Imperial Stout, I was wishing I wasn’t there for breakfast. I’ll certainly be back for an evening of drinks in the not too distant future.
But I digress…
Besides the impressive bar, the next thing I fell for was the chips and salsa. And while chips and salsa are seemingly standard fare at most Latin American restaurants, The Painted Burro kicks it up a notch with giant sized tortilla chips that appear to be baked.
Large not too salty chips served with a fresh roasted tomato salsa that had just the right amount of heat. I knew after sampling the chips and salsa that this would not be your typical Mexican restaurant experience.
I started my meal with an appetizer, but making my choice was no simple task.
I was torn between the Guacamole($9), Empanadas($5) and the Crispy Pork Flautas($7). All sounded like winners, but the Empanadas were the victor after reading that they were stuffed with local goat meat, cheese and peppers and served on top of a tomato-chipotle salsa.
An excellent choice. The filling was a hot melty mess of yum encased in a crunchy cornmeal pastry dough shell. I used bits of the outer edge of the empanada to scoop up the smoky tomato salsa that covered the bottom of my plate. So very wonderful.
Choosing my entree was an equally daunting task. There were so many interesting options. The brunch menu features a few familiar breakfast choices such as Thick Cut French Toast ($10), Chipotle Chocolate Chip Pancakes($10), and one of my favorites, Huevos Rancheros($9).
But there were other menu items that also piqued my interest that included egg dishes with braised pork and chicken, chorizo, charro beans, oh and a Yucatan meat loaf served with fried eggs on top. Way too many choices.
But in the end I decided on the Chile Relleno ($17). Stuffed with quinoa, peaches, apricots, roasted vegetables, and served on top of a bed of Oaxaca grits, this Chile Relleno was a step above the rest.
Usually in chile relleno, the peppers are stuffed and deep fried which results in a coronary on a plate. But this version was a pure unadulterated pepper filled with veggies and topped with a rich mole sauce. A wonderful makeover of the much abused chile relleno dish.
I ended my meal with an Iced Horchata($6), which is a happy blend of rice milk, coffee, and a hint of cinnamon served over ice. A very refreshing end to a very satisfying meal.
Some things to note when dining at The Painted Burro…
Be sure to sample the Charro Beans($3). They are incredible. Bits of braised pork belly slow cooked with several different types of beans, this could be a meal on its own.
While I didn’t order the Carne Asada ($21), another diner did and I totally plan on ordering it the next time I go. They were moaning in ecstasy, so it seems like a solid choice.
If you love Latin American food, you really can’t go wrong with The Painted Burro. The prices are reasonable and the food is authentically delightful. Worth the trip into Somerville if you live in the suburbs. I’ll be back hasta pronto.
The Painted Burro hosted our brunch and my meal was complimentary. That said, it was delicious and I would never steer you wrong!