Food for Thought- The Painted Burro


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Seviya Mast, Contributor

The Painted Burro in Somerville, MA, has a lot of raving reviews, but does it deserve the hype?

It depends. Having been to many restaurants in the Boston area, I would say it is not bad. The food is high-quality, reasonably priced, and they use great spice combinations. But for a Mexican restaurant in general, it is easy to criticize.

For starters, the menu headings are all in English (except specific names like “Tacos”) whereas some of the food names are in English and others are in Spanish. It makes reading the menu very confusing. At many Mexican restaurants, descriptions are in English but headings and food names are Spanish; it feels more authentic and English-speakers can understand what they are ordering.

One of the appetizers they were offering was mango guacamole. I was eager to try this because it combines two of my favorite foods. The guacamole itself impressed me. Usually, guacamole either has way too much salt or not enough, but they hit the nail on the head. However, instead of incorporating the mango into the mixture, they just placed some cut-up pieces on top. They could have been much more creative with this idea.

The Diablo Rojo tacos are corn tortilla tacos with shrimp, guacamole, pickled red onion, habanero, and mango salsa. The salsa was mango puree that tasted like baby food. It completely drenched and ruined the rest of the taco. The corn tortilla tasted almost slightly like rubber, but otherwise, everything else was pretty good. The shrimp was spiced well, the guac and red onions were a nice touch, but it was not enough to save the dish.

The restaurant seemed like it was trying to be bourgeois and authentic with unusual taco combinations, but the bright, colorful environment and strange ways of going about the meals felt immature. If you are looking for a fun, decent, Mexican-ish meal, this is the place for you.