Once the primary dominion of Tufts students, Davis Square has gotten a bit of an upgrade in the last few years with the arrival of restaurants like Foundry and Posto. The bar has been raised again with the opening of the Painted Burro, an energetic Mexican eatery from the owner of Posto.
The place was full and lively on a recent weeknight. The bustling atmosphere creates a casual, fun setting that’s perfect for a night out with friends. Our waiter was prompt and attentive, coming by to check on us enough to be helpful, but not so much to interrupt conversation repeatedly. The decor was lovely, with wooden tables that sported a nice patina, pretty candle holders and cozy bench seating along the wall.
My one big complaint of the night was that my drink was bad. Like, very bad. In fact, I sent it back, something I pretty much never do. I may have been spoiled on great cocktails, as my dining companion told me, but I expect my mojito to have mint in it, not just a pile of limes. I could tell the waiter felt genuinely bad that I didn’t like the drink and took it off the bill, which was courteous. I did see many other tasty-looking drinks flying off the bar though, so I’d give the place another chance to redeem itself in this area.
The actual dinner portion of the night was fantastic. The chips and salsa that are brought to the table upon arrival were very good. The chips were crispy and not greasy at all and the salsa was well-balanced, with some heat, but not enough to make you sweat. Our actual dinner came a tad too quickly after we ordered it, as I prefer a bit more of a relaxed pace to my meal, but since the restaurant is new, I’ll chalk it up to that.
I ordered the white gulf shrimp “diablo” tacos that were the perfect mix of spicy (the shrimp) and creamy (avocado). And perfectly sized for a nice, light meal. I also ordered the kale and plantains, which were delicious. The kale was a tab oily, but the plantains were out of this world!
My dining companion ordered the zucchini and nopales tacos (vegetarian), which she said were incredible. The only issue here was that she asked for a side of guacamole, which the restaurant does not accommodate because they make their guac fresh. She ended up ordering the size they did have and was not disappointed, as it was the perfect compliment to her dish. But at $9, a little pricey for how she wanted to use it.
We were too full for dessert, but somehow the waiter caught on that we were celebrating my birthday, so he brought out a dish of flan for us to share. The gesture was very kind, but I wasn’t a big fan of the flan. It was too citrusy and mushy for my taste.
The Painted Burro definitely has a lot going for it, as really great Mexican food isn’t always easy to find, but as a new restaurant, it seems it still has a few kinks to work out. I’ll be back to try some of the other dishes that caught my eye and give the place another try. It’s nice to see Davis Square growing up a bit with new additions like the Painted Burro and I hope they succeed!
The Painted Burro
219 Elm St.