El Burro Borracho
At a Glance
What is it?
A casual Mexican eatery from Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives star Guy Fieri.
Where is it?
At The Rio just west of The Strip.
What kind of food is served?
Mexican classics from burritos to fajitas and beyond.
What is the atmosphere like?
A little loud but with nice views of the pool.
How is the service?
Fast, friendly, and patient.
What are the prices like?
Higher than what you’d pay at Taco Bell but this is much better food than that.
What else do I need to know?
What’s the bottom line?
Not the best Mexican restaurant in town but good enough for Fieri fans.
It’s interesting that it took Guy Fieri so long to come to Vegas, especially considering he went to the University of Nevada Las Vegas, which almost makes him a local. But now that he has established a beachhead with the opening of his Guy Fieri Kitchen at The Linq it seems as if he is intent on expanding his Sin City empire and the next step is this, a casual Mexican eatery at The Rio.
The space is a high-ceilinged affair, with lots of dark wood, metal, and brick accents along with colorful Mexican influenced murals and posters (think Dia de los Muertos). As with most modern Vegas restaurants it’s a little loud between the conversations, kitchen noise, and music bouncing off the hard surfaces but there are big windows looking out on the pool so at least you have something to look at.
El Burro Boraccho means “the drunk donkey” in Spanish so it’s no wonder that the first two pages of the menu are devoted to beers, frozen drinks, specialty margaritas, and tequila. I love me a good margarita and these got the job done but a tequila fan at the table suggested that the selection, while extensive, was a little pedestrian.
Your first clue that this is a Guy Fieri restaurant is that you can opt out of the chips and salsa and replace them with chili-lime dusted chicharrone, the Mexican equivalent of fried pork rinds. They are much better than boring tortilla chips and if you’re worried about calories or cholesterol, you haven’t been paying attention to who Guy Fieri is. The house salsa is average so you may want to consider upgrading to one of the signature varieties, which include roasted tomatillo, chipotle with garlic, grilled pineapple and jalapeno, or roasted habernero and lime. They also have a selection of guacamoles that come in mild, medium, or hot styles.
There are a few interesting items in the starters section including a chorizo quesadilla, grilled street corn, queso fundido, or a grilled shrimp cocktail, because this is Vegas.
After that the menu is pretty familiar to anyone who has eaten in a sit-down Mexican restaurant. Tacos in a variety of styles (beef, chicken, pork, fish, shrimp, etc.), burritos, enchiladas, fajitas, and the like. They do have a few Mexican influenced hamburgers and salads if you are not inspired by the main features. The preparation and the secondary ingredients may be slightly different (some are dressed with the salsa varieties, mole sauce, etc.) but generally speaking this is pretty standard fare.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that but Fieri’s stock in trade has been about finding the interesting, unusual, and off the beaten track eating experiences, so it’s surprising that this place isn’t more adventurous especially when you consider the more extreme eats at Guy Fieri Kitchen (pepperoni wrapped breadsticks and cheese anyone?).
Average is how I’d describe the meal we tried, which included a chicken burrito, the steak fajitas, a beef enchilada, and a few other items. There wasn’t a bum note in the bunch but there wasn’t anything that stood out either. It was simply fine, which is fine except that you can find much better Mexican food in Vegas at places like La Comida and Javier’s to name a couple.
For the Fieri faithful, though, this is will be a good story to take back home (“I ate at Guy’s restaurant!”).
Prices come in at the high end of the moderate range with most main courses falling within a few bucks either way of $20. That’s a lot to pay for Mexican food that isn’t more than just good. Of course if you add in a bunch of tequila or margaritas your bill will go up quickly but maybe by that point you just won’t care.