Frustrating experience at the Painted Burro
Mr. Swank and I dined there the other night. We were seated promptly (with a reservation). However, there was ONE waitress working the wildly packed room. We waited well over an hour for our entrees. Meanwhile, a table of incredibly drunk and rowdy people -- who were climbing on top of booths, hooting, hollering...I sound like a grandmother, but bear with me -- were monopolizing the waitress' attention. I felt sorry for her plight, but I was also annoyed that she'd stand there for several minutes, bantering with the marg-swilling guys, while we picked at chips and wondered if our appetizers had been lost on Holland Street.
Mr. Swank ordered a pork belly watermelon app. He was told they were out of it, but was later charged for it. It then came to light that a busboy had wandered into the dining room looking for us (waitress was preoccupied), as one last portion had been located in the freezer and he was dispatched to serve it to us. Oh dear.
Also got a cucumber appetizer that boasted enormous chunks of cuke and little else. Mr. Swank enjoyed Sonoran hot dog. My fish tacos and mahi tostada were passable.
The room was incredibly noisy and we ultimately resorted to lipreading.
Hopefully they find more waitstaff. Having one server for a rollicking dining room packed with partiers is unwise.
I go there about once a month or so, and since they added the sound-absorbing material on the walls and moved the bar, have only had one noisy evening -- and that was when a large, rowdy, drunk group was monopolizing the dining room. 99% of the time, there's no problem with noise there anymore, in my experience.
And yes, I've also had a couple of experiences with short staffed dining rooms there, but happily they've been very infrequent and more than once I've seen the manager bussing tables and taking orders.
I enjoy the food and the typical service enough that I can overlook the odd nights.
I agree about the noise problem - it's absurdly loud in there during peak times. Yes, even since they moved the bar.
I'm young - in my 20s - and I still find this to be a real problem and rarely eat there.
I tend to go to the cheaper, more casual, and far superior Tenoch in Medford Square when I'm craving Mexican these days. Or I turn to my buddy Rick Bayless and one of his cookbooks.
We went last weekend and had to wait a pretty long time for our entrees (though more like half an hour than an hour, and our chips got refilled).
I continue to not have a problem with the noise now that the bar has moved to the other room, but it's useful to know that that is not true for everyone.