By: Bob Gourley
Chef Guy Fieri is not only a television celebrity but he has deep roots in Las Vegas.
He graduated from UNLV with a Bachelor of Science degree and recently receiving an Honorary Doctorate honor. He opened Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen and Bar at the Linq in 2014 and now has another property that has just been launched, El Burro Barracho at the Rio Hotel and Casino.
The space, next to one of the pool areas, is expansive with a menu that represents both traditional Mexican cuisine, plus some twists that should please a variety of tastes. Starting off each experience is a warm complimentary basket of chile-lime dusted chips and house-made salsa molcajete.
There is also a quartet of other salsas for an extra charge that include grilled pineapple-jalapeno described as “sweet heat” with pineapple, jalapeno, cilantro and red onion. Roasted habanero-lime will really rattle the taste buds with charred habanero, lime, garlic and onion.
Small plates called “Bocaditos” are a clever mix of traditional and contemporary flavorings. Grilled Street Corn ($10.00) are cobs ceremonially adorned with chile de arbol, cilantro, lime, mayo and crumbled Cotija cheese.
A shrimp cocktail is given a new twist with grilled and chilled seafood, Mexicana cocktail sauce, pico de gallo, avocado plus cilantro and lime. Crispy Yucca fries are fried crispy and then covered with chile-lime dust and chipotle-ranch dipping sauce.
Yes, there is guacamole. This version is made with Serrano chile, sweet onion, radish, lime and cilantro and can be ordered with a choice of three heat levels.
Enchiladas are served with borracho beans, cilantro rice, pico de gallo and guacamole. The pork chile verde versions are noteworthy with marinated pork shoulder, queso casero, tomatillo salsa, sweet onion, tequila-lime crema and cilantro.
Street tacos are all the rage and the slate here delivers. Each plate includes a trio of custom-made creations.
Picadillo ($16.00) features sweet Sonoran-style braised beef, green olives, raisins, brown sugar, shredded cabbage, cheddar cheese, crema and Parmesan-dusted crispy corn tortillas. Achiote chicken is a possible pick for lovers of burritos and chimichangas.
Shredded meat is combined with borracho sauce, salsa molcajete, shredded cabbage, cheese and crema. Fajitas are also available with a compelling list of goodies like roasted poblanos, charred white onions, tomatoes, cilantro rice, borracho beans and more.
Hamburgers have a southwest twist with selections like the El Gringo ($18.00). Ground beef, Mexicana mac ‘n’ cheese, cheddar, Applewood smoked bacon, burro sauce and crispy tortillas all fit between a garlic-buttered, toasted torta bun.
Desserts are more than an after-thought. House-made churros are tossed in cinnamon sugar, a touch of chile and both Mexican chocolate and dulce de luche dip. Fried ice cream is coated in Mexican chocolate sauce, strawberry compote and white chocolate spicy rum sauce.
Those enjoying a dip in the pool might also enjoy some lunch picks from the poolside menu. There are burgers and small plates.
A friendly bar area has a list of libations including margaritas perfect for the hot summer months.
El Burro Borracho means “drunken donkey.” Get an intoxicating experience with a visit soon.
El Burro Borracho, Rio Suites Hotel and Casino, 3700 W. Flamingo Rd., Las Vegas (866) 746-7671. www.caesars.com.