There are a few things you know about Guy Fieri’s restaurants before you even set foot in one, starting with what they’re not.
They’re not pretentious, they’re not understated, they’re not about nuance or gourmet dining.
What they most certainly are is over-the-top, indulgent, audacious and unforgettable. Just like Las Vegas, come to think of it.
Guy Fieri’s second restaurant effort in Las Vegas, El Burro Borracho, opened at Rio Las Vegas on March 4, 2016.
“El Burro Borracho” translates as “drunk ass” in Spanish, so we’re not left to wonder what’s in store at this lively spot that’s taken up residence in the former Buzios Seafood space.
If you’re unfamiliar with Guy Fieri, you need to invest in a television. Fieri (real name: Guy Ramsay Ferry) hosts 90% of the shows on the Food Network. He’s the guy a lot of people love to hate, but unless you’re a food snob, his crowd-pleasing Vegas restaurants, including Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar at the Linq Hotel, possess a lot to love.
El Burro Borracho, which will inevitably have a nickname, is a long, narrow space, with a bar (pictured below) as well as a long counter area running along an open kitchen.
The menu at El Burro Borracho is in the realm of Mexican food, although purists are sure to discover a lot of WTF.
There’s a variety of comfort and bar foods in the mix, including nachos and street corn and jalapeno poppers and quesadillas and other favorites.
You’ll also find soups and salads, hamburgers, tacos, enchiladas, fajitas and chimichangas.
We went with the Al Pastor tacos ($17), with marinated pork shoulder, grilled pineapple serrano salsa, avocado crema, pickled red onion and cilantro. Delicious and filling.
Desserts include house-made churros, fried ice cream, chocolate flan cake and other temptations.
Check out the full El Burro Borracho menu on the Rio Las Vegas Web site.
As for the cocktails, they were plentiful and strong, stealing the spotlight by appearing before the food in the restaurant’s menu. The signature cocktails are priced at $15, and most could easily serve four people.
We went with the Aztec Punch, a true panty-dropper cocktail if ever there were one.
The Aztex Punch has El Jimador tequila, Sailor Jerry spiced rum (regrettably not Captain Morgan, but we’re not entirely inflexible), orange and pineapple juices, peach syrup, strawberry puree and a dark rum float.
El Burro Borracho faces the hotel’s pool area, and there are plans to open a “taco stand” in the back portion of the restaurant, accessible to those at the pool seeking munchies and libations in ridiculous quantities.
Currently, Guy Fieri’s El Burro Borracho is open 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. The restaurant is technically in a “soft opening” until the official grand opening, April 1, 2016.
The copious amount of liquor, friendly staff and party atmosphere make for a fun night out at El Burro Borracho.
Rio Las Vegas could certainly use a shot in the arm, with many of its retail shops closing and a large section of its casino floor devoted to timeshare sales. We are not making this up.
The upstairs BK Whopper Bar has closed and will soon be replaced with a Smashburger.
KISS Minigolf will be moving into the former seafood buffet space (zero construction has started yet from what we could see), so that could also contribute a new sense of energy to the resort, as does the hotel’s show (recently relocated from the Venetian), “Rock of Ages.”
We hear a new “high-profile restaurant concept” is yet-to-come, and will sit in the space once occupied by Antonio’s Italian Ristorante.
If a hotel is looking to amp up its vibe, Guy Fieri’s brand seems a good fit. El Burro Borracho is a great place to kick back with friends, numb some brain cells and fuel up for a Las Vegas adventure.
Because when was the last time you saw someone wearing an “I Got Nuanced in Vegas” T-shirt?
Guy Fieri's El Burro Borracho at Rio