Especially when it comes to restaurants, I am a big believer in second chances. Our first experience at Pedro’s occurred last winter, on what proved to be a very busy night. My significant other, Vicki, and I enjoyed our food, but were underwhelmed by the service, which was inattentive and rude.
We went back two weeks ago for an early-afternoon lunch, after spending a delightful hour checking out Kennebunk’s gallery scene. Our most recent experience more than made up for the first. The food was fresh and interesting, and the service was better than good. We got a high-top table just off the bar with a clear view of the Red Sox on TV. Our drinks came right away and were refilled before they ran dry, and our waitress was kind, peppy and efficient.
I ordered a chipotle braised pork burrito ($12) with rice, beans, salsa, guacamole and chipotle crema. My companion got a tamale with steak and caramelized onions ($8), and a meatless taco salad ($10). We liked everything and quibbled only about small things.
First, the burrito. I loved the pork, which was tangy, savory and plentiful. The burrito was lightly grilled, tightly wrapped and stuffed with rice and beans, which overflowed and spilled out when I cut into it. The guac was evenly distributed, as was the chipotle cream. Altogether, it was very good.
What it lacked was panache. The presentation was flat. The burrito was served in the middle of a large white plate that was lightly garnished with hot-pepper slices, a piece of pickle and a small bed of greens, which I did not touch. I wasn’t expecting sides; the traditional sides of beans and rice are inside the burrito. But I expected something more visually inviting and creative.
Vicki liked her tamale, which was beautifully arranged like a fantail. She found the steak and onion a nice combination, though was a bit overwhelmed by the corn meal filling, which was more than plentiful relative to the steak and onion. The taco salad was exactly what she expected, with a crispy shell. She loved the hot sauces and appreciated the waitresses allowing her to indulge in them.
We enjoyed taking our time at Pedro’s. The atmosphere felt casual, inviting and interesting. We found ourselves pointing out things we spied on the walls, and welcomed the opportunity to enjoy a leisurely lunch without feeling pressure to give up our table.
The world’s best margaritas helped, as did the Red Sox’ victory.
WHERE: 181 Port Road, Kennebunk; 207-967-5544; pedrosmaine.com
HOURS: Noon to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; noon to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday
WAIT: It can get very busy, but we arrived on a casual Sunday afternoon and had no wait for a table and a minimal wait for food.
PARKING: Both a lot and street parking
WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE: Yes