Joey continued his trend of exploring taco establishments in Birmingham by choosing Little Donkey for this week’s visit. Having only been open for a few months, this restaurant is already generating lots of buzz in the Magic City. Due to business obligations, Brad could not join us this week.
Greg: I had heard lots of buzz about this week’s selection, Little Donkey, so I was eager to visit. It has only been open a few months in a town crowded with other options for Mexican food, but I hadn’t been able to visit yet. We arrived at 12:30 and easily found a parking spot. There is a patio, but per BLC protocol we sat inside. We grabbed a high booth close to the door. I will stick to the food now and discuss the service later. I ordered 3 tacos (2 al pastor and 1 brisket). We have eaten at lots of taco places during the BLC tour, so I have lots of basis for comparison. The flavor of the al pastor tacos is usually what sets them apart, but these were rather bland. The meat was cooked properly and the ingredients on the tacos were fresh. But the flavor didn’t compare to Mi Pueblo or Cantina. The brisket was bit overcooked and again didn’t have any special flavor to it. The salsa we got with the chips was interesting, but good. It had a more of strong spicy taste instead of the sweet salsa taste from El Barrio. I liked it. The chips were fresh as well. As for the service, it was dreadful. Our waiter (referred to from here out as Skippy) showed up every now and then. He managed to get the orders correct. And to bring the checks. Other than that, his appearances were few and far between. We had to flag down a hostess to inquire about chips/salsa and beverage refills. We have grown accustomed to waiting awhile for food at these lunches, but this meal was almost 30 minutes. For some tacos. It was a bit much. Skippy was a young chap, perhaps new to the business, who didn’t quite get it. Perhaps he was having bathroom issues that we didn’t know about. Either way, it was close to the worst service we have had on a BLC stop. Just to double check and see if we were experiencing an anomaly, I looked at reviews of the place online and slow/horrible service seems to be a pattern for this new restaurant. Unfortunately, the food wasn’t quite good enough to make up for the bad service. With all of the excellent taco options in Birmingham, I doubt I make a return to this one. Overall Rating: 1.5 out of 5 Bros
Joey: I should preface this review by saying I have worked at Jim N Nicks as a server before. So I know some things about how to provide decent service at their restaurants. I learned you don’t have to do an outstanding job, but you can’t do a terrible job. Jim N Nick’s food is of a high enough quality that a server basically does just has to stay out of the way. Little Donkey, owned by the same family that started Jim N Nicks, seems to serve food of a similar high quality. But on this lunch trip, we were blessed with a terrible waiter named Daniel. Daniel made numerous errors but I won’t get into specifics. I will say his work was of such a subpar quality that it affected what was otherwise a fine meal. I ordered a chile relleno and received the largest chile relleno I have ever seen. This one was stuffed with chorizo and other peppers. (Yo dawg, I heard you liked peppers…) It was actually a nice meal, but our shitty server Daniel definitely made it harder to enjoy. Based on this review, we were not the only ones to be given subpar service at Little Donkey. So yes, if Jim or Nick called and asked me to come whip the servers at Little Donkey into shape, I would listen. But if they don’t get someone to do it, they will start to lose business quickly. Overall Rating 2.5 out of 5 Bros
Blake: Bros, this was just alright. I sampled Little Donkey a few weeks back with the Green Chili Cheese Burger, a wrap, that was really good. I complemented it with the street corn. This time I had a steak burrito and la concoction, which I believe to be a feminine concoction. All of the food I have chosen here is slightly above average. The burrito was topped with pinto beans, which I found a bit bizarre, and guacamole. It worked, but it seems like black beans is a better option.
Now, here are a brief list of things I can remember our waiter doing wrong, and I am no critic of waiters like Joey (I’ll bet his review is a doozy!):
– this fellow never brought our chips. We can debate if the chips should be “free” or not all we want, but at this place they were “free.” And Joey had to go ask our hostess to get chips.
– I got one refill in an hour. Joey also had to ask our hostess if we could get the refill (poor girl picked up a lot of slack for Skippy.)
– Skippy brought us our checks, which I placed a $100 bill inside, and he had the audacity to ask me if I needed change. Without even looking inside. I’m told, by Joey, you’re not supposed to ask that question regardless of the amount inside, but yeah, Skippy, the total was about $14 and you were terrible at your job. I’m gonna need a little cash back.
– He tried to close us out and rush us out the door before we had finished our meals. Give me a little time, Skippy.
And we weren’t rude or pushy. We didn’t send anything back. We only gave in and asked someone for service after it had clearly been too long.
The food wasn’t bad. In fact, it was better than a lot of places. I personally preferred it to it’s major designer Mexican food competitor, El Barrio. But the service – oh man. The service. It was much better on my first visit, but not perfect. And I wasn’t rating the place on my first visit. We’re well over 20 stops on this adventure now, and this was the worst service I have had. It almost made it a certainty I will not return, unless the overwhelming majority of my party is dying to go there. Overall Rating: 2 out of 5 Bros
Composite Bro Score: 2 Bros NEW ALL-TIME OVERALL LOW SCORE