The term “sing for your supper” took on a whole new meaning, and time frame, on Sunday when my friend and I took up microphones. You see, if you sing Karaoke during Papagayo’s weekly brunch in South Boston, you get a free meal.
I like watching people do karaoke. At brunch, you’re not watching a bunch of drunks spewing lyrics. It’s nicer: the people here may have had a Bloody Maria or two, but they were slightly shy, fueled with a large shot of what the hell. A whole family got up at one point to sing Coldplay, and it was lovely to see them all together.
For us, it was fairly easy to summon up the courage, after a fine house Margarita (straight up, with salt) and a spicier Chi Chi Bang Bang version, with jalapeno. House margaritas are made with 100% blue agave tequila, orange liqueur, fresh lime juice, and hand-shaken, and they were excellent.
And the meal was worth any stage fright. I had the carnitas asada con huevos, including marinated grilled skirt steak that was tender and flavorful, scrambled eggs, salsa verde, chili-dusted crispy home fries, which were breaded and crispy mini potato pancakes, with guacamole and pico de gallo, with warmed flour tortillas to assemble them fajita style. My friend ordered the chilaquiles, which was poached chicken, baked corn tortilla casserole with sunny side up eggs, chihuahua cheese, and tres chili salsa, which she liked very much.
We ordered a side of guacamole to go with the table chips and salsa, and it was fresh and chunky. Made at a nearby table piled high with avocados, we ordered it medium spicy, which was not very spicy at all.
The restaurant is brick-walled with plenty of sun streaming in from the front. Various tequilas lined the glass shelves above the DJ booth, which sits in front of a long bar that was empty during brunch.
My kid had the french toast made with brioche, and a bottle of Jarrita mandarin soda, but because he’s an awkward tween, no way he was getting up on stage. But my brother sang “Spinning Wheel” by Blood, Sweat and Tears, apparently with very little embarrassment. I think he has a future in karaoke. He got a free entree: his was a Gringo plate of blueberry pancakes.
Then it was our turn. The stage was actually outside the site line of the dining room, and since no one was at the very long bar at the moment, so we weren’t really in the limelight. There’s no song list; you fill out slips with a song, and a backup song, you’d like to sing, and if they have it, they call you up for your turn.
My girlfriend and I got up, and we sang a terrible version of “Our Lips Are Sealed” by the Go-Gos. It was a lot harder to sing than I thought. As I returned to the table, my son gave us the slow clap. As it turned out, we didn’t sing into the microphones, and no one could hear us. Small blessings. But hey, the meals were now free.
This apparently is Boston’s only karaoke brunch, and the dining room was filled, so reservations would be a good idea. Karaoke Brunch is every Sunday from 10AM to 3PM.
Papagayo South Boston
283 Summer St, Boston