Barrio Park Slope
I ate at Barrio last night. The food was really good. We had guacomole, which was great it came with three small homemade tortillas, that was my only complainty about it not enough to for all the guac. The we shared this melted cheese with mushrooms and that also cam e with home made corn tortillas realy good. Finally I had the pork tacos and my friend the steak and they were great. I'll definately go back
It is hard to tell too much cause it was only the second night but food I thought was very very good, seemed like a lot of care was put ino the fod, very authentic, the portions aren't too big which I liked, the tacos were three small tacos which was great. I actually thought the steal tacos were exceptional.
Pricing, not cheap but not too expensive, apps range from 7 to 10, tacos btw 8 and 1o and entrees I think up to 20, I don't exactly remember so that is a guess.
Atmosphere sort of hard to tell cause it was just the second night. it was busy, the staff was very nice and service was good. Also till April 30 they are taking 15% off the bill as they explained they are still ironing things out which I thought was cool.
I will def be back, ti was one of those menus where I wanted to try so many things which is a good sign.
April 24th - We spent almost 2 hours here due to really, really long wait time for food service - our server even comped us a round of drinks due to the wait. The staff was really nice - the bartender especially. It was simply that the kitchen couldn't cope with the crowd - it was jammed from 7:45 to about 9:30. Our wait for a table was only about 20 minutes - it was the wait for the food that felt interminable.
But, that said, we thought the food was fabulous. We had the marinated Oaxacan cheese, and black bean & plantain empanadas to start, followed by steak tacos and fish tacos and finished by sharing the Yucatan shrimp. All the plates were really well-prepared and used the freshest of ingredients. We especially like the sophisticated use of spices throughout the different dishes. Our only critique re the food is that the 3 taco plate is minuscule.
We liked the vibe & decor of the place - good music and really festive. We will definitely go back once they get their act together in the kitchen. I want Barrio to make it - food is great and it's 2 blocks from our apartment
We're going back tonight.
I've been twice so far, and the waiting-for-food time has improved a lot (45 minutes the first time, 15 minutes the second time). They are out of "preview" mode now, so they've stopped the 15% discount.
Some things I would recommend: the steak tacos; guacamole; pork with peanut mole (comes with a nice corn-cheese "pudding"), the plaintain & black bean empanadas. In general, the food is very good, but they seem to "pull their punches" a bit on the spicing. For example, the light-colored peanut mole needs WAY more red chile. The salsas also need more chile, and the rice and beans need more salt.
I would not recommend the shrimp "ceviche" appetizer, for that reason. The shrimp and jicama are floating in a bland tomato sauce, with only a little hint of the "chipotle citrus salsa." IMHO, they should ditch the tomato sauce and just go heavy on the lime and chile.
The owners seem to be very eager to make this work, though, and they welcome input from the customers. I put a blurb ("Don't be afraid of stronger flavors, the customers will love it.") on the little comment card. Maybe if enough people say it, they would do it.
Finally, livetotravel, if you try the "poblanos chili" (Friday special) tonight, please let us know how it was!
We called at Noon today for a reservation for 2 at 8:30PM and got the OK. We arrived on time and were seated by 8:35PM. Water and chips/salsa arrived in due course and our server - she's a gem - took our order in timely fashion.
30 Minutes later our appetizers arrived - still way too long of a wait! The food however is once again fantastic - repeated the empanadas from our first visit and also ordered Barrio's take on sopes - crab meat salad/epazote/& perfectly spiced cascabel salsa - this dish was super- crab meat was creamy and sweet, the cornmeal base was just the right texture and consistency and I guess the epazote was right as I'm still alive to write this.
Good thing the apps were great because the pacing is still horrible - another 30 minute wait for our entrees. My wife had the chicken enchilada and I had the poblano chili - at first we thought that the dishes were near perfect, until, about 1 minute into them, the overabundance of chili powder struck and rendered our taste buds useless for the rest of the meal. Shame, because the chili was on the verge of greatness - grilled poblano stuffed with diced potatoes and minced chorizo - really tasty until I couldn't taste it anymore. My wife's enchilada only less so over-spiced.
We finished by sharing a tres leches cake that was really yummy. Also, during the course of the evening my wife had 2 glasses of sangria and I had two glasses of cava.
Total bill w/tip was $87 plus change.
This place has such potential I want to be a good culinary parent to it - but the pacing just has to improve and the kitchen has to find the right balance with the heat.
I'm up for one more visit.
Nice review. Very useful. A few questions: firstly, did you feel the menu was fairly priced. Some early visitors thought the prices were a bit high for mexican.
Secondly, can you compare Barrio to Marias (4th Ave. and Union St.), which I consider quite good and a bit higher scale than most Mexican joints.
I've been only once but thought it was far superior to Marias in every way (food, service, ambience). Several points of note:
1) The guacamole was great. I thoguht it had the right amount of salt, spice and lime and the avocados were ripe without being overripe. Most importantly, it was served with fresh corn tacos.
2) The two salsas on the table were tasty and I actually thought the red salsa was quite spicy and I like a lot of spice.
3) The mole in the chicken mole dish I had was outstanding. It had the right mix of sweet, earthy and smoky with a hint of heat. I thought they could have done a better job of crisping the chicken skin but overall a very good dish. One complaint is that I thought the green rice (which I make quite a lot at home) was a bit dry but the flavors were great.
4) Although the dishes came out slowly, the service was great. My water glass was always full and several people came over to apologize about the food taking a little long to come out. This is clearly a very professionally run place.
One final point: this place has the potential to be somewhere where you feel like you have had a "night out" as opposed to "dinner out." It's nice to have a place like that in the neighborhood. I can't wait to go back.
Just to pretty much corroborate what everyone has said...we went Sunday evening and found the food great, but they do still need to work on their pacing. My husband's second margarita never arrived...altho our waitress kept saying "two more minutes". Finally he cancelled it when he had just about finished his dish. We got our first round of drinks quickly, then waited..and waited...for our guacamole (which we finally had to ask for after about 30 minutes.) Then, our mains came the second we finished the guac...no time to mop up the last tasty bit.
But, as noted, the food is great. The guacamole was fantastic, perfectly spiced and fresh and a bit chunky as it should be. It came last night with six little tortillas, so maybe they heard the complaint of the first reviewer. They were also happy to give us more chips. I had the pork tenderloin in the peanut mole which was fabulous...I thought the mole had just the right amount of heat, and the pork was perfectly cooked. The corn/cheese pudding that came with it was sublime...with every bite I swooned...I really need to find that recipe. Hubby had the chicken enchiladas which he felt were delicious and with very authentic flavors, definitely comparable to some we had in Mexico.
Our bill was only about $60--two "Ultima" margaritas, one guac, and two mains. Would have been three margaritas if the 2nd round had shown up!
We did tell the manager as we left that we loved the food, but the pacing needed improvement--he said they are "working on it every day" and I believe it. We'll be back, and soon!
oh, also a nice factor is that they take reservations.
My wife and I dropped in at Barrio on Saturday, around 7:30 PM. We didn’t have reservations, just took a chance. We expected a crowd and our expectations were met. By chance, however, a couple of tables had just opened up as we walked in, and the host told us it would only be 5 – 10 minutes, and suggested we wait at the bar. As luck would have it, a couple of seats at the small bar (maybe six or seven stools) also opened up right then, so we snagged those and decided to stay at the bar for our meal.
The bartender, Jay, was very friendly and very busy. There were maybe six people seated at the bar eating (including us), others standing at the bar having drinks while waiting for tables, and the servers ordering for the tables. It was up to Jay to handle it all, and mostly he did, although he did get behind occasionally. But he never lost his cool and always recovered. If the space allowed, they probably could use a second bartender for busy Saturday nights.
We very much liked what they did with the place. There is nothing left of Tempo Presto, the previous occupant. They really did some great work with the walls, the floors and the overall look and feel of the place. Very festive, quite Mexican, at least to us.
Maureen and I started with a pair of margaritas, she having the traditional mix and I the tamarind variation. They were both good renditions, with us both liking my tamarind version better.
For food we ordered the guacamole and asked for chips (“No problem,” said the indefatigable Jay), and we also had the Oaxacan cheese and an order of the pork tacos. When the guac came it was accompanied by three small tortillas but no chips, something Jay noticed and mentioned to the kitchen. Said chips did arrive about five minutes later, but they were the low point of the meal: plain, some stale, no salt, no salsa, not particularly tasty, except for the guac.
We very much liked the rest of the meal, especially the pork tacos, three small servings on the same small tortillas that originally accompanied our guacamole. It’s true that the portions are relatively small, but the quality is large and, we thought, worth the price. It all went very well with a mug of Dos Equis, one of three beers on tap.
Unfortunately, there were no condiments. We probably should have asked, but by the time our food arrived Jay was in full speed mode and we didn’t want to interrupt his flow.
When we finished our food, we sipped our beers and decided to have another order of guac and two more Dos Equis, but we changed our minds about twenty minutes later after watching Jay race back and forth.
With tax and tip, the bill came to about $70. We’ve been very vocal about wanting a quality place in Park Slope for some time even if they have to charge a little more, and Barrio might just be that place.
Overall, we had a good time and we’ll definitely go back. The few glitches we saw can be attributed to the fact that we dropped in at the very busiest time of the week. The only thing we’d really like to see them do is upgrade the chips.
This note below was just posted on the Park Slope Forum of Brooklynian.com - very nice note from the owner...
My husband, Spencer, and I are the owners of Barrio and were recently
informed of the Park Slope internet forum discussions about our new
We sincerely appreciate your thoughtful insights, critiques, and concerns
and would love the opportunity to address them. Feel free to email us
either at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. We also look
forward to meeting you. Please let us know the next time you visit Barrio
so we may personally introduce ourselves.
Spencer and I are simply thrilled to be a part of the Park Slope/Greater
Brooklyn community and are striving in every way to make Barrio a wonderful
restaurant. Your feedback and communication with us will surely be an
integral part of Barrio's success.
My wife and I went last night and it was pretty mediocre. The chips were a bit stale for starters. We got the queso fundido which was fine. I mean you can't ruin melted cheese can you? My wife had their grilled corn (not very good) and their carnitas tacos (so-so) while I had the chicken enchilladas which were alright.
We left the place thinking it was nice to sit outside under their awning but there was nothing special about the food or the menu that would make me think it would be any different if we were to go back and give it another shot.
Just had a birthday party at Barrio and they couldnt have been more accomodating. The staff were incredibly nice and attentive but not obtrusive and the food was really wonderful. They have a nice sized outdoor area. My wifes from Texas and Im from Ca. and weve been waiting for a great upscale Mexican restaurant.
Great Gucamole, a definite. Really liked the plantain and black bean empanadas and the braised short rib taquitos, and the shrimp ceviche for appetizers.
For entres. Great vegetarian enchilada and Yucatan shrimp and the Guelaguetza salmon was nice as well. They also had a kids menu that was fairly priced with good portions.
Drinks-Good selection of Mexican beers (I like Pacifico, nice and light in the warm weather) and very good and strong margaritas, none of the watered down fruit punch you get at some trendy places. I liked the Watermelon and Agave.
They also had a very good Dulce de Leche ice cream for dessert.
Prices were definitely fair for the quality and preparation of fthe food
The owner was there and very involved in overseeing everything, very nice and helpful which is great. Ill definitely be back.
My wife and I tried Barrio on Friday and thought it was very good, maybe even great.
We loved the red salsa they provide, it has an unusual flavor I couldn't put my finger on. The guacamole was very good. My wife tried the chickeb enchiladas which were good. I tried the puebla pork, which was great - the peanut mole was really nice.
The service was very friendly, and actually quite fast, especially considering the place was rather full.
I hope they add a few more items to the menu over time, as it is somewhat small.
The chicken enchiladas are simply amazing. I've been on a quest to find good Mexican food here ever since I moved from San Diego five years ago. You can taste the Mexican oregano in the perfectly seasoned chicken. Am going back for the mole ASAP. Love the ambiance. Terracotta tile floors, good light, and the mural make it all feel like home.
It looks like this spot has finally got a tenant that will be there a while. I was impressed the minute I walked in. The host was incredibly friendly, the kid's menu had all the needs met for fussy ones and the margaritas looked fabulous.
Our waiter greeted us with great enthusiasm and soon our delicious drinks were in hand. We ordered the guacamole, veggie enchiladas, chicken enchiladas, chicken nuggets (kids) and chicken tacos(kids). Sounds boring but definitely not. The green sauce is spicy and flavorful on my veggie enchiladas and the chicken enchiladas were in a smoky red sauce that added a lot to the white meat. The guacamole was very fresh and not salty, which is what i usually find.
My girls had chicken nuggets and they were definitely like at home (translation: Perdue) cuz that's what they were and that's what I buy! My other daughter had chicken tacos and did not enjoy them at all, so i asked to get the nuggets and they were so kind about it and didn't charge for the new entree. Very nice.
It's not cheap but it's pretty good and I love the atmosphere.
Kid friendly - yes but bring entertainment for the little ones, i.e., crayons, DS, etc. -thebkdiner.com
3 reasons to stay away:
1)the kid's menu had all the needs met for fussy ones
2)chicken nuggets (kids) and chicken tacos(kids)
3)Kid friendly - yes but bring entertainment for the little ones, i.e., crayons, DS, etc.
ok, maybe not to stay away, but to go at a (much) later hour. for me.
Another rave for Barrio!
Went at 6:15 on a Thursday night; sat outside (lovely evening). Yes there were plenty of kids, including our two, but all were very well behaved and I am one of those who enjoy having well-behaved children at a neighborhood restaurant. Which this is.
One of the best margaritas I have ever had. An elegant blanco, with a distinctive agave tang, not overpowered with citrus. Also, draft Dos Equis Lager--new to me and very enjoyable. We also ordered a specialty drink--the Dulce Kamila--which was well made but a little too frou-frou for our liking.
Guacamole as good as reported elsewhere in this post, and the warm flour taquitos were a pleasant alternative to chips. (The chips, by the way, are also fine and replenished as needed, and there are two fresh salsas, both good, but the better being the mild, which is also a pleasant surprise. This is a kitchen that knows how to deploy heat, and what to provide instead.)
Fish taquito appetizer crispy, tasty and fresh.
My entree was the Puerco Puebla--a (braised?) loin with a really interesting peanut mole, and a tiny spinach budin on the side. SO's entree was the salmon--which is a pretty good yardstick, as she invariably orders salmon and generally ends up with a serviceable slab of pink-orange fish, variously sauced. Barrio's rendition was more in the nature of a filet than a steak, with a surprisingly vivid fish (not salmon!) taste. Several cuts above standard restaurant fish.
And since there has been some "discussion" of the kid's menu, let me report that the experts--i.e., the kids--were ecstatic. The chicken nuggets are exactly what you get at home (anyone objecting this is not what a restaurant should be serving obviously has no idea of what eight year olds actually want). The mini steak taquitos, however (they're called something else, but the tag line on the menu tells you what they really are) are flat out delicious.
I was being treated to my *&^th Birthday, so I didn't pay, but the entrees top out around $16 (most are in the $14 range) and appetizers areound $8-9. Totally appropriate pricing.
As to the waitstaff: Whatever issues there might have been on startup appear to have been resolved. Service was very warm and friendly; wait-time non-existent.
Our experience--and we are both from the southwest, love Mexican, and care not a fig for anyone else's Talmudic arguments on "authenticity"--was pretty close to rapturous--given the beautiful setting sun, sophisticated saucing (i.e., NOT putting the "pica" in everything willy nilly), and general vibe. Oh, and the host--who I suspect may have been "Spencer" himself--couldn't have been more gracious.
As I said earlier, I consider this a true "local" in that it aspires to serve good-quality, inventive food at a resonable price in an attractive, informal setting. We will be back often.
We went on Friday with our toddler. Food, drinks, atmosphere, and servers all very nice. We did have a long delay for our food, which I suspect was due to a lost order - everyone around us seemed to get their food promptly. It happens, and we will return. A little frustrating at the time, but a nice experience once my kid got his fish taquitos (which he loved - and btw, he won't touch chicken nuggets!).
My husband and I were there on Thursday also (and I can vouch for the fact that your kids were well behaved). It was our second visit; we had been impressed with the food on the first go, but service was a bit slow. I'm happy to report that the food remained good on the 2nd try, and the service had improved markedly. We shared the guacamole (concur with all reviews that it is very tasty), and I had pork tacitos while my husband had the Thursday night shrimp special. Everything was tasty, and the service was friendly and efficient. Definitely a plus to the neighborhood.
Also there on Friday night with a party of five. Called for reservations and were treated very well by hostess, manager and servers. Food came out very promptly. Guacamole was excellent...the home made corn tortillas were a nice touch. Fish taquitos, empanadas of black bean/plantains, grilled shrimp all excellent. Side of rice and beans a bit meager for $5.50. i agree this place is a real + to the neighborhood and, hopefully, will flourish by virtue of its unique character.
Finally made it to Barrio! The city quieted by the July 4th weekend meant no lines. Happily it is good food that has been the cause of the lines and not simply the auto-cue at the new door to open. Our meal was basic but the good experience had us scoping out what to get next time.
The vegetarian enchiladas went over big. Black bean, añejo cheese rounded out with cactus, roasted poblanos, pickled jalapeños and a green enchilada sauce/salsa. The Shrimp Yucatan was tender cooked shrimp that were marinated in cilantro and jalapeno served on a coconut calamari rice topped with pickled onions. This may be ordered as a starter for the table next time. This dish was sweet, spicy and mildly tart depending on the forkful.
Other than that -- one red sangria, one white sangria and one watermelon mint margarita. The only slight disapointment was the margarita. It seemed a tad light on tequila and watermelon. I will try them again to be sure. And by the way, this margarita was $8., for those who asked.
The service was super friendly and efficient. I will probably be back in a week for another go. The desert menu was intriguing and that could be its own outing.
Yea for Park Slope.
There is a tiny Park Slope Oaxacan restaurant called Chiles and Chocolate. Its located on 7th Avenue near the Conservatory of Music. The dishes are nicely spiced, and not totally dumbed down. Great attention is payed to the moles, which are delicious. Also, they make the best flan that I've had outside of Mexico. This is not a Tex-Mex place, but rather focuses on the regional cuisine of Oaxaca. Try it.
re: Brooklyn Mel
I went last week. I liked it a lot. The food was tasty, spicy, and interesting. The free chips & two kinds of salsa were good. The staff & owners were nice and friendly. Way better than Maria's or other similar places around.
It was only on my way home, though, that I realised I'd paid $15.95 for two (kinda small) enchiladas. Nothing else. C'mon, would it kill Barrio to give us a little rice and beans or greens on the side? It would make the price point a bit more friendly.
chowbeth, while I fully agree with your concerning the price of the enchiladas, I think you are paying for: real estate, fuel, the fuel surcharge the owners pay for having provisions trucked to their door and, lastly, the enchiladas. We're in a wildly inflationary economy. We've broken the $30 seafood entree in Brooklyn. Tempo's prix fixe seems to go up every week. In my small business, I pay vendors a larger and larger "fuel surcharge" or "transportation fee" for everything I buy. You are seeing the tip of a very big iceberg.
I may be one of the few here who is very underwhelmed by Barrio. Yes, the food is pretty good, but overpriced for what you get. I also ordered the enchilada, which was very tasty, but not much better than ones that I had at La Taqueria. I understand that food prices are going up, but rice and beans or even iceberg lettuce are still relatively cheap, and would have made me feel better about shelling out that much money for enchiladas.
I have not tried Barrio yet, so I cannot say whether it is worth it or not.
What I do know, however, is what the last "tenant" paid in rent for that little hole-in-the-wall and based on that I can tell you that any restaurant that survives there is a hero.
Greedy landlords are doing their best to kill the atmosphere in these neighborhoods: Only big chains, banks, mortgage brokers, real estate firms and other really boring businesses can afford to pay those prices without pain.
Went tonight for a return visit - simply fabulous - everything was working in harmony. Met Laurie, the owner - she was wonderful and gracious. Went around 7:30 and waiting no more than 15 minutes for a table. I had the Poblano Chili w/chorizo & potatoes, my wife had the Yucatán Shrimp w/cilantro & jalapeno marinade, pickled onions, & calamari coconut rice - the spices were right-on as was the heat level - simply delicious. The drinks were great, the service superior. This was one of our best restaurant experiences in PS. I'm convinced that they have worked out all the bugs and are here to stay. And what a amazing contribution to 7th Ave this place is. Viva La Barrio!
When Barrio opened, I was looking forward to eating there (given the name -- neighborhood). However, having been there twice now, I can say that while the tacos carnitas were OK, the entrees were mediocre. One of the people I ate with, someone who has been cooking moles for about twenty years, and spent extensive time in Mexico, said the mole tasted like it came out of a jar. My chicken enchilada was the same. I've been there for dinner and for brunch, and both times I was disappointed.