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Apr 23, 2008 05:02 AM

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

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      1. great news! How does it rate to some of the other mexican spots in the slope/prospect heights? How was the pricing if you don't mind me asking?

        4 Replies
        1. re: ginsbera

          I'm also interested in the atmosphere of the joint...

          1. re: amysep

            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.

            1. re: parkerbk

              yeah but now for the important question. liquor license? price of marg's?

              1. re: TBird

                yes they have a liquor license they have a watermelon mint margarita which I def want to try I can't remember price maybe round 7

        2. 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.

          5 Replies
          1. re: livetotravel

            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!

            1. re: parkslopemama

              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.

            2. re: livetotravel

              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.

              1. re: famdoc

                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.

                1. re:

                  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 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.

            3. 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.