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Dec 6, 2008 07:11 AM


Went to Barrio on their opening night and I must say I was impressed. Obviously they are still working out some kinks but all in all this was one of the best opening night restaurant experiences I have ever had. Lots of beautiful people eating beautiful food.

The space is fab-u-gorg. A beautiful wooden door with wrought iron details greets you the host sat us immediately in the most bouncy chairs I think I have ever had the pleasure of resting my tush on. (warning I did see the cushion on one of them pop out later in the evening.

The menu is high end Mexican served tapas style beautiful paper menu’s unfold to reveal a bounty of delicious sounding, and in our case tasting food. They have an interesting cocktail menu although the specialty cocktail I had, sort of a twist on a Makers Manhattan with the addition of absinth left we wanting a real Manhattan instead.

Our waitress had us start with 4 plates and then stow our menus in the built in cubby holes that are built into the table!

Started with the crispy masa cakes in ancho chili sauc, very tasty need a bit more salt and acid (a theme for the evening). Roasted mushroom tacos were tasty but at $4 it a bit expensive. Other stand out were the duck confit tamales, and shredded pork taquitos.

I can’t wait to go back and try the ceviches and more of the tacos.

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  1. A friend and I made it to Barrio on Wednesday night, their soft opening. Charles' comments are right on. Amazing decor, including a wall of large votives separating dining rooms. The door is massive beyond my experience.

    We had ceviches and loved them both. Most traditional was the scallop ceviche with mango. Fabulous. The octopus ceviche is done in a Spanish style with capers and green olives. The octopus is cooked and the small slices were wonderfully tender. Enjoyed the ceviches alongside the trio of chips (tortilla, plantain, yucca) with two salsas (tomatillo serrano and smoky ancho). I particularly enjoyed the brightness of the tomatillo salsa and my companion preferred the ancho, but recommends more salt.

    We also had the masa cakes, one of my favorites dishes of the night. Ours seemed to be salty enough. We also had the tasty if less visually appealing black bean mushroom enfrijolades. We took our server's advice and tried two of the pork tacos (al pastor and shoulder). Tasty bites on fabulous house made tortillas.

    We finished the night with the double lamb chops on hominy. Great! Like Charles, I found the food to be particularly successfully on an opening week. I too am looking forward to more bites across this menu.

    4 Replies
        1. re: allisonw

          Brand new here in Seattle--on 12th between Pike and Madison on Capitol Hill. Opened last Friday night.

          1. re: zoogrrrl

            I checked out Barrio tonight -- beautiful space and tempting menu, but lacking in execution. I'll have to try again once the opening glitches settle down, but for now, all I can say is that if you're going to charge $5 for a *small* taco, it had better be one hell of a taco, and these were not appreciably better than what I can get at El Asadero. But- admittedly, the surroundings were vastly more comfortable.

            Non-taco stuff was better, and I supposed you'd expect to be overcharged given the neighborhood and the effort that went into the decor. But still...nothing we had was particularly memorable.

    1. Went last night. Posh space. Service was cheery if a little scattered, and some things need tuning. e.g. it was too dark at our table to read the menu without difficulty.

      Made-to-order guacamole was tasty, but for $8 (given the small size of the portion) the accompanying chips should be fresh and warm.

      Pozole was outstanding. Really fantastic, well-balanced flavors. My new favorite in the area.

      Chilaquiles were tasty but not especially easy to eat - the fried tortilla was still crispy and consequently tough to get onto a fork.

      Churros were good but need a little refinement of technique - they come a bit thicker than I prefer.

      The prices were high by Mexican standards but you're definitely paying for the space and location - and the pozole was good enough that I know I'll be back.

      Open for dinner only at this point, I hope the owners consider adding Saturday/Sunday lunch/brunch.

      1. just back from Barrio, hmmmm ... went with a group so we tried a few things and I have to say, was sort of unimpressed. Nothing wowed me. My drinks were OK, the service while sincere was slow and unfocused and the food was both petite and juat almost. The masa cakes were nice, the guac. needed a bit more spice, the posole was good and I would probably go back for that .. had 2 ceviches the salmon and the scallop neither of which were memorable. The beef tartar "tostadas" were great I just wanted a few more.

        honestly, I think it might end up just being a bar with food, it sort of has that vibe.

        1. Had dinner there with 10 others this past weekend. The space is beautiful. The cocktails were strong and tasty. The server we had was incredibly friendly and quick to meet a large table's needs.

          However, the food overall was terrible. We sampled a number of the tacos. The pork shoulder was the only one that had any real flavor to it at all. It was decent. The rest were completely bland. We tasted the corn tortillas more than anything inside them. The guacamole was similarly unimpressive. Tasted like plain avocado. Everyone that tasted the Pazole felt it was pretty much akin to Cambells soup. The scallop ceviche wasn't bad, but wasn't all that good either. Needed seasoning and some acid badly. I didn't taste the mussels or the other cevice ordered ( Mahi, I think), but neither were liked by those at our table.

          I would normally say that we might have had too high of expectations for the place, but considering everything we had was anywhere from OK to just plain bad, I doubt any of us would possibly go back. Especially at $4-5 for a single bland taco. I was left pining for the taco truck I hit up last Cinco de Mayo that was serving up 10x the flavor for $1.5 each.

          I even ran into two other friends on my way out and they felt their food was really bland and boring as well. Maybe it was one really bad night for their kitchen. Really bad.

          1. Bland is right. Everything we ate needed salt and citrus. We had the ahi ceviche, taquitos (the best thing we ate all night), guacamole, mahi mahi and some tacos.
            I left there wanting to go to the nearest taco truck and eat far better food for far less money. I do have to give props to our server who was fantastic. I was excited to have a new place in the hood but for that type of "Mexican", I will stick to Matador or Pesos. For real Mexican, hit the taco truck.