New developments at El Barzón, Detroit
This Mexican/Italian place on Junction, just south of Michigan Ave., has gotten a makeover in more ways than one. I went a few times last year and liked the Mexican dishes a lot--it's the only place in town to get a more elaborate Mexican creation like chicken with pumpkinseed sauce. But the place was pretty barebones, with the owner's kids serving as waitstaff, and there was no liquor. There was also Italian food on the menu--the owner-chef used to be a cook at Il Posto in Southfield--but not that many people seemed to be ordering it.
Was in there the other night and had a great time. They've gotten their liquor license and installed a little bar, with some good tequilas among other things. They've flooded the zone with servers, and although there was quite a crowd I got served quickly. The owner seems to have brought in some of his Italian friends from Il Posto to work--I sat at the bar and enjoyed chatting with Luigi, the bartender. I had enchiladas con mole, which were pretty much incredible, but I noticed there were a lot of couples in there eating the Italian food this time. Nothing is much over $12 or $13 for the entree, and I got the impression a lot of people were coming to get a good facsimile of Il Posto food at reduced prices. I'll try an Italian dish on my next visit.
They had a guy out front watching the cars, which isn't a bad idea, and they're installing a parking lot in a vacant lot directly across the street. Almost packed on Friday, and Luigi said on Saturday either make reservations or be prepared to wait.