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May 13, 2009 06:32 PM

Recent experiences with Barrio Cafe? (PHX)

Just wondering if anyone here has been to Barrio in the past year or so, and if so, what you liked on your visits.

We've been invited to attend a group dinner there, and I feel some trepidation about what to order. On our last visit, which was about 2 years ago, we had disappointing experiences with 2 of the three dishes we ordered. Obviously, a lot of time has passed since then, and the kitchen could just have been having an off night, but still the memory of that meal haunts me with thoughts of what could have been.

If you have any recent Barrio highlights to share, please do. Thanks!

Barrio Cafe
2814 N 16th St, Phoenix, AZ 85006

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  1. Oops. I realized that I should have noted that I read Rubee's report from last May, but that I had trouble finding any other more recent reports.

    Maybe we'll get lucky and have the option of ordering those lobster tacos. :-)

    1 Reply
    1. re: hohokam

      or conchinita pibil :) never let me down before. but i haven't been in about 6 months..

    2. It's been about 6 months for me too, but I've had consistently good cochinita pibil, chiles en nogada, and enchiladas de mole (the black Oaxacan kind). I wasn't wild about the duck the one time I ordered it.

      6 Replies
      1. re: bortukan

        You had to say that, didn't you? :-)

        The pibil was one of the dishes that disappointed me the last time--great texture, but none of the tartness and complexity I expected from the achiote and citrus seasoning.


        After the recent discussion of the fish at Tradiciones and these reports on the pibil, I'm wondering if I have crappy luck or just miswired taste buds.

        Well, maybe I'll give the pibil another try tonight to see if last time was just a fluke. I hope it was, because I love pibil.

        1. re: hohokam

          Conchinita Pibil is only available seasonally (and it isn't currently that season), 3 out of the 8 in our party were disappointed they couldn't order it. (Summer is when it is not available).

          I had Enchilada's Mole, which weren't to my liking (I think the particular flavor profile wasn't to my personal tastes). Another person ordered the enchildas with the creamy sauce, and it was much better.

          Another person ordered the Steak (kind of weird thing to order in a Mexican restaurant), and really enjoyed it. I thought it looked wonderful (and certainly was prepared in a unique way that wouldn't be available at a steak house).

          1. re: Booger

            Ah. Thanks for the heads-up. I wonder if the pibil's seasonality is tied to the local availability of sour oranges? Well, at any rate, it sounds I'll have to wait a while to give it another try.

            I'm sure my choices will at least in part be driven by what other people are having (and are willing to share), but I'll keep your tips in mind when ordering.

            Thanks again.

            1. re: Booger

              Just a quick update.

              The pibil is still being served. The menu does indicate that chiles en nogada is a seasonal dish, served from September through April.

              I had a little taste of my partner's pibil, and it was much better than what we had on our previous visit. Indeed, of the 4 things I tasted lasted night (guac, enchiladas en mole negro, chile relleno costeƱo, puerco pibil tacos), it was the best or at least tied for first with the guac.

              1. re: hohokam

                You are absolutely correct hohokam. It was the chiles en nogada (Pomegranite was out of season if I remember correctly) was the seasonal dish we couldn't order.

                The pibil is available always, and is what my wife got (and I shared), which was quite good.

                Thanks for correcting my senior moment hohokam.

        2. I recently had lunch at the Barrio Cafe. I had the Guacaomole which was excellent with their crisp warm chips. For the "Platillo Fuerte" I had the Enchiladas Suizas. This was a variation of the traditional recipe with some sweetness to the cream sauce which I liked very much. The chicken filling was plentiful and very flavorful. The whole presenation was very well done. The garnish zuchini dish was also well prepared and had a very fresh taste, in fact, everything seemed fresh, with clear flavor notes. Ambience and staff were also very pleasant. I live in Rosarito Beach, Mexico and eat a lot of Mexican food, but this was unusual and refreshing. I plan to return whenever I am in Phoenix. I want to try the Chiles en Nogada next time. Its a great dish and I want to try their take on it.

          Barrio Cafe
          2814 N 16th St, Phoenix, AZ 85006