Barros Luco: Serving Up Tasty Little Bastards
Barros Luco opened a few months ago on 52nd and 2nd. The eatery is named after its featured item--a Chilean sandwich known as a "Barros Luco" named in turn after a turn-of-the-century president of Chile who was known for holding court while snacking on these bad boys. The Barros Luco comes in either steak or chicken, on what looks something like a hamburger bun but with a smoother and lightly glazed surface (a slightly denser texture and a definitively doughier flavor), and is served with any variety of toppings, including melted swiss-style cheese, tomatoes, avocado, green beans, and banana peppers. I had the "Charcatero Completo," which is essentially the aircraft carrier of toppings. I thoroughly enjoyed. The green beans give it a benign but noticeably novel flavor. The eatery itself is highly comfortable, with several tables (including booths) on the second-floor that look out floor-to-ceiling onto 52nd. (Incidentally, the fountain Coke is excellent--nice syrup-to-CO2-water ratio.) Only criticism, and it's slight: the sandwich is filling, but not huge. If starved, you might put away two (perhaps giving rise to an opportunity to house both the steak and the chicken), but at $7-$9 the double-barros shotgun approach would come at a price.
We had dinner at Barros Luco recently and it was terrific. The completo was excellent. Juicy, good sauce, not over loaded with meat and fresh made whole wheat roll. I really like the string beans on the sandwich, my companion not as much. Fried sweet potato fries were also fresh, piping hot and delicious. Allegedly the sandwiches were made larger a short while ago and they were the right size for us. Also brought home an empanada and heated it up in the oven a bit later for my son who liked it a lot. That might be a bit pricy at $5 but it is home made, baked not fried (the only way to go) and filled with meat and such. Owner is very nice. I do hope it stays around for a long while. Supposedly they are still waiting for their liquor license. Beer and wine would be a plus, though the upstairs seating area is very informal.
I hope this place survives. It is a great addition to the neighborhood in a location that has had 2 other places fail very quickly. It is not as good as the chilean sandwhich spot in Boston (Charcatero?) but then again its the only time I have ever seen these served in NY. Sandwhich is small but with a side of sweet potato fries its enough.