These posts are coming in slow aren’t they? Well, again, it’s all about me being inspired to write and I haven’t been too inspired to write lately. I figured… why not today. Today’s review will be duet with Barrio and Seven Star Pepper Szechuan Restaurant. In this post, we will cover Barrio.
Woo, Michael and I decided to go to Barrio for dinner after yoga one Tuesday. I’ve been to Barrio before but never for dinner, usually its just for late night happy hour. So when we went there, I was expecting great food.
Barrio is located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. It is situated on 12th in the middle of block between Pike and Madison. The place is usually dimly lit with candles. The style of the place is really nice, dark wood, a multi box paneling with candles in them and really comfy chairs. The ambiance is really different from you usual Mexican Restaurant. Very chic.
When we got there around 9:30 pm, the place was half empty so we got our seats right away. Our waiter came, showed us our menus, gave us water and took off to help others. We were so hungry, it took us no time to figure out what we wanted to eat. We were getting the Made to Order Guacamole with Chips to start with, Mike and Woo were getting the Chicken Torta and I was getting the Braised Short Ribs. Ready. Where’s the waiter? We had to wait about 15 mins for him to come back and finally take our order. As he was taking our order, Mike asked about the Torta which the waiter promptly explained that “it is Spanish for a Sandwich. It’s from Mexico”… to which Mike was not having any of it! LOL it was a very classic Michael moment.
The Made to Order Guacamole and Chips came out super fast. The Guacamole came in a bowl with the tomatoes and cilantro placed on top and in the middle. It was quite beautiful to look at. All of us being a big fan of Guacamole dug right into it. At first, the guys were enjoying the Guac. I on the other hand sense something was a miss. The Guacamole was really sour… too much lime juice. I love sour things, but the limy sourness masked the other flavors of the Guac. Where was the garlic, onion, tomato, cilantro flavors! A great Guacamole will showcase all these flavors in every bite. All I can taste here was lime juice. Oh and don’t get me started on the chips! They were a little stale to me. The first batch at least. Stale chips and limy Guac… not a great start to the meal.
Next came out plate of food which took an additional 20 mins to come out. The Chicken Torta looked great. It came with Yucca fries. I didn’t get to taste either of them because I was taking notes from both of their reactions to the dish. Here are some of the highlights. I’ll let them explain the rest if they remembered and prefer to comment below ;). (Hey! I’m doing my job… its just nice to have friends who can help critic with me. It’s more fun that way I think.)
Yucca fries taste like “corn dog batter”. Sandwich just “all right” and kinda “spicy eggy” ~Woo
Taste like a “spicy chicken sandwich at burger king”. “Nothing special” ~Mike
My Braised Short Ribs came out and it was beautiful. I was so ready to dig in. The short ribs were one big chunk braised until it was falling off the bone with just a gentle tug with a fork. It was so tender. It was sitting on a bed of winter squash, with caramelized onions and a nice brown sauce. I took one bite of the meat and was shocked to find it under seasoned. Maybe if I put some of the sauce on it, it will help. No dice. The sauce was also under seasoned! The veggies underneath were cooked until they had a mush like consistency but yet some how with but the grace of god, keeping their structure. The only thing with much flavor to it was the caramelized onions. Just one little bright light in the dish. Oh, I forgot, it came with two tortias that offered no help to the dish whatsoever except for a little starch. What looked to be a promising dish turned out into a dud. I was crushed.
How could this be? The happy hour food was so good! The tacos, the Mexican Pizza… they were so mouthwatering good! This is what happens when you venture off the beaten path. Some times, things don’t turn out as great as you thought it could be. If I go back, I am definitely sticking to what I know is good there. And I will be back… for Happy Hour.
Oh and a little note. I was trying to take pictures with my phone because I keep forgetting my camera and couldn’t get any light to take the picture. The hostess graciously offered me a little key chain flash light to help me take the pics. That’s why they look like they look. Thanks hostess! Without your quick thinking, there would of been no pictures.
My recommendations: Taste was OK, definitely come for the happy hour. Cheap tasty food. Parking on the Hill can be a pain. Price is moderate.