Give Barrio this—and I am about to give them a lot: they truly know how to keep the riffraff out. Here you have to search for a wooden door the size of a city block, one that is pretty much a CrossFit workout1 to open. Hey, Barrio is not a place for just everyone.
The food, meanwhile, is quite stellar, and a testament to what good corporate restaurants2 actually can be. Don’t get me wrong, there are things on the «eh» side of things. Particularly the slow service will slap you around, Sean Connery style, but in the end, it’s all worth it.
Getting a truly stellar burrito is a rare thing, but I’ll be damned if Barrio doesn’t get it right. Unnecessary plating aside, the flank steak variety hit it home nigh perfectly, with flavors both deep and subtle. A paradox? Not really. The habanero salsa is something one might expect to be gut-punching, but here it just adds to the flavor. That is particularly impressive, seeing I rarely find myself in support of the habanero pepper. Sure it adds heat, but flavor-wise it usually is… eh… Whatever was mixed into it at Barrio kept the heat balanced, while adding some niceties to the palate. As importantly, the steak was both well-spiced and tender.
On the side, the pickled onions (and there was a lot of them) were perfect companions. Nice and fresh, tangy, with just a bit of a kick… It’s what someone like you would want, someone who truly «gets» the tortilla.
And Barrio gets the tortilla. Take the time to find that door—it’s not just for decoration despite what one might think—and you’ll have yourself one good time.
1 One can’t help but wonder how a slim hipster can get in, mind you…
Vote for Barrio Mexican Kitchen & Bar: It’s your civic duty!