Barrio gets the benefit of the doubt from me on many fronts. One being that they opened up shop in what is not a thriving part of downtown, on the previously fairly desolate stretch of High Street between Nationwide and Broad (the Elevator Brewery is of course there but stood quite alone). The other reasons it gets the benefit of the doubt is that its a tapas restaurant, or at least a fusion of Latin / South American and Spanish tapas. That said and also saying I would happily go back I think without a special (2 for 1 tapas on Tuesdays for example) it might be a bit overpriced for what it is. On one such 2 for 1 Tapas where the lower priced tapas are free (so really you kind of give away your discount if you do as we did and add some of the nice 5 dollar ones, like olives etc, but I like olives – these olives actually weren’t anything too special I thought, but still good). We did have a nice array of things, the bacon wrapped dates w/ cabrales was very good, the crab and almond empanada was good not great and sources tell me that it was much better in the past (I don’t know if they regularly change the items, but many of the items had been scaled back since they first opened). The steak with cabrales and mashed sweet potatoes was good, again not phenomenal, the ‘caramelized’ provolone w/ grilled bread was quite disappointing, I am not sure what I was thinking ordering it, but maybe I wanted the bread since they didn’t have any with the meal, but when only two tiny pieces of bread were put w/ tortilla chips for that dish I figured maybe they were running out and were rationing it? I’ll never know as I didn’t ask them about bread. Either way bread would have been good w/ our meat and cheese of serrano ham and manchego w/ some almonds, fig and chickpeas which were very good (I know hard to screw up but still good). One last thing was the sangria that I remembered being nice in the pasted, but tasted watery and lacked a bit in flavor. So while that probably sounds like quite a disappointing review (I guess it is, but I really like the idea of the place) I will still be going back on discount nights as with the windows open wide (they have great windows that completely open), the fact it was a closed Wendy’s before they gutted it (you’d never guess) and put in some real nice features including those great wall sized windows, a great wooden bar and a really spectacular full tree table (shaped like the tree, with nice grain etc.). it still will get me. Barcelona definitely is still doing better food I think, having just had their tapas menu (I am thrilled Barcelona has become more Spanish over the years) which was quite good. Oh well, hopefully Barrio can improve and the area will grow with it.
Posted on June 7, 2010 by ed