Service and Atmosphere
Walking into Barrio, I was immediately intrigued by the interesting decor–very much Dia de Muertos themed, and in a very good way. It’s also very relaxing, with a small, cozy bar in the front of the restaurant, nice lighting, and eclectic decorations strewn about.
We were immediately greeted as we walked into the packed restaurant and the friendly hostess took our name and suggested that we grab a drink at the bar while we waited for our table. We ended up snagging a couple of empty seats at the bar and we hung out there until our table was ready. Once we seated, our server was friendly and attentive, and helpful with all of the menu choices. Overall, the service at Barrio was great–I couldn’t find a complaint if I tried.
When you see a sign that boasts “taco + tequila + whiskey” you better believe they’re going to make a darn good margarita. Barrio’s featured drink is their casa made margarita, blended or on the rocks, for $6 a glass or $24 for a pitcher. They also offer a variety of specialty margaritas with some tasty mix-ins.
If you’re a whiskey drinker, you should be perfectly satisfied with the many options provided at Barrio, with plenty of varieties of standard, premium, super premium, and ultra premium choices. Prices range from $5 for most standard options all the way up to $20 for Macallan 18 Year Single Malt from the ultra premium list.
But if you’re a beer drinker like me, all you’ll care about is the beer list–no need to worry though, you won’t be forced to drink Corona all night long. Barrio carries plenty of good draft beer choices, including Bear Republic Racer, Kentucky Bourbon Ale, Stone IPA, and Lagunitas IPA, as well as a fairly extensive list of bottles. The beer prices are about average, a Stone IPA set me back just $5.50, with most options ranging from $5 to about $7. Bonus? You’ll be slurping your beer from a wide mouth jar.
Right after we were seated, our server delivered some complimentary chips and salsa, and we were left to ponder the build-your-own-tacos menu. The DIY taco building process is a bit like taking a test: fill in your bubble sheet with your selection of a tortilla, protein, salsas, sauces, toppings, and cheeses.
Entrusting me with the responsibility of building my own food was probably a terrible idea, but I didn’t care. I went all out, loading my two tacos up with a mess of stuff–I was like a kid in a candy store grabbing one of everything. Here’s what I ended up with:
Taco #1 was built on a hard corn tortilla with tofu, lettuce, red cabbage, cilantro/onions, tomatoes, corn salsa, salsa roja and a side of ghost pepper salsa. Taco #1 was a success! The tofu was delicious–it was cooked well and the texture was perfect. All of the toppings were fresh, and the salsas were all good. The salsa roja came with a “mucho caliente” warning, and it certainly had a kick to it. The ghost pepper salsa, on the other hand, wasn’t nearly as hot as I was anticipating, though it did leave a lingering after-burn.
Taco #2 was built on a green goddess tortilla with black beans, lettuce, red cabbage, cilantro/onions, tomatoes, salsa roja, Barrio secret sauce, and house made queso fresco. Taco #2 was also a success! The green goddess shell was a delicious combination of a hard shell inside a soft shell with lots of tasty queso and guacamole sandwiched between the two layers. All of the toppings on this taco were fresh as well, and the combination of the salsa roja plus the Barrio secret sauce had my mouth on fire–in a good way.
The build-your-own tacos are just $3 each, plus a $1 upcharge for certain menu items (like the green goddess tortilla). My meal totaled a mere $7, and I was pretty darn full from all of the freebie chips and salsa plus two large tacos.
If you’re in the mood for some cheap and delicious tacos, your best bet is to check out Barrio in Tremont. Enjoy the atmosphere, stuff yourself with complimentary chips and salsa, and wash it all down with a nice, cold house made margarita!
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