Twin Cities Taco Tour - Barrio

in tacos •  8 months ago

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Barrio is a small Twin Cities restaurant chain that got its start a decade ago in 2008. They pride themselves on having a great selection of tequila and mezcal (over 100 varieties they claim) and good margaritas. Their Latin food, tacos included, is served individually on small plates fresh from the kitchen. They're not the kind of restaurant that tries to get all of the table's food out at one time, but rather as soon as it leaves the kitchen so everything can be as hot and freshly cooked as possible. Prices are moderately upscale but food quality and flavor tends to hit above its weight class. I've personally visited them a few times now and I figured it was time to dust off the Twin Cities Taco Tour and do a taco review!

The Place

I visited the location in Edina, which is a generally wealthy suburb of Minneapolis. It's located in Edina's precious part of town, 50th and France. It's an area that features some upscale restaurants, retail, grocery, and the kind of movie theater that plays foreign and arty movies. Some people say Edina stands for Every day I need attention, but Edinians don't like to confirm that!

The short street-side front of the building hides the large amount of table space within. This restaurant goes deep into its lot and it can seat many people. The table arrangement seems to have enough flexibility that it can accommodate larger groups, as long as you get a reservation. There's also a large bar area, with high top tables and window ledges to pack in some more seats. The space does make you feel a bit packed in as a customer when it's busy, unless you snag one of the limited booths.

The decor is understated but pretty cool, with some artistic nods to bullfighting. Overall it's kind of Hispanic Gothic with a black and red theme. The tequila and mezcal collection takes up the whole back wall of the bar.

The Tacos

Gringo Taco

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The Gringo taco is just like a classic American taco should be with a couple improvements. It has a good amount of very tender slow cooked ground beef with just enough grease to make it rich, but not too greasy. Spiced with chile de arbol, the beef has the classic taco meat flavor The meat comes topped with grated queso fresco that melts on to it a little. After that comes lettuce, diced white onions, and some very tasty ripe diced tomato. The vegetables get moistened by hot sauce, just the right amount of Valentina hot sauce, or something like it. The sauce's flavor goes very well with the meat's.

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The hard corn shell is fried in house and has a crisp flaky texture. It's more greasy than the fried yellow corn hardshells you find in a grocery store, but the grease is worth it for its richer flavor. It is more brittle than I expected it to be. It partially fell apart as I was eating it, spilling some taco ingredients out.

Overall its a good classic American style hard shell taco, done almost to perfection. But unless you really like this style of taco, or want to indulge in the nostalgia of it, I'd suggest skipping this one. Save room in your stomach for the more tasty items on the menu, such as...

Pork Carnitas Taco

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Mmm mmmm this one is good. The meat is pork shoulder slow cooked with orange and cinnamon, among other spices. It's then briefly pan fried in its own fat to reach a hard to beat combo of crispiness and tenderness without a hint of chewiness. This is a basic street style taco with flavor that's anything but basic!

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It comes on doubled up corn tortillas, briefly thrown on a skillet. . The tortillas are fresh, probably bought from a local tortilleria. They are pretty good but don't stand out. On top of the meat is probably the best tomatillo-based salsa verde I've ever had. It's sweet, it's salty, the flavors balance so well. There's not too much and not too little of it. Barrio gets the details of these things right. On top of the salsa comes white onions and a sprig of cilantro, the classic taco synergistic adornments.

Wood Grilled Steak Taco

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This. This is the taco you must get. If you order one taco here, you must get this one. Nevermind that it costs $5.50 for just one. Get it. This is far and away the best asada taco I've had ever. It might be the best asada taco possible with a tortilla upgrade.

Flank steak is flavored with subtle amounts of cumin, garlic, and red chili. It gets cooked medium-rare to medium on a wood burning grill. It's then cut up and presented as taco meat in what may be the best street taco I'll ever have. See the pink in there! It turns out juicy, tender, and full of savory flavor. It's so right, the tiny bits of burnt steak in every other asada taco I've eaten seem wrong.

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The meat gets topped with a modest amount of Mexican sour cream, the liquidy flowing kind. Even better, it gets a nice portion of roasted pablano and onion strips. Steak, peppers, and onions are a classic combination that work so damn well together! A sprig of cilantro and some julienned radish complete the package. I'm normally not a fan of eating the bland variety of radishes in my tacos, but in this case the julienne cut made them a good addition of texture and moisture.

Conclusion


Although they're not the only food that Barrio offers, the tacos on the menu are very good here. Even the Gringo, something I don't recommend ordering, is quality. The carnitas taco is an experience, and can be had a bit cheaper at happy hour (3-6pm, M-F) for $3.50. Its normal price is $5, which isn't such a great value for one taco, even though it's tasty. The grilled steak taco is understandably not on the happy hour menu, but it's worth getting any time you may find yourself at Barrio in my opinion. It's a fantastic taco even at $5.50 each. I'd really like to see how a Barrio al pastor taco would come out. Probably amazingly, but it's not on the menu!

4 ½ tasty cows out of 5

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By the way, I didn't review it here but I highly recommend trying their habanero chicken tamal if you visit. It's unbelievably delicious and rich. It's on the happy hour menu too.


For more Twin Cities Taco Tour posts, assuming tags ever get fixed:

#tctacotour - #pfunkblog

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Hey P! Looks like I checked in on your blog at the right time. Where's that little butchered piggy hanging in the window? Right we're not actually in Mexico! lol But these look real authentic, like very high quality along with the authenticity. Hope to see more great posts like this one more often! From Santiago Chile! -Dan "World Travel Pro!"

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No raw meat hanging around at this place, too fancy :P I don't know if I'd call them authentic but it doesn't matter because they're really delicious. Thanks Dan!

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now you make me feel hungry of tacos.. should travel to mexico? XD

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You make me curious, can you find any good Mexican style tacos in Barcelona?

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if there are idk where XD

Very good to know. It's been awhile since I've gotten up to the cities, and it's time to try something new up there. Is it a busy place? And is it more geared for "gringos?"

Did you ask if they could do an al pastor? Sometimes, the best things available aren't on the menu :-)

Very nice review, and thanks for another reason to visit the Cities!

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I didn't ask but you're right, I should. Just in case. The restaurant is definitely targeted at gringos. It's not a typical Mexican hole in the wall. It's been fairly busy when I've been there before on a Friday night, but I was still able to get a 2 person table immediately. If I had 3 people with me it sounded like a half hour wait. Reservations recommended for the weekend!

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Definitely good to know, though I'm usually flying solo. Great food photos, by the way. Everything looks delicious!

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Thanks!

Wow! One day I hope I'll make it out to the twin cities so I can swing by this place. You have a way with words when it comes to describing tacos.

I feel the same as you about the radish btw. It's a good look and it works, but its kinda funny as an actual flavor in the taco. Maybe spicier radishes could do some better work

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Thanks Matt! I have yet to get a real spicy radish served to me with tacos and I'm also curious if it makes it better.

Done, lol. I'll report back with my review :P

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Another mission accomplished!

Powerful @pfunk!
When all this snow we just received finally melts, I'll get over there to try the Wood Grilled Steak Taco.
4.5 cows can't be denied!
😉

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They certainly can't. Especially that last half a cow.

@pfunk. Great post and I will be having tacos for lunch today. Just goes to show that LA is not the only place with great tacos. Thanks man.

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I'm glad I was able to inspire a good meal :)

Wow! Now I'm starved and I just ate lunch:) Does anyone know of an authentic place like this in NJ/NY? I'm assuming it's not a chain and it's probably better off if it doesn't become one. Looks delicious!!!

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Now I'm starved and I just ate lunch:)

Mission accomplished! My stomach was gurgling hard while writing it and preparing the images. I need to go back soon.

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Looks like I can be there in time for dinner tomorrow. Leaving now!!! Do they take the Discover Card?

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Haha you might want to call ahead and ask ;)

I need that wood-grilled steak taco inside me.

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Haha, everybody does. Except the vegetarians I guess, poor bastards.

Hi, @pfunk!

The food is very appetizing and I would like to taste it too. I'm hungry now. :D
I also want to try habanero chicken tamal. Cheers

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Thank you @allesia! If you ever find yourself around this part of the world, you should!

I was wishing and hoping where I can get some tacos for myself too @pfunk
Your taco dinner is long gone to the sewer and into the cycle of life again but I still had none. @pfunk

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lol yes, long gone. I wish you luck finding your own (fresh, unrecycled) tacos :)

We're definitely going to have to give Barrio another shot. It sounds delicious!

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Don't forget the habanero chicken tamal. It's like a stick of butter formed partially from corn masa with some delicious stuff inside.

All the meals look delicious. I wish i get the chance to taste any of them especially the Gringo Taco because i do like beef alot. The whole write up about it got me salivating...

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Excellent, thanks for reading!

I like your rating strategy. Very funny! Out of the tacos listed the pork one is my favorite.

Damn this look so good, making me crave for tacos now!

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Writing the review made me crave more, for breakfast :P

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Tacos ANY time of day!

Minneapolis! 🙌 Lived there for five years! Never got far outside about a five mile radius, as I only biked everywhere and didn't even own a car there.

Salsa verde is my FAVORITE! And I have to be really honest. I am ALL about the American Mexican food.

Mexican restaurants are my FAVORITE, and they are much different here in Asheville. Having a salsa bar is a really big thing here. They'll have like ten salsas you can choose from, and they're free, and you can eat as much as you want. My favorite Mexican restaurant here is Papa's and Beer. It's so incredibly cheap I don't even know how they afford it. But their food is so damn good, too. You know, just that normal American Mexican food. Unfortnately, I don't eat fake ingredients anymore, and I am quite sure they must use those!

It looks nice, but not very satisfying. Their cooks should come to visit me, I will teach them to cook tasty and satisfying))

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I might just pass that along next time I'm there ;)

This post would have been an winner entry to Steem Food Tours
Now I want to eat some Tacos
cheers @phunk

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Thanks!

like it! :)

Love Barrio!!

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I'm definitely falling for them

Hello @pfunk

I guess what stand Barrio out is their decision to concentrate on few dishes. This enabled them to be very good in preparing them to customer's satisfaction.

A perfect demonstration of the saying practice makes perfect, which far better than being jack of all trades but master of none.

The dishes here are quite attractive to the eyes. Looking at them alone makes me salivating right now.

Good read. Thanks for sharing.

@eurogee of @euronation community

Thanks for being such a useful witness, I've included you in this post and I hope that you will do much more for steemit. ☺

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Much thanks, @clixmoney

a very great post ... I really like your picture, you are great ... thanks for sharing ... you are very extraordinary @pfunk 😎

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Thanks!

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I really hope your support @pfunk

Quiero un "Wood Grilled Steak Taco"
=P

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Me too, again :)

@pfunk, the place is very luxurious, your post reminded my memory a month ago, while tasting the typical cuisine of Aceh.😚

oh it is pork, as a Muslim I do not consume pork, even we are forbidden to touch it.

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More for me :D

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Yeah, beliefs that I must obey.

One of those places on earth I haven't visited yet but after this reading, i want that even more ;)

Oh shit, the reviews are back!

Damn ! asada tacos are the best , I once tried them at the northern part of Mexico , Hermosillo , in the Sonora department , as it is quite a common dish.. and damn it was good! I'm a big fan of mexican food , as I am also a fan of spice ( which I had to cut out due to some mean gastritis ... but every now and then I have my ''guilty pleasure'' ) hahaha.

On another note, I'd live to give you a huge thanks for the support you've been giving me with the ''cover a steemian'' initiative , I've been noting your generous upvotes on my updates and also supporting the participants , I really appreciate it ! thank you so much :) , I hope I can keep it moving and growing ! Cheers!

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Congratulation

Today 2 years ago you joined SteemIt
Thank you, for making SteemIt great and Steem on for more years to come!

(You are being celebrated here)

I Thank you warmly @pfunk 🙏

i voted for you and you should also voe and follow me.

Saw your bit of support. Just wanted to say thank you - a nice surprise this morning on an older post.

Praise the heavens for Barrio! Very comprehensive write up ♡

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Praise the hog heavens indeed!

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omg this looks sooo yummy... making me hungry just looking at this lol

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Go get or make some tacos! ;)

Love tacos Loves food.

Comment removed

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I got curious and looked up the original comment.

https://steemd.com/tx/3baee72cc0b089d81303b4d8e6500e7597c4f1a0

Congratulations @pfunk!
You raised your level and are now a Minnow!

Yay!

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Yep, some non-finalized code was put in prod too early :/
Kind of scary comment that doesn't deserve to stay published...

Excellent...and I am a huge fan of GOOD Mex. cuisine..Thank you for upvoting my market post recently. I hope you found it of value as we have been quite accurate on the market trends...Yankee-statman.

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You have a very fluid way of describing the wonderful places you visit, the tacos are great .. good post. I congratulate you.
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We have a restaurant in Siem Reap called Barrio... Only its a French restaurant... Nothing to do with tacos, I wish they had tacos!🌮🌮🌮

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Haha well maybe they can do some tacos using crepes as shells? :P

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