Restaurant Features: Bar, Happy Hour, Nightclub,
Locations: St Paul and Minneapolis, MN
Addresses & Maps:
St Paul- 235 E 6th Street St Paul, MN 55101 651-222-3250
Minneapolis- 925 Nicollett Mall Mpls, MN 55403 612-333-9953
Hours: Mon-Thur 11am-1am Fri 11am-2am Sat & Sun 4pm-2am
Links: Barrio Website
Atmosphere: The St Paul location is in lowertown, on E 6th St and Wacouta, next door to The Bulldog and across the street from Mears Park. The space is big and open, with wooden floors and festively decorated walls and bistro tables throughout. On the eastern wall there are also a couple of large, semi-circle booths that can seat up to six people. The western wall has a very long bar running the length, holding at least 125 varieties of tequila in addition to the popular liquor brands they carry.
Menu: Tacos and Enchiladas include Pork Carnitas with Serrano Chile Salsa, Red Chile Enchilada with Chorizo and Fried Egg, Fried Mahi Mahi Taco with Citrus Cucumber Pico de Gallo, Grilled Skirt Steak with Roasted Poblanos, Potato-Chorizo Taco, Chicken Enchilada with Salsa Verde and Crema, and Spiced Shrimp Taco with Tomato-Mint Salsa.
Small Plates include Barbeque Pork Sopes, Diver Scallop Ceviche, Black Bean & Chicken Tostada, Fresh Corn Chowder, Jicama & Citrus Salad, Crab Empanadas with Salsa Verde and Avocado, Potato Sopes with Goat Cheese and Red Chile, Tequila-Cured Salmon with papaya and Avocado, Mushroom Quesadilla, Sugarcane Skewered Tequila Shrimp, Queso Fundito with Tortillas, Spicy Crab Soup, and Guacamole.
Price guide: Tacos $3.50-4 Small Plates $7.50
Happy Hour: 2-6pm Mon-Sat 10-Midnight Sun-Thurs
What we ordered: We started with a couple of the Happy Hour appetizers, including the Queso Fundito. The hot, melted Mexican cheese was baked with green chiles and then served in the hot cast iron skillet with a side of warm flour tortillas. Delicious but cools quickly and the cheese starts to harden again so eat it while its hot! Especially yummy with salsa or even guacamole.
We also ordered the Chips and Dips, which came with a large bowl of hot, thick crunchy corn tortilla chips, three different salsas and fresh guacamole. Each salsa had a unique flavor and ranged in spiciness from mild to hot. I loved the habanero one especially but the salsa verde was especially yummy too.
I also had a Barrio Margarita. Tart and strong, just the way I like my margs. Have I mentioned how much I like margaritas? They are my all-time favorite drink.
When I saw that they had fish tacos, I knew I had to try them even though they were deep-fried. Oh so glad I did, they were wonderful! The crunchy batter actually made it easier to eat the fish because it didn’t flake apart like fillets often do. There were two mahi-mahi fillets in the order for $3.50 and I was able to make two tacos with the extra tortilla. What a deal! I loved the fresh pico and jalapenos that topped the tacos, and also the crunch from the cabbage.
I also ordered the Carnitas (to-go for lunch the next day). The pork was moist and flavorful, shredded yet tender. They were served on white corn tortillas and topped with the traditional cilantro and onions, and salsa verde. Try ‘em, you’ll like ‘em!
One of my companions ordered the Jicama Salad, which was a basic salad with thin strips of Jicama. Have you had Jicama? It is kind of like a potato, starchy and very mildly flavored. This salad was not a big hit. At least not the jicama!
Another companion ordered the Tequila Shrimp Skewers. There were 3-4 large shrimp impaled by the sugarcane skewer, topped with asparagus. I did not try these but it looked great!
Another companion ordered the Chicken Enchilada, topped with salsa verde, fresh Mexican queso, and raw onion.
Service: I met with a group of friends during Happy Hour, arriving before the crowd when I could still find an open meter on the street. After 4:30 meters are free. There were still many tables to choose from and we picked one near the door. Our server gave us Happy Hour menus and told us that dinner doesn’t start until 5. Our drinks arrived pretty quickly and we ordered a couple of appetizers. We had to ask for dinner menus so that we could order once dinner officially started. Later as our meals were coming out, they brought each item out separately, spaced apart in time. We thought that was strange, not sure why they couldn’t wait and bring them all out at once? Our group was there for several hours and we didn’t see our server very frequently. We were not ordering many drinks so the server stepped back and let us have our social time (I will assume that is what she was doing, rather than just ignoring us).
Overall Impression: The atmosphere was great and so was the food. The food menu is somewhat limited but they have over 125 different tequilas!! The service could be better but like I said, I think our server was just letting my companions and I enjoy our social time. I’ll definitely be back.
What did you think of this review?