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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Cocina Del Barrio

Corn chowder 
Salsa and guacamole trio 

Fried calamari tacos

Cocina Del Barrio in Edina is the latest expansion off of the Barrio chain of restaurants which began in 2008 with their Downtown Minneapolis location. Barrio was founded by Ryan Burnet and Tim Rooney, well known in the Twin Cities restaurant industry. Barrio downtown was themed after a true tequila bar, serving small plates of Mexican street food- elevated and fresh. I have been to all of the three current restaurants, the third location being downtown St. Paul. Yesterday I tried a sampling of dishes at the 50th and France hub with my mom (*NO tequila!). The environment in all three locations is similar. The 
atmosphere is dark, sexy and channels a new-age Spanish gothic theme. At night, candelabras are lit, lights from the bar sparkle and the deep woods feel warm and luxurious making it the perfect spot for a hot date! 
My mom and I shared their corn chowder, calamari tacos and a salsa and guacamole trio. I have tried their corn chowder before at the downtown location and fell in love. I knew I couldn't resist trying it again. The chowder is unlike any I have had for a few reasons. One being the spice factor, roasted poblano peppers create the perfect amount of heat which is balanced out by the cream in the sauce. Secondly, the chowder is thick and creamy without being gummy. From what I gather, the innards of the soup consist of cotija cheese, sharp cheddar, poblano, fresh corn kernels, cream, vegetable broth and cilantro infused olive oil. I love that the soup is kept simple which allows for the sweet corn to really shine. Although quite filling, the soup is incredibly satisfying and delicious- a must try. The guacamole and salsas were tasty but predictable, nothing out of the ordinary. The tacos were tasty, had a nice crunch without hiding the calamari taste and were topped with a lovely mild salsa verde. I would recommend Barrio for a night out, and highly recommend trying their corn chowder and well as a few fun tacos but don't forget the tequila, they have over hundreds to choose from!

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