Happy Hour: Capitol Hill's Barrio
Happy Hour pick: Barrio, on Capitol Hill, has terrific happy-hour food — $2 gourmet tacos — but falls short on its cocktail menu.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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The problem with dressing up street food in a snazzy, sit-down setting is that no matter how you fancy up the meat or glorify the plates, you can't help but think that meal could have cost less from a vendor cart or taco bus.
Which brings us to Barrio restaurant and its gourmet tacos. Need we even say those tacos come at a steep price? But if you're looking for a happy medium between "gourmet" and "taco bus" prices, you'll find it at happy hour. That's when Barrio features $2 tacos, such as spiced duck confit; house-made chorizo and organic eggs; shredded chicken en adobo with toasted sesame seeds and queso cotija; and my favorite, the moist, smokey pork shoulder with raisins and almonds.
The made-to-order guacamole with grape-tomato salsa served with totopos is another highlight. And the guilty pleasure of hot churros dunked in thick, warm Xocolatl chocolate — essentially deep-fried dough and chocolate sauce. (I never said this was a low-calorie happy hour.)
Barrio's only mistake is featuring just a margarita for the happy-hour cocktail; it tastes fine but underutilizes the talents of bartenders Casey Robison and Keith Waldbauer. When you've hired two of the top mixologists in Seattle, do you really want them making margaritas all evening?
Barrio aims to be a destination for cocktails, not just a Mexican restaurant. But its happy-hour drink menu is not in tune with trendy cocktail dens', where artisanal cocktails get showcased. Instead of a margarita, try its Sangre de Agave, with Bermuda dark rum, tequila, cassis and lime juice; or the Corpse Reviver #2, with London Dry gin, cointreau, lemon, Lillet Blanc and absinthe.
Barrio, 1420 12th Ave., Capitol Hill, has happy hour 5-6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.-midnight Sundays-Thursdays. There's a late-night shift of midnight-2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays (food served till 1 a.m.). The gourmet tacos cost $2, with other happy-hour noshes $4-$5, Tecate drafts $2 and the margarita $5 (206-588-8105 or barriorestaurant.com).
Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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