I just returned from our usual week in Tucson for the TGMS Show. While we didn't get out as many places as usual, I want to add a big loud recommendation for Barrio -- which we thought was as good as Terra Cotta used to be.
This place is just around the corner from Poca Cosa (also one of my favorites and as good as ever). It's a slightly upscale Southwestern place, with a decent wine list (although smaller than Terra Cotta) and quite a range of food... small plates, very creative salads, entrees and pastas, with a few specials each day. They also have a very good bar. My only reservation is that portions are huge, so many of the entrees, salads and pastas might be appropriate for sharing.
We have eaten at Barrio every year due to its convenience... but last week they surpassed themselves, and we ended up there 3 times with different parties. One night I had a small plate of jerk seasoned grilled shrimp on a bed of shredded arugula with a wonderful salsa of tangerine and jicama with cilantro. The sweetness of the salsa was a great counterpoint to the spicy shrimp. A second small plate was a roasted pasilla (I think) pepper stuffed with black beans and goat cheese with a very tasty cream sauce.
The second trip, I had a very generous house salad (enough for 2 so shared) with sun dried tomato and pumpkin seeds lightly tossed with a creamy dressing. I went for the venison entree, which was 2 large medaillions rubbed with chili and grilled to order. This was accompanied by some very good julienned squash, carrots and snow peas, and seasoned mash potatos (not sure what they were mixed with but it was good!).
The third trip, I went for the blackened grilled cabrillo with a cilantro butter which was the special and excellent, and split a good, but not particularly memorable spinach salad.
While the place does a very good business, it doesn't seem to be well known by out of towners. We keep introducing people to the place as being convenient to the convention center. But this trip I can very heartily recommend it for the food as well.
By the way... thanks to any of the locals who have posted here re Feast. It was well worth the trip -- especially for wine lovers. Bargain prices on a great list, and very nice and inexpensive food.
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