12 October 2011

Lunch at Cocina del Barrio, Edina

After two disappointing dinners at Barrio’s Edina outpost, I wasn’t sure if we’d ever try it again. But as my wife and I discussed where to have lunch after a morning appointment, she recalled an ad for $10 lunch there. We both must have been in the right mood, because we decided to give it a try. I’m glad we did.

I don’t want to belabor my previous complaints. We went to Cocina del Barrio in February, and I gave it a mediocre review on Krik’s Picks. (Click here to read it.) I was quite surprised to receive a follow-up comment from ‘Mike’ at Barrio asking to give them a second chance. We did a few weeks later, and honestly, the experience was no better. It certainly wasn’t the food. We loved the food. But we felt that the service in particular was inattentive and not particularly friendly.

Our lunch experience was totally different. To be sure, it wasn’t particularly busy. But besides our server, two other staff members dropped by our table to make sure we were comfortable and that we liked out food. Very nice.

The food was good. The $10 special starts with an individual serving of fresh guacamole garnished with paper thin slices of radish and jalapeno. The house made chips were crisp but not greasy and not too salty. It came with a salsa verde and a red salsa. Both were good. I like my salsa hot, but I just made sure that I had a slice of jalapeno on the chip. My wife, who isn’t so fond of spicy salsa, liked them both. The other part of the lunch special is two of their daily special tacos. Today it was pulled chicken. They were great.

I should also say a word about ambiance. Unlike the noisy, crowded scene during our two dinner experiences, our lunch was quiet, comfortable, and relaxed. They were playing the most creative music mix, everything from Buena Vista Social Club to Johnny Cash to Led Zepplin. Cool.

I definitely would come back for lunch. And our experience was nice enough that I may come back again for dinner someday.