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Restaurant Review: Barroluco

Miriam Bowers Abbott Miriam Bowers Abbott Restaurant Review: Barroluco
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With a solid run in the food truck business under its belt, Barroluco has followed up with a more permanent operation in El Arepazo’s old digs in on Pearl Street. Like the thoroughfare on which it resides, the space is long and narrow. The front porch entrance is a welcoming beacon, as guests climb the steps to a landing spot before entering the restaurant proper. The south-of-the-border influence is still strong at the address, but these days, you’ll find a menu that’s representing fare from a little deeper south: Barroluco touts “Argentine Comfort Food.”

For enthusiastic eaters, the sampler is a no-brainer way to test drive a variety of offerings without much mental effort. The sampler is also good value, as it delivers piles of both food and entertainment for $12. We’re talking paella, ribs, an empanada, and fries.

The sampler’s ribs are better than expected, honestly, especially for a place that doesn’t stake its claim as an official rib joint. They’re petite and plenty tender, with a nice, savory, roasted flavor.

Moving on to the empanada, the edge seam of the pocket is charmingly imprinted with Barrolocu’s name. Inside the pastry, there’s a familiar homey mix of ground beef, seasoned just enough to keep things interesting. 

As for the paella, it’s a downscale version, yellow rice that’s dotted with corn and peppers is teamed with a pile of chorizo mixed with teeny chicken chunks on the side. It’s pleasant enough, but it won’t hit the spot for those who might expect paella to be something a little fancier and more grandiose with a traditional garden of proteins for noshing. In fairness, that fantasy version would not be part of a $12 item on the menu, it would take a bigger investment to deliver classic paella. As for the fries, they want more salt.

You can use the sampler to shop around, but any item on the sampler is also available as a solo choice. The Empanadas are worth further exploration in an Empanada Combo ($12). The aforementioned beef was a good start; the tender pastry pockets work well with a homey chicken filling too.

The menu extends into a sandwich selection as well. The house Barroluco ($13) sandwich is built on slices of white bread with the crusts cut off. Welp, there’s the fancy food. Inside the bread is … a great deal of mayo. There’s probably enough mayo to perhaps disqualify it from fanciness, but it still qualifies as a sandwich worth exploring. It’s filled with ham, a grilled slab of (surprisingly tender) beef, tomatoes, cheese and egg. It’s practically more than the crustless bread can contain. The heavy-hitter also feels like it might be some sort of legendary cure for a hangover.

The Choripan ($10) is built on a more substantial bun and loaded down with sausage (that’d be chorizo) with a little lettuce and some winsome, zesty chimichurri. While equally heavy as the Barroluco sandwich, this one stays together better, and is easier to enjoy.

Displayed at the counter, you’ll find Alfajores ($3). They offer the final sandwich: a sandwich cookie. A huge, palm-sized cookie. (As opposed to normally demure Oreo-sized versions). They are also cookies that hold the World’s Best Caramel: dulce de leche. As a vehicle for caramel, it wrecks you for any mass-produced candy confection, forever. You’ll find it all in the alley at 47 N. Pearl St.

For more information, visit their website.

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