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Saturday
Aug242013

Baro New World Cantina: Latin American Tapas in Fairfield

Craving some Latin American delicacies? Head over to 1229 Post Road in Fairfield and check out the brand-spankin'-new BARO' New WORLD CANTINA, the latest labor of love brought to you by the Reyes family (also owners of MEZON and 2 other restaurants in Danbury.) The wine list is mostly Spanish but the food selection - served mostly "tapas" style - comes from Brazil, Uraguay, Argentina, Mexico and the Dominican Republic where Juan and Richard Reyes and family were born. The decor is welcoming and stylish, complete with a glass-faced ceviche bar which looks onto the bustling and aroma filled kitchen. Dark wood tables and benches, some high tops and a large bar as well as birch branch wall decorations are inviting. But the food's the thing. We'll be back for a more intensive review but here are our first impressions:

Warm, Latin American popovers are on the table, flaky with just the right amount of puffed cheese inside to whet your whistle. The PESCADO ceviche, with fresh, tender halibut is mango-heavy and  quite sweet but the lime and habanera drizzled throughout adds the perfect amount of opposition.
The BERRO salad is a definite winner with plenty of peppery watercress, almonds, quinoa and luscious, young coconut slices. The POLLO (on the "anticuchos" or "skewers" list) is outstanding with jerk chicken and a pineapple salsa, accompanied by a scotch bonnet ketchup. Here, the chicken is utterly tender, succulent and very tandori-like, with the fruity chutney to keep it moist.
The CHICHARONNES, Domincan style pork cracklings, are hot and crispy, served with an excellent home made hot sauce. These cracklings have plenty of pork belly meat inside, adding to the richness of the dish. Not my "thang" but quite "excellent" according to my co-diners. Also spectacular are the TACOS, all wrapped in house-made corn tortillas. We sampled the DUCK CONFIT TACO with chacha de yuca and caramelized onions, topped with saffron aioli. 

BARO' is a very promising newcomer to the Fairfield scene. There are some tiny kinks to iron out and we are sure that they will be with a little more time. The GUACAMOLE VERANO with mango, peach, habanera and pomegranite is surprisingly bland (though the home-made yucca chips were superb!) The LECHON -spiced pork tenderloin with charred corn and hominy puree also lacks pizazz but the pork is cooked to pink perfection. The desserts are also a tad disappointing - the CHOCOLATE FLAN is too dense and the CHURROS seem to have a "whole-wheat" type of consistency and flavor.

But in general, BARO is a winner. The wait-staff is knowledgable and very attentive. The food is authentic and, for the most part, very tasty. Produce and meat are sourced, as much as possible, from many local growers and artisans including the Westport Farmers Market, Halbrook Farm in Bethel and Arethusa Farm in Litchfield, to name a few. There is a very interesting cocktail menu to sample as well as plenty of Spanish and Chilean wine and interesting choice of beers.

BARO' is a play on the word Barro which is Spanish for an earthenware vessel. Not too fancy but warm, cozy and relaxed, BARO' - like a "barro" - invites you in. Outside, on the restaurant's sign, it says "BARO' - SPIRITED. LATIN. FLAVOR." Indeed. We'll be back.
Baro New World Cantina 1229 Post Road, Fairfield 203-292-9560 

[Photography Courtesy of Elizabeth Dorney:  www.elizabethdorney.com/blog]

 

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Reader Comments (4)

Went there this past weekend. Very nice space and the food was mostly outstanding. The salads are wonderful, only quibble is that the dressing was rather ample. Tacos were very tasty, some of the best I've ever had. Service was a little confused, very normal for a brand new place, but the excellent attitude more than made up for it. Much better than the snooty and pretentious attitude of the other high end Mexican restaurant in town Great new addition to the Fairfield roster of restaurants.

August 26, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterzefir68

Cannot wait to try it!

August 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMarlene

Thanks for the recommendation; had not heard about this place and gave it a try last night. The first thing I noticed upon walking through the door was the smoky aroma….not, OMG something is on fire, but like OMG, I want my food cooked on that!! Since we always enjoy the open-kitchen concept we chose a pair of seats at the bar in front of the very serious-looking cook manning the charcoal grill. We ordered a few different things to sample as much as possible. First was the halibut ceviche which had a fantastic balance of citrus and heat. The NY strip skewer was cooked perfectly, but perhaps could have used a touch more of the sofrito butter. Both the res and maiz empanadas were very good on their own, but the additional flavor of their respective dipping sauces helped them stand out. The chicharonnes were very meaty….possibly too meaty though, as I prefer mine with a little more fat, and would have liked them to be crispier. The sopes asado was was a good balance of meat and corn. Our waitress encouraged us to try the tacos, and although I was trying to save room for dessert I opted for the version with brisket, slaw, scallions, chipotle mayo and queso blanco… and I’m glad because this is where Baro really shines. The tortillas are handmade (the waitress told us they even grind their own corn, using a grinder delivered from Mexico). As much as I have enjoyed numerous meals at Bodega, Bar Taco and Brasitas, I would say Baro is right on par, and even takes it up a notch with their tacos, and the roominess of the space. Actually in my opinion, this is to Latin food what Liana’s Trattoria is to Italian food. BTW- I did save room for dessert, a very respectable banana cheesecake…but wish I opted for another taco instead. Next time…

August 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike D

Went to Baro last night and was very disappointed. Food was just fair and the portions were teeny. Most of the dishes came out practically cold. The inside of the restaurant was not inviting and barely decorated. The moment the hostess brought us to the table I wanted to leave. We left after a few dishes and went to Molto for a better scene…

November 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMeryl212

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