Restaurant Review: El Barrio Serves Authentic and Creative Mexican Food Print

By Karen Talbot

Sep. 23, 2020: El Barrio means “Neighborhood,” and that is exactly how to describe this new Mexican restaurant, situated on a hill in Scarsdale, not far from the Bronx River Parkway.

El Barrio states on its website that it encompasses “Mexican Street Food.” Yes, it does, and this food is totally authentic and so creative with lots of Gluten-Free choices.

Sal Cucullo, the owner and chef, has a real winner here with Alejandro, his Manager, who he has known for twenty years. Sal also has owned 808 Bistro in Scarsdale for the past ten years.

The inside of El Barrio is designed like a Mexican Cantina with colorfully painted walls and lots of sombrero ceiling hat lamps. Lively Mexican music plays, and there are many TV screens scattered around the room that is complete with a bar.

The restaurant adheres to “Social distancing,” and the tables are spaced six feet apart, against a backdrop of red leather banquettes. There is outdoor seating, and the tables go slightly downhill, but that makes for its casual and fun atmosphere.

We started our Mexican culinary experience with a weekend special, under Small Plates, of creamy burrata in a flavorful mole sauce, served with crispy tortilla chips.

We followed this with “Street Corn off the Cob” with chipotle aioli, cilantro & cotija cheese. The sweet and salty flavor was unique, and like nothing I have ever tasted before. Next came a Wood-Fired Open-Faced Quesadilla (looks like a small pizza) topped with Asadero cheese, jalapeno & crema. We agreed that this was the very best item of the dinner.

We finished up with three soft corn Tacos: Carne Asada with pickled radish, onion, and cilantro; General Tso’s Cauliflower and scallion and Traditional Pastor with pork and pineapple salsa, all at $5.00 apiece. We decided that we had to try the El Barrio Burger, consisting of fig jam & Oaxacan cheese, wrapped in their signature flour tortilla, served with what else, great tasting French fries.

For Dessert, we opted for both a Rainbow Tri-Color cookie Empanada and a Nutella cheesecake Empanada. With dinner, you can enjoy a $12.00 Margarita with fresh squeezed lime juice or a glass of white or red wine for only $10.00. There are ten beers to choose from, along with many choices of Tequila & Mezcal. Anthony, our server, could not have been more attentive and accommodating.

I can’t wait to go back and try so many other dishes and three different offerings of Guacamole, traditional, chorizo, and lobster.

Photo courtesy El Barrio