Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Pearl Diving in NE Ohio: A Trip to Barroco Grill in Lakewood

Johann Sebastian Bach was one of the most influential composers in the Baroque period. He played an integral part in the use of counterpoint in music of the era, which means that he made two or more different melodies/themes/rhythms work together. I mention this because the Baroque period took its name from the Portuguese word "barroco" which means "misshapen pearl". We set out on Saturday to find out if Lakewood's new Barroco Grill is a precious pearl that will accompany many of Cleveland's other precious culinary gems!

Barroco Grill specializes in arepas. An arepa is a bread made of corn originating from the northeast of Venezuela. Arepas are a staple of Colombian street food, the pillowy pockets of bread often being stuffed with veggies, cheese and/or meat. Barroco stuffs theirs with steak, chicken, pork, chorizo or ham, with veggies such as mushrooms, onions and peppers and cheese. They also offer fries (both potato and those made of arepas) as well as hamburgers and sandwiches not made with an arepa for the bread.

My husband got a chorizo arepa ($6), stuffed with mozzarella cheese, onions and the compulsory chorizo. I loved the texture of the arepa, and the chorizo had a bit of spice to it. I got a Hawaiian sandwich ($8), with ham, pineapple, lettuce, tomato and mozzarella cheese. Our server did not know the type of bread with the sandwich, or even where it came from but it was amazing. The sandwich was nearly twice the size of the arepa - so it could easily be shared between two people. The sandwich was sweet tasting, and had both fresh pineapple and a pineapple sauce. I would have loved a little heat to this sandwich, and will ask for chorizo instead of ham if I have that particular sandwich again. Both sandwiches had good flavor, and make me excited to try some of the other ones they offer (They have a Cubano that sounded like it would be very good).

The arepa fries looked just like regular fries, to the point that I wondered at first if we'd been given the wrong item. They were crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, but didn't have much flavor to them by themselves. The five sauces Barroco offers came in handy, for this reason! The sauces were explained as being chimichurri, garlic, pineapple, ranchero, and spicy peanut. The pineapple, chimichurri and garlic were the stars, to me. The ranchero almost tasted like plain ketchup, and the spicy peanut had absolutely nothing to do with peanuts. We both tasted the "spicy peanut" and remarked that it simply tasted like buffalo (hot wing) sauce.

My wish would be to see a Colombian-style beverage on the menu (salpicón de frutas, perhaps?) someday, but their standard offerings of soda (non and diet) are just fine.

The restaurant was packed, which means that word is getting out! The small space really does feel like you've been whisked away to another place. There are 8-9 tables as well as three stools for counter service. There is local art all over the walls that is for sale, its styles seemed appropriate for the space.

Overall, I'd say that Barroco Grill is pretty good, amazing if you take into account that they opened fairly recently and may be going through some occasional mis-steps. I'll definitely be back - I want to try the cheesy corn, which Metromix says is amazing!

Have you been to Barroco yet? Tell me about your experience. If you haven't been there yet, you should definitely go. There's something for everyone!


Kristin said...

Hi Cara!

I love the design on your blog! Is that something you designed yourself? It was quite the coincidence coming across your blog because I actually just returned from a trip to Cleveland where my father and I ate at Barroco Grill. I really enjoyed it! How long ago did you move to Cleveland? I am the social media coordinator at Midwest Living magazine and we are having a Facebook contest called, “My Best Midwest Getaway Contest,” which invites people to share stories of their favorite vacations anywhere in the Midwest, or one their dreaming of, for a chance to win $2,000 in prizes. If this is something you’re interested in you can enter one of two ways: http://www.bestmidwestgetaway.com or on our Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/MTITravelIdeas.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions at kristin.bienert@meredith.com.

Hayley Mason
Social Media Coordinator
Midwest Living magazine
Meredith Corporation