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The Best Of Both Worlds
It can be a struggle to choose a dining destination, especially when traveling in a large group. But at El Barzón in Southwest Detroit, diners can indulge in both Mexican and Italian cuisine, easily pleasing a multitude of palates.
El Barzón is run by chef and restaurateur Norberto Garita, who has been in the food business for years. His love of fresh ingredients and his extensive experience as a multifaceted chef have led to great success, especially here in Detroit.
With the opening of El Barzón, Garita is able to share his love for Italian cooking while also inviting diners to indulge in authentic cuisine from his home country.
Upon entering the vast dining space, I immediately noticed the finely dressed waitstaff along with white tablecloths and roses delicately placed in the center of each table. Holiday lights adorn the ceiling, along with touches of Mexican decor accenting the walls.
This is indeed fine dining, yet with reasonable prices and hefty portions. Minutes after being seated, I was dipping into some of the finest salsa verde and red tomato salsa I’ve ever devoured. The tomato variation had a definitive kick, which was balanced out perfectly by the warm and salty tortilla chips.
The cocktails were spot on, with the cilantro and cucumber margarita and the peach sangria the top favorites of the evening.
Along with numerous rounds of chips and salsa, the chiles rellenos stuffed with cheese was my favorite starter. The cheese is creamy and mild, and the red sauce is well-balanced with both sweet and spicy notes.
For those craving Italian-style soup, ordering the zuppita di scampi e spinaci may result in scraping the bottom of the bowl in search of every last bite. The broth is bursting with flavor from the ripe tomatoes, hints of garlic and plump shrimp, and the homemade croutons add a nice crunch.
Sharing and sampling dishes from both countries is recommended, especially the famous oven-baked goat barbacoa. The goat was fall-off-the-bone-tender and served with a generous portion of flour tortillas and rice and beans.
On the Italian side of the menu, the pastas are handmade with care and served with a bounty of fresh ingredients.
One of the lighter pasta variations, the spaghetti scampi Barzón, is a true winner. This flavorful dish features plump shrimp, fresh tomato, basil, garlic, fresh mozzarella cheese and arugula.
It is no surprise that El Barzón is a hit in Southwest Detroit, attracting food-loving crowds year-round.
Reservations accepted via phone or OpenTable
3710 Junction St., Detroit