Barrio offers thousands of tacos – and that’s no exaggeration.
Perhaps you’d like a hard corn tortilla with slow-cooked braised short rib, smoked cheddar, Barrio slaw, and cilantro pesto? Or maybe you’d like those same options on a “Bombshell” shell, which sandwiches queso and crumbled bacon between a hard corn shell and a soft flour tortilla. You could go vegetarian, starting with a Green Goddess shell, which swaps the bacon for guacamole, then get Thai chili tofu instead of short rib. We did the math and stopped counting at more than 3,000 different combinations.
Barrio offers five options for the shell alone – seven if you count the white rice bowl and the cauliflower rice bowl. And fifteen different protein options, from the aforementioned beef and tofu to thick-cut bacon and jalapeno lime shrimp. (We’d definitely recommend the bacon.)
And if all of those options make your head spin, El Jefe’s Selecciones offer up chef-approved combinations. To keep the server’s head from spinning, order pads sit on every table alongside a cup of pencils, so each customer can build their own dream taco efficiently.
The array of options extend to special diets – most of the menu is gluten-free, from the crispy sweet potatoes to the super-spicy Barrio Secret Sauce, and vegans and vegetarians will find a wealth of choices too – all carefully noted on the order pads.
Barrio makes mulling the options pleasant, with free house-made chips and salsa at every table, and a cocktail list that includes libations made with 100 percent agave tequila, of course, alongside a deep selection of whiskey drinks. In addition to classic margaritas and palomas, tiki vibes are seen in house inventions like the Sassy Pineapple, with pineapple-infused Avion Silver, house-made morita syrup, and fresh citrus juices, and the Coconut King with Bulleit Bourbon, cardamom simple syrup, cardamom bitters, and coconut water.
Barrio Salem replaced Kokeshi Asian Street Food, which moved around the corner, in a long narrow industrial space that is an excellent showcase for hand-painted black-and-white murals done by Cleveland, Ohio-based artist Michael “Mac” McNamara. It is the third outpost north of Boston opened by Barrio New England Owner Maggie Osborne, who also operates properties in Portsmouth and Haverhill.
41 Lafayette St., Salem, 978-594-8854, barrio-tacos.com/locations/salem