Fairfield restaurant Baró comforts and delights

Photo by Loan Le
Photo by Loan Le

After entering Baró, an establishment tucked away on the Brickwalk Promenade, a colorful streetscape mural welcomes hungry eaters. It pays homage to the melting of Latin, Spanish, and Caribbean cultures evident in the food that is served at the nearly 3-month-old restaurant. The Saturday crowd appears plentiful but not overwhelming during lunch hour.

An eight-person communal table is ensconced behind a large gray-brown wooden wall. Dangling from the ceiling are lamps contained in cork glass bottles. The walls and floors are painted forest chic – earth colors like brown, faded yellow and muddled white, enough to comfort guests as they chat about mundane details of their lives.

The restaurant separates itself into three sections. The right side features smaller tables for more intimate gatherings. This also includes seats near the kitchen, with a window allowing customers to see the inner workings of Baró’s kitchen, enjoying the business that is usually behind doors and separated from the dining crowd. Baró then offers two tables for larger crowds. In Latin American cultures, any mealtime equates many smaller dishes for many people. The remaining portion of Baró can easily transform into a gathering place for lovers of wine and cocktails. During lunch hour, the sun’s rays bounce off multicolored bottles of alcohol. Such drinks offered include Flower of Nicaragua, a concoction of  Flor de Caña silver rum, sage, yellow chartreuse, soda and more, and soothsayer, bourbon, honey ginger syrup, pomegranate and lemon. This side also boasts long gray tables and stools fit for gatherings of smaller groups.

As mentioned before, the menu mostly focuses on smaller dishes, so that guests can order many to share.

The tartare is either raw meat or tuna that is finely chopped, tossed with a bit of lime and various vegetables. Baró’s tartare, or tartar, has grass-fed beef – which is usually lower in calories and has healthier fats than grain-fed beef – mixed with chili pepper flakes, served on top of gem lettuce, and tostada.  The presentation appears simple and minimalistic, nothing artificial, with natural colors standing out by themselves.   The dish has nothing visually wrong with it, though the same cannot be said for its conceptualization. Tostada typically refers to a deep-fried item, usually an element with crunch, but having the other components on top caused it to become soggy.

Pato borracho, from the taco section, the restaurant’s rising star, consists of duck confit – typically made from the duck’s leg – caramelized onions, saffron aioli and yuca. The aforementioned items sit atop one house-made tortilla, made from corn masa. Masa is used to also make arepas and tamales. Though a flavorful mix sure to delight the palate, the dish lacks more textures.

Baró also offers cubanitos, one of many picaderas, or appetizers, on menu. It is a smaller version of a sandwich dish on the menu. Layered between crunchy, in-house pressed bread are thin slices of roasted pork, ham, melted swiss, pickle and mustard, which tasted more like a spiced mayonnaise. Instead of regular pickles, Baró utilizes what seems to be the pickle’s skin. Without the mustard, this sandwich would be considerably dry.

This Latin-American style cantina elevates the palate but remains down-to-earth with its décor.

Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday to Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 5 to 9 p.m.

Price: Student-friendly

Website: http://www.baroct.com

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