Behind the Menu | Barra Tacos boasts salsas made in-house, slow-roasted meats
Tacos might be popular but not all are created equal.
Barra Tacos & Cocktails in Upper Arlington is doing things a little different than the average American taqueria.
“What we do is dig into the flavor profiles of the ingredients and see how they harmonize in the dishes,” said Perry Bellamy, director of operations for the Sandusky-based company, which has a third location in Amherst.
“The philosophy behind Barra is we want to be a modern Mexican dining experience.”
All sauces and salsas are made in-house, and many of the meats are slow-roasted for maximum flavor, he said.
“It’s very close to being a scratch kitchen,” he said.
Another thing that differentiates Barra from its competitors: All tacos are pre-assembled, there’s no build-your-own option here.
“These are not your typical street-style tacos,” general manager Nick Gennari said. “These are hearty.”
The Philly steak taco ($6.50) is an ode to the popular steak sandwich by using sliced rib-eye, peppers, onions, pepperoncini and melted queso on a buttered flour tortilla. Corn tortillas are available on request.
The lump lobster roll ($6.50) is garnished with romaine, bacon and red pepper aioli, also on a buttered tortilla.
“it’s actually one of our top-selling tacos since we opened our location here in Upper Arlington,” Gennari said.
Ocean perch ($6), breaded in Cajun seasonings, is topped with the milky coleslaw counterbalanced by lime aioli.
Mexican corn chowder ($6 a cup, $8 a bowl) is loaded with corn, potatoes, jalapeno, onion, cilantro, bacon and served with house-made corn chips. It is advised to get jalapeno cornbread on top for $1, Bellamy said.
The chorizo chili ($6 for a cup, $8 a bowl) offers thoroughly seasoned ground pork, beans, adobo spices, onions, shredded cheese and infusion of Mexican lager for a hoppy kick. It also is served with house-made corn chips.
“This is more of a chunky, authentic homemade kind of a chili,” Bellamy said.
Among the most recommended starts is the lobster guacamole ($11), which has bacon, corn, jalapeno and lime, and served with house-made corn chips.
“People might be hesitant to try at first,” Gennari said. “It’s what I push people to try because it is a unique experience.”
At a glance
Where: Barra Tacos & Cocktails
Location: 3051 Northwest Blvd., Upper Arlington
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays
Contact: 614-929-5125, www.barra-sandusky.com