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Restaurants

Barrio Coreano

Posted by Liora Ipsum / Profiled on November 29, 2013 / review policy

barrio coreanoBarrio Coreano is the fourth and latest addition to the Playa Cabana family of restaurants. As the name suggests, this new 75-seat concept is a mix of Mexican and Korean influences that nods towards its new digs on Bloor in Koreatown.

barrio coreanoKeeping with their signature style, owner Dave Sidhu employs an intentionally distressed aesthetic. Exposed brick, miss-matched tile flooring, salvaged neon lighting, bowling alley floors repurposed into wood table tops, rough-hewn metal seating sourced from an Indian cricket stadium. It's an obliging space for casual dinners and raucous nights drinking.

barrio coreanoThe menu, similar to its sibling restaurants specializes in small plates and sharable snacks. The fusion of flavours is not a first for Toronto, though it's one I'd especially like to see more of. Banh Mi Boys, Jang Bang (R.I.P) and even Grand Electric (who've credited their squid tacos with inspiration from Guu) have all appropriated Asian flavours into this popular street food format.

Here, my first taste is of Grilled Octopus ($5) topped with pickled daikon and pico de gallo over a wasabi-slathered tortilla. Meanwhile, there's also Korean beef, yuzu tuna, chipotle kampungki chicken and spicy carnita varieties sold for $5 an order.

barrio coreanoK-Mex Slaw ($12) doesn't sound altogether appetizing and yet somehow, even with the improbable inclusion of cubed cheese... it works. It's a fresh and crunchy mix of rice wine-dressed corn, black beans, jalapeno slivers, crunchy tortilla sticks, pico de gallo, scallions, shredded cabbage, carrots, radish, daikon and cheese.

barrio coreanoUp next, Grilled Calamari ($14) served over a vibrant kimchi'd cucumber and diced pear, specked with charred arbol chili pepper.

barrio coreanoThe bar slings cocktails like Soju Sangria ($8), Kimchi Sours ($9) and Goji Negronis ($9), the last of which is a blend of Tromba tequila, Campari and goji berry vermouth. The beer list ($6-$7) is abbreviated featuring half a dozen Mexican brands like DosXX, Tecate, Sol and Negra Modelo.

barrio coreanoBarrio Coreano is open Tuesday through Sunday from 5pm. When packed, they'll send waiting diners to the newly opened Raika Bar around the corner.

barrio coreanoPhotos my Jesse Milns

Discussion

12 Comments

johnydoe / November 29, 2013 at 12:43 pm
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Where is the 'korean' influence?
Kimchi in alcohol? Raddish in a salad?

Stop trying to copy Roy Choi/David Chang and stick to making food you guys are good at....At least take some key Korean food staples and try to put your spin on it...not take one ingredient and overkill it.

First time hipsters would travel to the bloor line.... Not enough bike locks for the fixed cycles!...

Please dont mistake the hobos as hipsters wearing organic hemp clothing!
brawk replying to a comment from johnydoe / November 29, 2013 at 01:50 pm
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So have you eaten there? No? Nothing to say about the food, atmosphere, or drinks?

Yeah, I thought so. Idiot.
johnydoe replying to a comment from brawk / November 29, 2013 at 02:54 pm
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Yes I have eaten there! How else would I compare it with the others! Idiot? lol.....

The food I commented on as with the drinks...Compare the menu with their original location and see...Idiot still?

Atmosphere? If they advertised it as another outpost of Playa Cabana, I would understand. However, do not claim it to be a Korean-Mexican mix cuisine when it isnt. I advise fans of Cabana to do go and try as I do like the Dupont location. They were better off advertising it as a new outpost, rather than a brand new fusion. Just being honest..
brawk replying to a comment from johnydoe / November 29, 2013 at 05:12 pm
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Thanks for clarifying. Thought you were just railing against hipsters (not that there's anything wrong with that).Sorry for calling you an idiot, I haven't had a proper shit all week.
Sam / November 29, 2013 at 07:22 pm
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I hope they have a nice washroom
Ji Suk replying to a comment from johnydoe / November 30, 2013 at 04:48 am
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You're right! They're missing the garlic and sesame oil in our drinks!
SanePerson / November 30, 2013 at 09:51 am
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A lot of negative folks on BlogTO. Looking forward to checking this place out for myself.
Best of luck!
Jamie replying to a comment from johnydoe / December 2, 2013 at 01:12 pm
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Wow, getting angry with "hipsters" eh? Bet you're a blast to hang out with.
KB / December 5, 2013 at 03:03 pm
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Tried to dine here on Tuesday but was greeted with a closed sign. False advertisement.
Philippe replying to a comment from johnydoe / December 11, 2013 at 02:30 pm
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Solja boy tell'em! Yuzuh and Washabi are Japanese, not Coreano. Pass da sesame oil someone, where da soondae (blood sausage)???
Philippe / December 11, 2013 at 02:46 pm
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On the other hand, this place could be REALLY great with a little more research.
Grilled fish STILL ON BONE!!!
Kimchi juice spirits, I'm not even ready for dat, make do with that yoghroot children's drink or the classic rice ferment drink (shykhae)!!! (the last korean restaurant to serve this as free dessert got bought out by the TIm HOrtons at Christie)
so many pickled and soaked banchans to be exploited!!!
GOCHUJANG my homies, shit lasts forever the smartest move a chef can make in terms of food cost, no spoilage!!!
dried roasted chewy squid, Y'ALL KNOW WHAT IM SAYINNNN???
just do friggin traditional SSAM and call it a gluten free taco, I TWERKS
Orange County Bail Bondsman / December 23, 2013 at 07:02 pm
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