I’m practically craving tacos every other week which means I’m constantly venturing off in and out of the city in hopes to find amazing Mexican restaurants. Slightly backlogged but – I visited Barrio Coreano a month or two ago on a dreary rainy day with a friend. This Mexican eatery is one of the many Playa Cabana family of restaurants located in Koreantown.
This location is quite the bustling spot amongst the plethora of Korean restaurants (hence the influence of Korean twists in their offerings). We arrived for an early dinner on a Sunday evening. (They accept reservations but we didn’t exactly need one for our early dinner time). The restaurant is quite rustic and hipster – following the expected themes from any of the Playa Cabana restaurants. I’ve visited a few of the restaurants from this family but found Barrio Coreano perhaps with the least comfortable seating situation. We sat closer to the entrance for maximum lighting (& probably for the most spacious seating) but we still felt very crammed. The seats at the front are high tops so it didn’t help the tables and stools were very wobbly.
Guacamole & Chips ($9.00)
- Avocado, Serrano Chiles, Lime
Grilled Kalbi Beef Ribs ($14.00)
- Korean Short Ribs, Arbol-Tomatillo Salsa, Cucumber-Radish Kimchi
There are 2 sections for Tacos on the menu – different offerngs for hard shell versus soft shell. You can also opt for lettuce shell as well. Tacos come in 1s or 3s so I’ve listed prices for both below.
Bulgogi Shrimp El Diablo ($8.00 / $21.00)
- Shirmp in red sesame salsa macha
Baja Fish ($5.00 / $13.00)
- Fried or Grilled Guac, Kimchi Joven (un-aged)
Braised Short Rib ($5.00 / $13.00)
- Braised Beef in Ancho-Guajillo, Mole Rojo
Quick disclaimer – I have a lower than average tolerance for spicy foods. I thought majority of the items (including the gauc and chips) had quite the kick. My friend who has a good amount of tolerance loved it. I was inhaling water after every bite but couldn’t resist and managed to clean the plates. First and foremost, the grilled kalbi short ribs are highly recommended (or at least by me). The way the short ribs were marinated (Korean style) + the creamy sauce paired so well together. As for tacos, I prefer hard shells over soft shells any day. I opted for the shrimp & braised short ribs on hard shell. The braised short ribs were okay – nothing to write home about. On the other hand, I loved the shrimp taco. It had a nice sweet, tangy & spicy sauce that was so addictive. Plus the fact that this was offered on a crispy shell, I was so tempted to order another.
I really enjoyed most selections at Barrio Coreano. This eatery definitely has quite the hipster vibe offering Korean influence tacos. Its worth the visit if you’re in Koreantown but looking for something a little less traditional.