Despite its unassuming exterior connected to a gas station, Mi Barrio (5023 Wake Forest Rd) has some decent eats.
We started with some free chips and salsa (one red, one green, both good), and an extremely refreshing michelada (beer with lime, tomato juice, and a lovely salted rim — $4.50). It’s much better than it sounds. Unless you think it sounds really good, I guess.
The highlight of the meal was also the unhealthiest: Camarones Mi Barrio (shrimp wrapped in bacon and covered in monterey jack cheese over a bed of sautéed onions and peppers — $11.95). This tasted exactly like it sounds, and it was delicious, if unsurprising. It’s pretty hard to go wrong with anything wrapped in bacon, and the sauteed vegetables were also done well. Also, you might be able to see a bit of the steam that was coming off this dish. There is just something about food that comes out sizzling.
Our second favorite dish was the Chamorro de Puerco ($9.95), a marinated pork shank with a side of Guadalajara sauce. The meat had great flavor, but the Guadalajara sauce got a thumbs down from GNR. Luckily it was on the side, and the sauce the meat was cooked in was great on its own.
We also had the Chile Verde ($9.95), pork loin braised in a green sauce of fresh tomatillos, green peppers, onions, and spices. The sauce was not bad but not the most flavorful green sauce on the table–that went to the spicy green salsa that came with chips. The pork was also a bit fattier than we would have liked.
The refried beans and rice that came with our meals were well-made–not thrilling, but a bit better than your average sides. We were originally brought flour tortillas, but they were happy to oblige when we asked for corn tortillas instead. They were not homemade though.
For dessert, we had a simple but pretty delicious banana wrapped in a fried flour tortilla, topped with chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and cinnamon. The cinnamon really brought it all together.
If I lived remotely near this place I would go back often if just for the green salsa and the micheladas and the cheerful decor. But the menu was also huge and had a lot of good-looking dishes on it–definitely worth checking out, even if it may not be the absolute best Mexican in town.