Since I just mentioned it in another thread, I thought I’d give Barrio Costero some love via its own thread. They refer to themselves as ‘coastal’ Mexican, and the decor (and bathrooms–don’t miss those!) definitely reflect that. This is one of those AP restaurants that isn’t always on my radar, and then I go and wonder why–maybe because it’s a tad too creative for some of my friends? Who knows?
What I can tell you is that this place has a serious tequila and mezcal list, a very good cocktail program, and some of the most interesting plates in the area. Their ceviche and fish tacos are spot on, and I’ve loved their octopus preparation each time. And I honestly don’t know that you’ll find prettier presentations anywhere in Monmouth County. Maybe it’s the black plates that make everything pop, but dish after dish will arrive and you’ll ooh and ahh just from the colors.
If there’s one complaint I hear over and over again, it’s about their ‘small plates’ concept. As in, the first time I went, I was with two guys who appreciate good food. Between the three of us, we shared 6-7 plates AND WE REALLY LIKED WHAT WE ATE. But I don’t think the door had closed behind us when one of them said “Okay, so where are we going to order the pizza from?” I heard where he was coming from, as it felt a little like we had shared a few apps but never got to dinner. And yet, we also weren’t feeling stuffed, and that’s really not a bad thing, imo.
While I haven’t taken enough advantage of it, they’ve been doing great happy hour specials and (iirc) Tuesdays are $10 for a margarita and 2 tacos, which is a damn good deal. Don’t know if that’s a seasonal thing, but I’d say don’t wait to give it a try!