Behold, my latest obsession: El Barzon restaurant of Detroit!
Of course this restaurant that serves both Italian and Mexican dishes would pique my interest. How could I go wrong by visiting a place that embraces two of my favorite cuisines – cuisines both centered around the bewitching culinary trifecta of Spice, Sauce, and Cheese? I was immediately enamored with the concept.
I was immediately enamored with El Barzon’s ambiance as well when, on a Tuesday night two weeks ago, I pulled up to the restaurant on Junction Street in Southwest Detroit, this bright beacon with its neat red-brick exterior and abundance of vibrant flowers crammed in window boxes and perched atop the patio wall. I was even more enthused when I saw that the restaurant had its own parking lot to the rear of it (as I’ve previously mentioned on this blog ad nauseam, free lot parking in Detroit is LIFE to me, Ms. Parallel-Parking Phobic).
My friend who accompanied me to El Barzon and I entered the restaurant through the rear entrance into its semi-open-air covered patio. I was thrilled to sit on that patio with its gurgling waterfall, bar back-lit with pink and purple lighting, and tables bedecked with vases of fresh red roses.
Upon being greeted and led to a table, a basket of tortilla chips with two different kinds of salsas was placed before us – illustrating that at least in the complimentary-appetizer sense, El Barzon was promoting Mexican cuisine over Italian. Fine by me – I’m not one to refuse endless chips and salsa!
The menu was a treasure trove of delectable choices. Between both the Italian and Mexican choices, my brain was about to explode in a frenzy of indecision: should I order veal? or enchiladas? or lasagna? Italian or Mexican – Mexican or Italian???
In the end, I went with my gut instinct, and that instinct said to go with Mexican: specifically the steak-filled Enchiladas de Mole Poblano. Enchiladas have never been one to lead me astray.
Upon ordering the enchiladas, our server insisted that I sample the Mole Poblano first to ensure I liked it. Though I’d not tasted the traditional Mexican sauce prior to my visit to El Barzon, I assured him I was confident I would, as I knew it incorporated chocolate, dried chili peppers, and spices such as cinnamon – all ingredients I adored. But he persisted in advising I try the sauce first, and being one who gives high regard to servers’ opinions (I was in their shoes once myself, after all), I assented.
Sampling that Mole Poblano sauce confirmed what I’d suspected: it was rich, flavorful, totally-up-my-alley deliciousness! I could also grasp how it might not suit everyone’s preferences, especially those who are not into richly spiced items or incorporating chocolate into savory dishes.
And the enchiladas themselves! They were wonderful with their tender steak and doused in that decadent mole sauce and topped with sour cream, shredded cheese, and sliced avocado. It’s safe to say that I am steadfastly a Enchiladas de Mole Poblano enthusiast after the experience of consuming El Barzon’s.
While I’d waited for those delectable enchiladas, I’d sipped on one of the restaurant’s signature margaritas, the Jamaica, which was perfect with what the menu refers to as “hibiscus-infused tequila” and a “homemade citrus agave blend” along with triple sec and a salted rim. I’d opted to again defer to the Mexican side of the menu with this drink choice – though I did also peruse El Barzon’s extensive and impressive wine menu.
The magical ambiance and supreme food and drink were enough to label El Barzon a winner in my book; the top-notch service qualified it as a veritable champion. The gentleman who waited on us offered the epitome of prompt, pleasant, professional service, as did the other staff members who we interacted with. Their graceful action added to the elegance of the place.
The restaurant was also wonderfully clean. The ladies’ restroom at the time of my visit was so sparkling that I found myself musing “You could eat off of this restroom floor!” – an assessment wholly atypical of my usual assertion around public restrooms, which in general threaten to trigger my childhood germ phobia more often than not.
As I’ve illustrated here, I cannot rave enough about this place, the beautiful El Barzon! I could keep waxing on about it indefinitely, so let me wrap it up by simply asserting this: it’s a definite gem of the Detroit restaurant scene, and you should definitely visit it if you at all feel compelled to.
3710 Junction St.
Detroit, MI 48210