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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Dinner at El Barzon

So we had dinner at El Barzon the other night, and my lingering thought is this place is Detroit's best-kept secret.

El Barzon, on Junction, just south of Michigan Ave., is owned by Norberto and Silvia Garita. Norberto spent eight years at Il Posto in Southfield, perfecting pastas and other Italian specialties. Silvia focuses on the traditional recipes of their native Puebla, Mexico. The couple has been in the States for 30 years, much of that time working at restaurants in New York.

The secret to El Barzon is everything is made from scratch, and the Garitas' source many ingredients locally. The simple, unassuming atmosphere is casual and comforting. Come as you are, feel free to bring the family, and relax.

On our menu:

-Housemade tortilla chips with spicy, fire-roasted red and creamy, cilantro infused green salsa. Best chips and salsa in town. Pair with a Mexican beer.

-Perfectly cooked crisp calamari with zucchini strips and tomato sauce. The zucchini strips are a thoughtful touch, and the sauce is spiked with herbs, olive oil and a touch of garlic. So flavorful.

-Veal chop stuffed with prosciutto and cheese, topped with a truffle sauce; potato gratin and sauteed spinach. A decadent, gorgeous dish. Truly memorable.

-Squid ink linguine with shrimp, crab and red sauce. Sweet and savory all at once.

The veal and linguine were specials, but the regular menu is vast and tempting. The portions are generous -- we ate half of everything and brought the rest home -- and the prices modest. For more on El Barzon, see Nicole Ray's piece in the fall issue of edibleWOW (the story's not online, sorry).

If you haven't been to El Barzon yet, I encourage you to go. Soon. Let's not keep this secret to ourselves any longer.


  1. So glad you had a chance to eat there — it really is outstanding. And thanks for the edible WOW shout out!

  2. My mouth is still watering over the stuffed veal!

  3. Sounds sooo good. Have been wanting to try and now WILL!