Barrio Queen: Local Mexican concept lands at Desert Ridge Marketplace with tasty food and festive ambiance
Local Mexican concept lands at Desert Ridge Marketplace with tasty food and festive ambiance.
North Valley residents can finally get their Barrio Queen fix without having to drive to Old Town Scottsdale or Gilbert. Barrio Queen’s third Valley restaurant recently opened at Desert Ridge Marketplace at Loop 101 and Tatum Boulevard, much to the delight of the restaurant’s devout fans.
The festive atmosphere of The Queen is complemented with Mission-style architecture outfitted with artwork from Arizonan and Mexican artists. The three outdoor patios and a nice wraparound bar that divides the indoor/outdoor areas lends a friendly, open vibe.
We were given a big basket of warm, crisp tortilla chips when we sat down, along with a large cup of homemade salsa. You can also order tableside-prepared guacamole for a separate fee. They have a large drink menu, including creative cocktails, as well as a traditional selection of beverages.
The first item we ordered was the roasted elote ($6). For this dish, the chef takes an ear of corn, removing all the corn silk and most of the stalk, to prepare it for cooking. The corn is rubbed with butter and mayonnaise and then roasted. Once it’s cooked to perfection, Cotija cheese and a sprinkle of chile powder are added. Served with a little bit of tomato salsa and a sharp knife, it’s pure deliciousness. I like to shave the kernels of corn off the cob and then eat it with a fork, but there’s no shame in picking it up and munching straight off the cobb. The flavors of all the ingredients mix perfectly and complement the fresh corn.
Next up, we tried the Queen ($12, an additional $6 for an added protein). We added carne asada to these enchiladas for some meatiness. This dish features a mixture of Oaxaca, Cotija, and goat cheese mixed with sautéed spinach, shallots, and garlic. The mixture is then stuffed inside the tortilla and covered in a cream sauce. It’s finished off with a sprinkle of Cotija cheese and a dollop of crema fresca. The mixture is so delightful that even though the dish comes with three good size enchiladas, you’ll wish there was more. However, this dish is very filling. The plate is also adorned with black beans and a small zucchini, squash, and onion side salad called calabacitas. All the ingredients taste perfect together and I can definitely see ordering this dish again.
We also ordered three street tacos ($4, or $11 for three). We decided it was best to order the trio taco option in order to get a good variety. We asked for most of the toppings to be served on the side in order to be able to taste the protein as-is, as well as with the chef’s toppings. The first taco was the suadero azteca. This is slow cooked beef brisket that is then diced up and put into the tortilla. It’s topped with diced red onion and cilantro. The brisket had a nice non-smoke flavor and was tender to the bite. The second selection was the carnitas taco. This corn tortilla was topped with pulled pork that’s marinated in cola and orange rind before being slow cooked and then shredded. It’s topped with the red onion and cilantro. The cola flavor is subtle but does allow for some sweetness to sink into the pork. Third in the trio was the carne asada taco. The steak is marinated in fresh orange and garlic prior to being cooked on the grill. It’s then topped with onion and cilantro and a perfectly cooked over easy fried egg. The egg yolk kicks this taco up a notch and makes it extra delicious. The tacos are easy to hold in your hand and while three doesn’t sound like a lot when talking about smaller sized tortillas, there’s plenty of filling inside Barrio Queen’s tacos.
The entire staff is very accommodating with requests and was extremely friendly during our visit. The food is paced well out of the kitchen, which is a nice relief when ordering several dishes. I recommend getting a table outside under the big shade tree, so that you can enjoy some great food and the mild winter weather.
21001 N. Tatum Blvd., Phoenix
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