Sunday, March 29, 2020
Barrio75 Pairs Elevated Tacos and Tequila
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Chef Daniel Asher likes to get creative with his tacos.
 
Sunday, February 16, 2020
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

Chances are you’ve never experienced a Reuben taco before. Or a fried chicken one or a fried portabello taco.

You’ll find all these and more, including Lamb Asado Gyro taco, PBLT or pork belly lettuce and tomato tacos and even a Chorizo cheeseburger taco at Barrio75. There’s even a Maine in the Mountains taco, which boasts—of course--lobster.

Barrio75 opened this week in the Hotel Ketchum complex where the Moose Girls restaurant used to be. And it pairs tacos and tequila, using fresh chips made in house and fresh tortillas made from scratch with heirloom white olotillo corn grown in the mountains of Oaxaca.

 
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This table setting boasts three PBLT, or pork belly, lettuce and tomato tacos, along with Chef Asher’s specialty salsas.
 

“the menu is fun and creative with fun margaritas, including a passionfruit margarita and a spicy habanero margarita,” said Josh Dinar, who brought the restaurant to fruition. “We have more than 40 tequillas. We even have tequila tasting plates--three tastes of tequila paired with three tacos.”

The restaurant was named Barrio to denote a festive neighborhood. The numbers 75 were thrown in the mix to represent Highway 75, which runs through Ketchum.

“It’s about bringing people and community together. And nothing does that better than tacos and tequila,” said Dinar.

The restaurant which sits across from Backwoods Mountain Sports, features porthole windows offering views of Baldy. In summer there will be a live music on the patio.

 
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Barrio75 Taco Lounge and Tequila Bar includes a side room that can seat 50 for a private party.
 

The restaurant itself exudes a casual-elegant or rustic-modern air with big ropes looping from the ceiling, railroad ties brought in from North Colorado and white tiles representative of what you might see in a Mexican plaza. A Mexican artist was brought in to paint a Dia de Muertos-inspired mural bursting with birds and flowers.

 “I love it,” said Maria Gerhardt. “It’s trendy and has got a lot of energy. It’s great to see a lot of young people and their families eating there, as well.”

Dinar and his co-horts opened several restaurants in Boulder and Denver before this, including one featuring a modern food court, an Israeli restaurant called Ash’kara, a restaurant offering elevated comfort food in a miner’s house and, of course, taco restaurants.

 “I’d been through Ketchum with my family and loved the town,” said Dinar, who was invited to open a restaurant here by the owners of Hotel Ketchum. “We thought we could put together a beautiful small place that offers a sense of identity, a sense of place.”

The culinary creative who has put his own spin on everything is Chef Daniel Asher. He’s that man who channels French Onion Barbacoa into tacos, along salads like The Barrio Chopped Salad, and Avocado Caprese Salad. And, might we add, Lamb Asada Tater Tots?!

“I love tacos. They’ve always been one of my favorite foods,” Asher said. “I want to do it right and obsess over it. I use tortillas as my canvas for culinary creations.”

It’s not difficult to see where he got the penchant for novelty tacos. Born in Montreal, Asher grew up near Chicago before moving to the historic mountain mining town of Jamestown, Colo., 12 years ago.

“My French-Canadian mother was an incredible cook. And my father’s influence was Eastern European—dishes from Romania, for instance. But he also lived in Argentina and Peru and traveled around Mexico so I grew up speaking Spanish in the home,” Asher said. “And we ate everything from spanakopita to home baked bread and tongue, as well as Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Spanish food. I started cooking win restaurants professionally when I was 14.”

Even Asher’s salsas are an adventure in eating, ranging from the traditional tomatillo roja salsa to an oil-based salsa macha and a smoked chipotle salsa that will clear stuffed sinuses in an instant.

“It’s all fun ski town food,” said Dinar. “Crunchy chicharron pork rinds with a choice of cheese dust or sea salt and vinegar, for instance. And it’s a place where locals can come that is not cost prohibitive. You can have a full gourmet meal and a beer for $20.

Barrio75 is open from at 4 p.m. through the remainder of this winter and slack season. Come June the restaurant plans to open for lunch and weekend brunches featuring breakfast tacos with eggs and more.

Traditional tacos, including Cactus and Cotija and Carnitas, are available for $2.50 from 4 to 6 p.m. Specialty Tacos start at $3.

 

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