First Look: Barrio Cantina

By | Boston Magazine |

When Michael Schlow closed his Fenway eatery, Happy’s, after just eight months in business, no one expected him to reopen with a completely new concept in under four weeks. Restaurants, after all, take months (if not years) to develop. And yet Schlow’s Barrio Cantina appeared right on schedule in February, offering a long list of Tex-Mex standards—quesadillas, tacos, fruity margaritas, and one very large burrito—in a high-energy atmosphere. The Fenway area has seen its share of Mexican fare over the years (see: Ken Oringer’s La Verdad and the quick-service spot El Pelón, both just a few blocks over), and while Schlow definitely isn’t reinventing the wheel here, there are a few standouts on the menu: namely, the gooey carnitas quesadilla topped with a piquant corn salsa ($8), and—perhaps as a nod to the now-famous burger from his flagship, Radius—a juicy beef patty ($13) dressed up with jack cheese, avocado, bacon, and jalapeños.

1363 Boylston St., Boston, 857-753-4100, barrioboston.com.