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Barrio Queen in Scottsdale: Happy Hour Report Card

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The Spot: Barrio Queen 7114 E Stetson Dr Scottsdale BarrioQueen.com

See also: Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza's Barrio Queen to Open in Gilbert

The Hours: Happy hour is available Monday through Sunday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The Interior: 
The long and lean building is packed with the funk you expect from the Barrio brand. Luxurious fabrics, colorful lighting and great local art make the place eclectic, but at home in old town Scottsdale.

We arrived after work, just after 5 p.m., enough time to have happy hour while other early diners ate dinner.

The Food: There are four appetizers from the regular menu available at just $5 during happy hour: Elote vasito, green chile papas, carnitas chile verde and huitlacoche quesadillas. Chef's choice tacos are two for $3 during happy hour. Our server also brought chips and salsa at no additional charge. Plus, happy hour is available throughout the whole restaurant, not just the bar area.

The chef's choice tacos didn't fit our appetite, so we tried the huitlacoche quesadillas and carnitas chile verde. The quesadillas were small in portion, (there are three petite quesadillas) but big in flavor. Filled with mushrooms, shallots, garlic and Oaxaca cheese, they were a tad salty, but delicious and equally savory. We could have used a little more cheese, but the mushrooms really made the dish.

The carnitas chile verde could serve four people! Served with a mountain of tortilla chips, it's a bowl of slow cooked, orange rind and Coca Cola marinated pork, topped with green chile sauce, Oaxaca cheese, onions and cilantro. Delicious in words as well. The broth of everything mixed together was better in some bites than the actual pork. The dish was lovely as a whole, but the pork was a little fatty for some at the table. That aside, this dish is a bargain at $5. The fresh herbs and chips make it the perfect compliment to almost any beverage for happy hour. The carnitas chile verde shows off what Barrio Queen is all about and it still a unique crowd-pleasing dish.

The Drinks: If you like tequila, this is your happy hour. All tequila is half off. House wine is $5 a glass. Instead we opted for a $3 draft beer and a $3 house margarita. The margarita strong and fresh-tasting, as you would expect from Barrio. The beer was ice cold and our server got the drinks out fast, he also checked back to refill our drinks and waters as well. That said, we would love at least one more margarita option on the happy hour menu, for those who don't drink their tequila straight.

The Conclusion: 
For two margaritas (they were that good) and a beer, plus two appetizers our bill totaled just under $20 before tax- what a deal in old town. This happy hour is perfect if you have guests in town or just want to combine dinner and drinks at an early hour.

Grade: B+

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