Where: Barrio Urbano
When: Breakfast served 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily
Dish: Huevos Divorciados
Price: $12 (including tax and tip)
The Setting: Barrio Urbano, located at The Yard in Phoenix, is bright and festive with vibrant colors popping against wood furniture and concrete floors. A bright fuscia-colored bar sits on one side of the restaurant, colorful paintings on the other. Tables are close together, but not cramped, and diners also have the option of sitting at a counter that overlooks the kitchen or one that overlooks the patio and The Yard. The natural light from the giant glass garage doors gave a peaceful vibe to the space.
The Food: The menu at Barrio Urbano offers many of the items you'd expect to find at a Mexican restaurant — familiar dishes like Huevos Rancheros and Chilaquiles. Diners can also order off the lunch menu starting at 7 a.m., which includes the Torta de Cochinita Pibil — a Mayan-style achiote and sour orange pork sandwich topped with pickled onions, pico de gallo, and avocado slices in a bolillo roll ($12) — and the Arizona Burrito — a pork chile verde burrito topped with salsa verde and queso gratinado and cilantro ($11). On our server's recommendation, we chose the Huevos Divorciados, two fried eggs served atop salsa de chile de arbol and salsa verde with black beans topped with cotija cheese, breakfast papas (potatoes), and a slice of bolillo toast ($9).
The Good: The meal itself was absolutely fantastic and came out quickly. The plate of food was visually stunning, with each of our "divorced" eggs nestled on one type of sauce and the black beans and papas in a line down the center. The colors of the salsa de chile de arbol and salsa verde popped against the white eggs and black beans, and the flavors did, too. The salsa verde was vibrant and had the strong mouth-puckering sourness of fresh tomatillos. The salsa de chile de arbol was smoky with a bit of spice, hot enough to make our nose run without blocking the flavor of the rest of the meal. In both sauces, the flavors were complex and layered.
The black beans were tender yet firm and perfectly salted, and the cotija cheese offered a hint of sweetness to balance out the beans and savory salsas. The plating of the food was genius, as the beans offset the intense flavors of the salsas until they were nearly gone. At the end, we got a mix of the two salsas and it was as if we got a third sauce. The breakfast papas didn't have much seasoning on them, but they were real and fresh with the skin still on. On their own, they would have been bland, but as an accompaniment to this intensely flavored dish, they were fantastic to mop up the remaining salsa and egg with. When our plate was cleaned, we were plenty full but not stuffed, and for $9 (pre tax and tip), we thought this satisfying dish was a steal.
The hospitality at Barrio Urbano was among the best we've ever received. Our server was warm and inviting from the minute we walked in. She chatted casually with us throughout the meal and after she burned her hand on a cup of hot chocolate, she offered us home remedies for treating burns (slather it with yellow mustard) and a cough (sleep with onions in your socks) — she made us feel less like we were at a restaurant and more like we were at her home.
Finally, we love the hours of this breakfast, lunch, and dinner spot. It's open earlier than many other breakfast and brunch restaurants in central Phoenix, and diners can eat off the breakfast and lunch menu all day long.
The Bad: There really wasn't much we didn't enjoy about our experience at Barrio Urbano. Our only criticism is of the bolillo toast. It tasted almost stale and while it was crunchier on one side than the other, there weren't any toasted bits. We tried to use it to mop up the remaining sauce on our plate, but despite how delicious the sauce was, the toast wasn't worth it.
All In All: We'll definitely be back for breakfast at this bright central Phoenix spot.