Since opening in 2007, El Barzon in southwest Detroit has been wildly popular. It is frequently packed with people who have come from down the block, as well as diners who have traveled from the farthest reaches of the metro area. And after one bite of El Barzon's exquisite mole poblano, or perhaps one of their house-made pastas, you'll understand why — you've found the rare place that lives up to its great reputation, and then some.
Norberto Garita worked at Italian restaurants in New York City and then at the much-loved Il Posto in Southfield before opening El Barzon with his wife, Silvia. They took the best of the cuisine of their native Puebla, and the most delicious and refined Italian dishes from Norberto's professional training, and created a menu like no other.
The Mexican side of the menu features dishes such as a mole poblano made with, among other things, bananas, chocolate and chiles. The dish takes days to make, Garita says, but every second of effort is worth it — the sauce explodes with complex flavor.
On the Italian side, handmade pastas are topped with sauces that are made fresh daily. If you want to experience heaven on earth, try the strozzapretti with a ragu of Italian sausage in light tomato cream sauce. Veal, chicken, and a wide selection of fresh fish, prepared in classic style, are also popular.
Either menu would be delicious on its own; to find such sterling examples of each cuisine in one place surprises and delights.
Garita says the fact that he loves the food he's serving explains why his customers love it, as well. "When you do something you love, everything comes from your heart," he says. "That is why we are successful. We are doing this with passion and love."
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