Review: Barbacoa Boise

Jun 22, 2011 by     3 Comments    Posted under: Boise, Idaho, Restaurants, Reviews

Rarely do I find a restaurant with expensive decor and stylings, pricey menus, and “gourmet” claims which actually impresses me and leave me walking away having greatly enjoyed the experience of dining there.  Barbacoa in Boise is one of these rarities.

Upon walking in, you are immediately taken back by the beauty of the design work.  Local paintings, sculptures and glass work are tastefully combined with beautiful woods, stained concrete, water features, and fire.  The concept is sophisticated south desert with modern European accents.  The details are impressive, right down to the leather and metal strapped wood doors.  No expense was spared to make this an upscale venue.

Barbacoa Dining

Barbacoa Dining

The menu certainly has plenty of Latin American influences, but don’t take this to mean that it is Mexican food.  The bulk of the menu seems to be dedicated to high-end steaks which are dry aged onsite for over 30 days and then grilled over open flames and served in a variety of ways to choose from.  However, there are several seafood dishes to choose from, including paella, as well as a nice assortment of pastas, including BBQ Chicken pasta and Short Rib Ravioli.

Barbacoa Boise Offers a Great Assortment of Gourmet Appetizers

Barbacoa also offers a very robust and delicious appetizer menu, which is prepared at a dedicated open appetizer kitchen with available bar stool seating to watch the chefs perform their craft on the flames.  Pretty cool indeed.  This appetizer menu is really quite nice, and offers many items that are a gourmet meal all in themselves.  Expect to pay between $9-$18 per appetizer though.  Their most popular appetizer is the Tableside Guacamole, which is prepared next to your table on a little cart full of guac ingredients, including avocados, onions, garlic, cilantro, tomatoes, jalapenos, jalapeno infused oil, salt, pepper, and Mexican oregano.  I pride myself on making the best guacamole out there, but Barbacoa’s is quite nice.

Barbacoa Tableside Guacamole

Barbacoa Tableside Guacamole


Barbacoa Boise Serves Great Steaks, Seafood, and Pastas

I recently chose Barbacoa for my birthday dinner, and was well pleased indeed.  I ordered their most famous, signature dish…. “Hot Rock” Filet, a 10 oz. filet mignon with green peppercorn cognac sauce, served on a 700° black rock and flambed right before your eyes.  Oh how I love fire shows!  The sauce is exceptional, and the filet is very tender, juicy, and has a great beef flavor from the dry aging process.  The hot rock continues to cook your steak right in front of you, and further reduces the sauce into a thick delicious flavor burst that pairs perfectly with the beef.  It is one of their mid-priced steaks at $34, which is well worth the quality, taste, and awesome presentation.

Barbacoa Hot Rock Filet

Barbacoa Hot Rock Filet


Babacoa Boise Incredible Mac n Cheese

Barbacoa offers a selection of 16 different sides to purchase with your steaks, all of which I’m sure are good, but I can’t seem to get past the Four Cheese Serrano Ham Mac & Cheese.  Oh my gosh this stuff is good!  Tons of cheese, nice creaminess, penne pasta, and big cubes of superb Serrano ham.  It comes garnished with a grilled tomato slice and a sprig of rosemary.  I was particularly fond of the rosemary accents on the penne that touched it, and I wish that they would add chopped rosemary in with the entire dish.  But it’s pretty dang good without it I guess.

Barbacoa Mac n Cheese

Barbacoa Mac n Cheese

Some of their other sides worth mentioning are the Barbacoa Herb Fries and Chipotle Grilled Corn on the Cob.  The fries are cut shoestring size, and are flavored with herbs and salt.  Absolutely delicious.  They’re served in a paper funnel inside of a cool spiral metal frame.  The Corn is served skewered in a little metal stand so that the whole cob is vertical.  It is fire roasted and basted with a chipotle butter and Parmesan cheese.  I didn’t get a chance to try it myself, but those at our table that ordered it loved it.  It looked cool.

Barbacoa Boise Wild Desserts

I’m a sucker for simple “kid” desserts turned into fancy gourmet treats.  Barbacoa seems to be running with this theme in their dessert line up.  Fried ice cream is served as small crusted balls skewered to a crazy shaped metal swirly thing that sits about 18 inches high and wide.  Campfire S’mores are turned into a piece of art with a shortbread cookie (as the graham cracker), chocolate brownie cake (as the milk chocolate bar), and torched marshmallow creme.  It is served with a little fire vessel and 3 marshmallows on a stick for added fun, and even comes with some caramelized bacon pieces which pair amazingly well with the chocolate.  Now how fun is that!

Barbacoa S'mores Dessert

Barbacoa S'mores Dessert

Being my birthday, our server brought out a special birthday only treat which isn’t even available on their menu.  It was grape flavored cotton candy, served in a hollowed out dome shape with a bite sized brownie and candle in the middle of it.  The flame lit up the entire candy dome and looked really really cool.  The 4 year old at our table became all eyes of excitement when he saw it sit down in front of us, and I must say, the kid in me was bouncing off the walls as well.  Thank you Barbacoa.

Barbacoa Birthday Cotton Candy

Barbacoa Birthday Cotton Candy

276 Bobwhite Court
Boise, Idaho 83706

3 Comments + Add Comment

  • I just got this email from a reader who was looking for some dining advice regarding Barbacoa and their competitors in town. I found it very interesting and insightful, and think it adds a lot to my review, so I’m posting it here for all to read:

    “Say thanks so much for that. We did secure a patio end table on your recommendation as she said that is the quietest spot. I was a little worried about Chandlers’ menu anyway although the environment is right up my alley and meticulously clean in appearance. I got into reading the blogs by the man who imported and made all the objects for Barbocoa, such as that onyx sink in the mens’ room (3000 pounds and hangs on chains). I will attach some links because it adds a whole other layer of interest to Barbacoa. Also, looking into the history of what barbacoa is, it all makes sense why all the horns and antlers in the place. Quite interesting and a tribute to a poorer group of Mexicans who could only barbecue (underground) the head of the steer, since the wealthy owners took the best parts of the meat. Apparently some Indian and ancient tribes, Carribean and others, started barbecuing under ground. I know slaves used to do it in America for the landowners. So, it adds a whle level of interest as to why all the primitive animal skins, horns, antlers, etc that seemed to be quite incongruent and odd to me at first. I spent the day investigating all about that restaurant, just based on your fine review. I do thank you for that gift.

    The second has a list of objects to look for on a visit to the restaurant that were made and brought in for it specifically by Drew McDaniel, while the third has photos of many of these items.

    Even your burning cotton candy makes more sense in the context of burning a fire in the ground to roast the food and you can see those inferences all over the restaurant. It makes it really cool and not just crazy as it appeared to me at first glance.

    See what comes of your great post and wonderful photos! You inspired me. Thanks.

    L. Ella”

  • I went to Barbacoa before the fire and it was a over produced mess. Seemed all gaudy. I also had the hot rock filet and it was ordered medium rare, but by the time I got 1/4 through it it was well done and dry. I suspect the hot rock I had is still glowing. Nice flowery review. I will try again.

  • So, Mr. Gourmet, where is this “best guacamole out there” recipe of yours? I WANT IT!

I love hearing from my readers, so please go ahead and leave a comment!


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