Barros Luco is Open – Time for Tasting!

Barros luco store 2
After months of walking back and forth in front of this place like some stalker ex-girlfriend, the doors have finally opened for Barros Luco, the Chilean sandwich shop in midtown.

It was 5:20 pm, and I was having a bad case of the Mondays. The one thing I was looking forward to was my dinner at Barros Luco. I see it every morning, I've read about it, I've blogged about it, there was just one thing left to do…and in the words of Weird Al: Eat It. I showed up around 7 pm, and was greeted warmly by Carlos, the owner, and a smiley cashier. I was pretty hungry, so I didn't really know what to try. Fortunately, I have read enough about this place to know that the Chacarero is the most popular sandwich in Chile, so I went with that and got a baked chicken empanada on the side. Fries? No. That's not how I do things. If I wanted fries, I would have gone to McDonald's. I came here for "Authentic Chilean Cuisine" and damn it I'm going to get it. But for all you fry-lovers out there, they DO make sweet potato fries. Oh, and I also got a beef Vienesa Completo to go (hot dog with tomato, sauerkraut, mashed avocado and mayo). You may cure your mondays with beer, I cure mine with beef.

Barros luco interior So I went upstairs to the little dining area (left) which was pleasantly appointed with sconces, wood trim and brass-colored paintings. It was very clean too, granted there were only a few other people in there at this point. After about 5-10 mins, I got my food, and I was very excited. The sandwich looked so colorful and nicely put together, and the empanada was fairly large. For those of you who don't know what a Chacarero is (pronounced cha-kah-re-ro), it's a beef or chicken sandwich with (traditionally) string beans, tomato, mayo, avocado, and banana peppers. Sounds weird I know, but I really enjoyed this sandwich. I thought the beef was well cooked and the flavors complimented each other, including the string beans, which were cut up small and added a nice little crunch to each bite. Even the mayo has a touch of lemon juice for some tang, and is spread in a thin layer (thankfully, because I am NOT a fan of mayo), then it's topped off with some cool avocado and hot banana peppers. There you have it: a surprisingly different and delicious sandwich (though next time I'm getting more peppers on it).  It also sounds like it would be horribly messy, but it wasn't at all. This could be due in part to the size, which for me was perfectly fine, but I can see some of my male friends complaining that it's a little small. I think it's a good size for a lunch, but for a dinner, yes, you would probably have to order something on the side. Who can eat a sandwich without a side of fries anyway? Or in my case, a side of empanada.

Barros luco chacarero real 2

Barros luco chacarero real 
 
 Speaking of the empanada, it was decent, but not my favorite of the meal. Though I also made the mistake of getting a baked one (which is the traditional one), and I just don't like the crust. Never have. What the hell was I thinking?? There's even a rhyme for this very problem: "not sure what to try? Always, always fry." Ok I made that up, but it's true. Next time I will try a fried beef empanada and see how that goes. I was pretty stuffed at this point thanks to the filling qualities of avocado and homemade Chilean bread (also known as Pan Frica), but I had to try the Completo Vienesa. I love variations of hot dogs, and being in New York, strangely enough you can't get too many versions other than "ketchup packet", "mustard packet", and "kraut". How exciting. So to me, this hot dog was like a dream come true. I took two bites of the all-beef hot dog overflowing with avocado, sauerkraut, mayo and tomato, and it was hard not to devour the rest. The bun is made from the same homemade bread as the sandwich, so it's a little more dense compared to a regular hot dog bun - but to hold all those fillings I guess it has to be. The hot dog itself was tasty, but the tangy sauerkraut with creamy avocado and mayo put it over the top. I loved it. To me, few things are better than a good hot dog. 

Barros luco hot dog

I spoke with Carlos Olivares, the owner, for a few minutes after my meal. I asked him why he opened a Chilean sandwich shop in midtown, and he said he simply "found a niche in dining" here. There's definitely a truth to that - every place that's opened up here has been a salad company of some kind. How many different ways are there to get a damn salad?? Chopt, Tossed and Just, apparently. All these "creative" takes on salad have jacked up the prices, and I personally have spent over $10 for some of them. FOR LETTUCE. Barros Luco on the other hand, says Carlos, "it's comfort food, you know? And it doesn't hurt the wallet." To prove that point, nothing on the menu is more than $7.99. The food is all traditional Chilean recipes, so you're not paying extra for the chef's creative twists and flair. Putting string beans and mayo on a beef sandwich is creative enough, no? See for yourself on your next lunch break.

 

Barros Luco

300 1/2 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10022
(212) 371-0100

83 Comments

  1. I tried the food this past weekend and it is delicious – I went on Saturday and went back on Sunday to try more things. Big fan!

  2. I was a fan of the establishment that was at that location before Barros Luco came to town and I was bummed when it closed down. But since I am the kind of guy that tries anything once I took a chance on Barros Luco and came away pleased and stuffed. I had the Beef Empanadas and the Steak Barros Lucco Italiano and neither choice disappointed. The flavors were great and they meshed well together. The portions were a good size and even though I could have gone back for seconds and thirds (because it was that good) I was completely satisfied with my order. The food is filling and tasty and I would seriously recommend it to your friends who are tired of sushi, chinese, italian or mexican food. Authentic Chilean Cuisine is now in my Top 5. Thank you for coming to my neighborhood Barros Luco. I will be spending many a lunch hour there.

  3. They gave you a righteous, proper chilean sandwich. Next time ask for a Barros Luco, i hope you enjoy it as much as we do in Chile.

  4. The chacarero in Downton Crossing in Boston is a fond memory, will definitely have to check this out. It’s certainly much closer.

  5. un chileno en NYC

    This is beyond exciting — thank you for posting this up – I will try it this week!

  6. The sweet potato fries are really good!!! and i loved the empanadas.. very authentic and Carlos didn’t skimp on the beef, he used beef cubes instead of ground beef! so i say bravo to dat!….. the sauces were very good as well! yuuum… i like this nee addition!

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  12. I was a fan of the establishment that was at that location before Barros Luco came to town and I was bummed when it closed down. But since I am the kind of guy that tries anything once I took a chance on Barros Luco and came away pleased and stuffed. I had the Beef Empanadas and the Steak Barros Lucco Italiano and neither choice disappointed. The flavors were great and they meshed well together. The portions were a good size and even though I could have gone back for seconds and thirds (because it was that good) I was completely satisfied with my order. The food is filling and tasty and I would seriously recommend it to your friends who are tired of sushi, chinese, italian or mexican food. Authentic Chilean Cuisine is now in my Top 5. Thank you for coming to my neighborhood Barros Luco. I will be spending many a lunch hour there.

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  22. Chile, so I went with that and got a baked chicken empanada on the side. Fries? No. That’s not how I do things. If I wanted fries, I would have gone to McDonald’s. I came here for “Authentic Chilean Cuisine” and damn it I’m going to get it. But for all you fry-lovers out there, they DO make sweet potato fries. Oh, and I also got a beef Vienesa

  23. I went to this restaurant with a friend few days ago and it is delicious I felt so comfortable in there because the place is so quiet and relax just to enjoy your dish and have a great conversation.

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  46. The chacarero in Downton Crossing in Boston is a fond memory, will definitely have to check this out. It’s certainly much closer.
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  68. They gave you a righteous, proper chilean sandwich. Next time ask for a Barros Luco, i hope you enjoy it as much as we do in Chile.

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  73. they DO make sweet potato fries. Oh, and I also got a beef Vienesa

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  79. Manuel Reyes

    Proud to read that the traditional Chilean “sanguche” is an exported recipe, simple, tasty and balanced.
    Everything is Sanguche-able, but a tasty barrios luco is like a cheese burger, hard to beat.
    The Sanguche is experiencing a comeback in Chile, traditional street food is gaining a place in high end restaurant cartas, like Cebiche positioned Peruvian street food with help of Acurio. The Chilean Sanguche will do so too, far more tasty than a Cebiche and with the capacity to be a companion to any mood.

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