Address: 64 Rittenhouse Place, Ardmore, PA 19003
Rating: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
Style: Rotisserie and barbecue
Food: Slow-cooked meats and home style sides
Atmosphere: Neighborhood casual
Price Range: Dinner sandwiches: $6.95 to $9.95, or $11.95 to $13.99 for a pound of meat
Parking: On-street parking
It is a safe assumption to make that we will thoroughly enjoy dining at a place that greets us with a decorative metal chicken. That is why we knew as we were walking up to the small patio outside of Barbacoa in Ardmore, that we were in for a good time.
As we stepped inside the small dining space, we were encouraged to find that all but one of the tables was full. We quickly grabbed the last seats in the house and began to stare at the giant chalkboard menu.
Our server appeared, taking our drink order, then leaving us for a minute to peruse our options. This is when we noticed a little too late that Barbacoa is BYOB—something we will definitely make note of for our future visits.
By the time our server returned, we had decided to try a little of everything. Our order was comprised of a ½ pound of beef brisket ($7.95), ½ pound of pulled pork ($6.95), and the filet mignon sandwich with caramelized onions on a Sarcone roll ($9.95).
We upgraded the brisket to a meal by adding ½ a pound of coleslaw and potato wedges for $3.95. We also elected, as per server recommendation, a ½ pound portion of Bianco mac & cheese ($3.49), and ½ pound of creamed spinach ($3.95).
While waiting for the meal to arrive, the team of servers was quite attentive, refilling our drinks regularly. This could have been because the heat from the kitchen was trying to sneak into the dining room—which would make it feel like we were actually in Peru. We learned that Barbacoa is currently working on an air conditioning system, but for the meantime they do a fine job of keeping the room ventilated and cool with a fan cross-breeze.
The filet mignon sandwich was delivered as a starter. An impressive first bite led to the discovery of beautifully flavored meat. The desirable texture of the toasted Sarcone roll gave this sandwich a fantastic crunch.
Both the brisket and the pork came over grilled slices of Texas toast. The restaurant's signature barbecue sauce was generously slathered atop both of these dishes. We liked the balance of sweet and vinegar in the sauce. Either the beef or pork dishes could be made a staple in a dining-out regimen with their juicy and tender strands.
The potato wedges were exactly that—a wedge of potato hacked off with a skillful knife and deep-fried to golden perfection. The coleslaw wasn't cloyingly sweet, and even though it did have a sweetness, the vinegar highlights were the pallet-pleasers.
We made room to squeeze in some bites of creamed spinach—rich and delicious, not overly salty. Interestingly, the chef used penne instead of elbows or a smaller pasta to make the mac & cheese. This gave a great surface area to be coated by the yummy, gooey sauce and we loved it.
It would be impossible to finish the gigantic meal that we had ordered, so we boxed up some of the goodness to eat the next day. We also had hopes of feeding our tribe at home and knew the leftovers wouldn't cut it. So, we ordered a rotisserie chicken ($11.95) with a few sides of cornbread ($0.99 a piece) to take with us.
The chicken came with two sauces—one mustard-based, and one kind of spicy chimichurri (oil and herb) sauce. This meat was once again really tender, and even our picky 8-year-old kept tearing more pieces off to add to her plate.
We found Barbacoa's food represented a straight-ahead barbecue with Peruvian influence. If you want really good comfort food, grab a growler of beer and head on over for dinner. Barbacoa is located at 64 Rittenhouse Place and opens at 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 4 p.m. on Sundays.