Trendy tapas restaurants are sure bets for hot dates or wine-soaked nights on the town. But Barrio, the much-buzzed-about new Downtown restaurant, also translates to a leisurely lunch setting.
When you give your restaurant the name Details, you'd best pay attention to them. And indeed, it's the small things that set meals apart at this tiny Short North bar - like my lovely rum drink, the Dark and Stormy 2.0, being served with a tiny bottle of Fever Tree Ginger Ale for mixing. Or my tacos being delivered standing upright in what looked to be a letter sorter.
Details has a slightly industrial feel, with glass and steel, sleek backless seats and a soft techno soundtrack. It's a neat space - an open, two-story setup with a thin stainless-steel bar that flows from the upper level to the lower, uninterrupted, like a waterfall.
As the more-affordable sister to neighboring Rosendales, Details is tiny, but you'll have your pick of seating at lunchtime. Grab a high-topped table in front of the two-story wall of windows for some people-watching, or choose a seat at one of the two bars.What to eat
Details is open for lunch and dinner, but with the exception of a bunch of stellar bar bites, the menu is decidedly lunchy. You'll find salads, soups and sandwiches-like a compact ciabatta-rolled Portobello Mushroom Panini ($7.50), starring balsamic roasted red peppers, provolone and pesto mayonnaise-as well as a small selection of small plates.
Most intriguing were a pair of unconventional tacos, one with barbecue short ribs, fontina cheese and a spicy tomato relish and the other with tuna tartar. The tuna tacos take the fresh flavors of sushi - ahi tuna marinated in sesame oil and citrus juice, biting pickled ginger and creamy avocado - and surround them in a crunchy taco shell. It's an ingenious combination, the salty shell standing in for sushi's traditional partner, soy sauce.What to drink
The food is good, but you're going to want to come to Details when you can partake in some of the excellent cocktails. Yes, they're worth sweet-talking someone into driving you home.
When it comes to classic cocktails, the bartenders at Details are "unabashed purists." Your martini will be made with gin, not vodka. Don't expect an umbrella garnish with your (strawberry-free) daiquiri. And don't even think about ordering your margarita frozen, or even on the rocks-you'll just have to savor their "as it should be" concoction of Cuervo Platino tequila, Cointreau and fresh lemon and lime.
But they're not afraid to experiment with fun flavor combinations, either. A selection of champagne cocktails blends sparkling wine with high-end liquors and mixers; similarly, the Pear Sauvignon combines Grey Goose pear vodka with sauvignon blanc and Cointreau.Something sweet
There are just three choices on the "Sweet Tooth" menu: a Butterscotch Blondie served with vanilla ice cream and Bulleit Bourbon whipped cream; a spiced carrot cake cupcake with cream cheese ice cream; and "Smores" ($5). This loose interpretation of the classic campfire dessert is served cold rather than warm, with scoops of chocolate gelato, graham-cracker streusel and some toasted marshmallow creme.Details:
Details Minibar & Lounge
793 N. High St., Short North