Barrio Costero translates from Spanish as “coastal neighborhood.” It is the perfect name for this new contemporary restaurant that will feature eclectic coastal Mexican cuisine with an emphasis on local sources as well as a creative and diverse selection of cocktails and local brews.
On Valentine’s Day I was leaving Pascal and Sabine on Bangs Avenue in Asbury Park, with my wife after brunch. I could not miss the striking abstract mural covering the front of the former home of 610 Bangs across the street. Normally my curiosity would have pulled me to poke around but the frigid temps and biting wind made us hustle directly to the shelter of our nearby car. Lucky for me I received an email from Jamie Dodge, the Director of Libations at Barrio Costero, asking if I would like to attend the soft opening of the new restaurant in a couple weeks. After reading his attached press packet my excitement grew and I felt compelled to help spread the word.
Barrio Costero is the creation of four friends, each with their own unique passions and culinary experiences – Paris Retana, Derek Brosseau, Jamie Dodge and Rob Feinstein.
Paris Retana the Chief Culinary Craftsman was born and raised in Mexico City where his culinary interest was first aroused. He received formal training at the Culinary Institute of America and has since enjoyed a diverse career including cooking at Michelin Star restaurants in Spain to an extremely popular food truck in New Jersey. Barrio Costero provides him the opportunity to funnel all of that vast background and experience. His creations will feature Mexican food that is light and fresh, well removed from the Tex Mex that most are familiar with. Examples include a ceviche featuring coconut and achiote and a local line-caught fluke taco with avocado – jalapeno tartar sauce. His culinary creations will be eclectic and contemporary sourcing both local fresh products such as seafood and produce and unique Mexican ingredients such as cactus and blue masa.
Derek Brosseau, Chief Experience Officer, is a native of Burlington, Vermont who began his culinary journey as a bartender at the age of 17. After college he worked as Food and Beverage Manager at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, DC, where he obtained his sommelier license. He left the Four Seasons in 2006 to launch a consulting company where he helped in the launch of over a dozen restaurants including Elements and Mistral, two successful businesses operating today in Princeton, NJ.
Jamie Dodge is the Mixology Craftsman of Barrio Costero. His craft cocktail skills were first tapped at Circa in High Bridge NJ where he was instrumental in developing their bistro bar program. He also was part of the original cast at Elements and Mistral. He is known for his infusions, house-made tonics, syrups and bitters combining artisanal elements. He is passionate about sourcing local ingredients to put a creative spin on traditional concoctions as well as personally creating cutting edge cocktails using exotic ingredients.
Robert Feinstein is the Designer and Creative director behind the avant-garde vibe of this space. He is a well-known designer, architect and founding partner of Studio One Architects. His vision transforms a space from ordinary to extraordinary retaining it’s historic significance while creating it’s own history within. His use of patterns and textures and clean contemporary lines is evident in the au courant design of the interior space at Barrio Costero. The use of local artists for elements of the design is a testament to the upbeat artistic pulse of Asbury Park. One such element is a mural by Porktomic, the Art of Porkchop which will be a focal point of the space. Porktomic also created that striking attention-getter on the outside, the future of which is unknown to me.
The food, the drinks and the vibe of Barrio Costero will be unlike anything ever created here or anywhere else. It is the perfect addition to this lucky city which attracts a mainly young, fashion conscious and artsy crowd as well as well aged and seasoned old foodies like me. I am looking forward to visit a place where it is as inviting to stop in for an inspired cocktail as it is for some coastal Mexican indulgences. The combination of talent, passion and a cutting edge concept can only promise amazing results. I can’t wait for my first taste. See you soon.