For eight years, it was a running joke that one of the best locations in the city was inhabited by one of the most lackluster restaurants. Shucker's, which opened in 2005 in the Brown's Wharf complex, had the advantage of corner waterfront views and constant foot traffic, but its food, atmosphere, and décor never lived up to its potential.
That's why we were excited to hear that the team behind Bond Street Social was totally renovating the space and turning it into a modern, Mexican-inspired bar/restaurant. Last night, hundreds of patrons experienced the new space, as Baltimore magazine threw a grand opening party for Barcocina.
The architecture is night and day from the drab carpeting and dark wood of Shucker's. Barcocina's design is consistent with the modern trend of a lot of recent openings (including Boathouse in Canton), with an open floor plan, bright white walls, and clean lines throughout. Another welcome addition are the garage doors on all sides, given it an open, airy feel when the weather cooperates. They may eventually have to do something about the noise level, though, as all of that openness makes for a very noisy space.
The drink menu was well organized with cocktails divided into three categories: sweet, smokey, and spicy. There were also two cocktails (a house margarita and a watermelon-infused vodka) and four wines on tap. The bar made a decent Paloma and Blood Orange Crush (both with crushed ice). But our favorite drink we tried was the Martini En Fuego with Agave Loco tequila, agave nectar, lime juice, house-made sour mix, and jalapeño foam—which was sweet up front and hit you with a perfect spicy kick.
There was also a decent beer list, with local offerings from Heavy Seas, Dogfish Head, and Evolution. The food we got to sample was also impressive, including lamb quesadillas and the Barcocina guacamole (drizzled with pasilla-lime-balsamic vinaigrette, a nice touch). The kitchen didn't have the full menu available last night, but hopes to by the end of the week.
We are hopeful for the newly reinvented spot, which features fresh ingredients on its menu, as well as a completely overhauled design that takes full advantage of its prime waterfront location.