60 Seconds with Chef EDGAR CARO
Baru Bistro & Tapas, 3700 Magazine St., 895-2225
Quality food is served all along Magazine Street, but Baru Bistro stands out from the crowd. Housed in a former grocery on the corner of Amelia Street, this Latin-Caribbean bistro has probably caught your eye with its purple-and-green façade and alfresco dining. The delightful dishes and bustling atmosphere make Baru a real bright spot in the Uptown restaurant scene.
Chef-owner Edgar Caro, who opened Baru Bistro & Tapas in 2007, mixes the rich food culture of his hometown of Cartagena, Columbia, with that of New Orleans. This amalgam comes together in an adventurous menu that includes Serrano ham–wrapped rabbit loin with roasted sweet potatoes, sautéed spinach and hongos al ajillo; fresh Gulf fish ceviche; and parrillada criolla consisting of grilled chicken, beef and housemade chorizo topped with chimichurri and garlic aioli. Chef Caro’s menu is as interesting and accessible as he is. He was generous enough to sit down with New Orleans Living and talk about his passion for food.
Why New Orleans for the restaurant?
I moved here in 1999 for college at Delgado and liked it so much that I stayed.
How did you decide on Magazine Street?
It was the perfect location. We continue to renovate the main floor, increasing seating, and we are working on an upstairs private party–banquet room.
What’s your most time-consuming dish to prepare?
The Cuban pork takes six hours to cook and the rabbit dish on the fall menu takes a long time.
How do you unwind after a long day?
Favorite Sunday meal that goes well with the Saints?
I like a really, really good pizza that I make myself.
Favorite New Orleans band or musician?
I like Galactic and Kermit Ruffins.
The perfect fish?
Red Snapper. I grew up on it.
The perfect meat?
I like skirt steak. It’s the most flavorful and versatile.
How do you choose which servers to hire?
Those that are willing to learn about our food and different dishes and are friendly with good attitudes.
Where did you go on your last vacation? Favorite meal there?
New York. I ate at Momofuku. The pork belly was amazing.
Anthony Bourdain or Andrew Zimmern?
Oh, Anthony Bourdain.
What do you like most about being in the kitchen?
The moment of service when it all comes together.
Recipe courtesy of chef Edgar Caro
Pickled red onion
1 medium red onion, julienned
Juice of 1 lime
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. sugar
20 coriander seeds
In a nonreactive bowl, marinate the onion with the rest of the ingredients. Let stand for 30 minutes.
1½ lbs. fresh white fish (such as puppy drum, cobia or sheepshead) cut into ¼ inch cubes and the blood line removed
1 tbsp. sea salt
1 pinch Creole seasoning
2 tsp. fresh aji amarillo or paste (found in Latin markets)
Juice of 3 limes
1 avocado cut into ¼ inch cubes
¼ cup lime soda (very cold)
In a nonreactive bowl, pour the chopped fish, season with salt and creole seasoning, then the aji amarillo and mixed well until every piece is coated and seasoned. Pour in the lime juice and let marinate for 10 minutes, add the cilantro, avocado and soda. Serve in a really cold plate and top with pickled red onions. Use tortilla, corn or sweet potato chips for dipping.