BARDA is bringing something different to Detroit, delivering savory flavors from Argentina, all cooked over a wood fire. While yes, they do have some delicious meat dishes, that is not all they are focusing on. As owners Ignacio Gerson and Javier Baraduil explain, that is just one small piece of their culture.
“When someone tells you Argentinian food, you probably think immediately about BBQ and meat,” explains Gerson.
“And a gaucho probably,” adds Bardauil, referencing the popular Argentinian cowboys.
Gerson continues saying, “That’s not it, 80% of our population now is immigrants.” That has led to a fusion of European and South American flavors making the cuisine of Argentina truly unique.
Both Gerson and Bardauil moved to Detroit from Argentina. Gerson moved first because his wife got a job in the motor city. After seeing the growing food scene, he called his longtime friend and collaborator Bardauil, nicknamed “Barda,” and told him he needed to come to Detroit so they could open a restaurant together.
They started looking for a place and found the old location for Magnet - it was perfect. When Barda first came to Detroit the pair ate at Magnet, and actually commented about how they wanted their restaurant to have a similar look and feel. When they took the building over, they didn’t change a thing, deciding to embrace its strong personality with its rich colors, dramatic lighting, and an all-wood burning kitchen. After all, gathering around a fire and roasting meat is something that is integral to Argentinian culture, they say. They opened the doors to the public on June 10, 2021.
The fire has added another level of flavor to their food, inspiring Chef Barda to play with charred and smoky flavors and textures. A great example of this is their Burnt Alaska dessert. They have an unsweetened flourless chocolate cake with chocolate ice cream on top and engulf it all in meringue. Instead of lightly toasting the fluffy covering, Barda decided to really roast it, serving it set on fire tableside. This gives the meringue a burnt marshmallow-type flavor.
The rest of the menu is full of a variety of dishes ranging in size and is meant to be eaten family-style. They have big plates of meat like their peppercorn and coriander crusted short rib, as well as some savory vegetarian plates like their grilled portabello mushroom. Barda says he plans to change the menu up seasonally and wants to highlight some of the great proteins and produce he can find locally, giving them a South American twist.
If you want to try BARDA, the restaurant is located at 4842 Grand River Avenue in Detroit. For more information, and to see a sample of their menu, watch the video above.