1/2 Apparently, Buenos Aires is a hot travel destination. Strangely, there were two separate articles (a 36 Hours and a Cultured Traveler) on the city in Sunday’s New York Times. They caught my attention since I’d recently eaten at an East Village restaurant named for the Argentinean capital. I’m definitely not an expert on the cuisine but the first thing that comes to mind is grass-fed beef. I’ll eventually branch out the more I sample this South American style but I’ve tended to stick with the parrillada in my few forays. I'm curious about matambre, which seems to be a jelly roll of flank steak encircling a bunch of vegetables, hard boiled eggs and olives.
The mixed grill always ends up being more than you bargained for and a serving for one invariably feeds two. Even in Manhattan where portions tend to be smaller and prices higher, you still get quite a lot of meat for your money. I wonder if there’s a nouveau, or nuevo rather, rendition in the area with tiny cuts, unusual sides or stylish presentation. I kind of like the individual flame-licked table top grills you often receive; at Buenos Aires everything comes plated.
The bounty that appeared with their version of parrillada included skirt steak, ribs, pork sausage, blood sausage, sweetbreads and kidneys. I’m pretty sure that kidneys were not listed on the menu but they were most definitely on my plate. As expected, vivid green chimichurri is brought to the table, but a side of salsa also comes with the parrillada. I enjoy organ meats, especially morcilla. James does not so we rarely share one of these feasts (though he partook in leftover steak the next morning cooked with eggs and roasted potatoes. I let him have the pork sausage because despite liking hard cured charcuterie and blood sausage, I’m no fan of most squishy Italian-style links). He went for a simple filet mignon. You can choose from eight cuts of meat if you’re feeling single minded. Whether the beef is grass or corn fed, I’m not sure, though judging from the reasonable prices I’m guessing the latter. We got wonderfully crispy fries on the side and also split an order of baked spinach and cheese empanadas.
It’s easy to fall victim to meat overload but I was thankful for the padding after downing a few too many happy hour Makers Mark and sodas (and shots) at the new moderately cleaned up incarnation of The Continental. When was the last time you had $3 cocktail? Whisky and steak are perfect for fighting the temperature-in-the-teens chill.
Buenos Aires * 513 E. Sixth St., New York, NY