I was inclined to pass up Casa Cruz, even though magazines and guidebooks love it and it was close enough to our apartment that I could wear heels without suffering. All the descriptions put me off, especially the notion of giant gold entrance doors (not actual gold, duh—I took a photo upon leaving but it was too dark and blurry). I was picturing cold Meatpacking district, but it was more plush Vegas. The scale of everything—those doors, towering floral arrangements, well-spaced seating—was grand. Trump would feel cozy here.
I didn’t encounter cocktails so much in Buenos Aires so I was intrigued by their list containing classics and unique specialties. No matter that The Cruz cost as much as a steak in nearby restaurants. ($10 give or take). I wanted to try something with Chartreuse since you don’t see it used as a mixer that often. The result was stiff, bitter and fitting for an aperitif.
This was the only restaurant we visited that had a sommelier, not that I tend to use them because I don’t like relying on humans. We chose a Torrontes, a crisp local white that I know little about and am trying to figure out. It definitely doesn’t have the same name recognition as Malbec.
I wish I could remember more about this amuse other than it tasted like Parmesan cheese.
Guidebooks list Casa Cruz as Italian, which isn't really true at all. I'm not sure what cuisine this is. Many of the ingredient combinations sounded wretched (Lisa’s peanut butter mashed potatoes on Top Chef immediately came to mind) but worked on the plate. You’ll see (at least hazily—mood lighting is death for furtive flashless pics).
black pudding * figs * scallops * sprouts salad * almonds…
I’m mimicking how dishes were listed on the menu, don’t blame the pretension on me. English descriptions were on the left hand side and Spanish on the right, which was interesting for comparison. I don’t think the average American knows what black pudding is or wants to know, and would probably be more inclined to order morcilla since it sounds nicer. Of course, I ordered it because I love blood sausage.
The almonds, and even the figs made sense, sweet/savory and kind of Spanish. It was the scallops that seemed weird. They didn’t clash with the rich charcuterie at all, though.
grilled shrimps * potato and pear warm salad * shrimp nage
I’m a control freak and don’t like to let James take his own photos because they tend to come out as blurred as a palsied photographer’s. He also doesn’t get close enough. I didn’t taste this dish.
white risotto * truffle oil * duck confit * pickled mango * portobello mushrooms
I never ever order pastas or risottos. The ingredient combination must’ve grabbed my attention, the pickled fruit specifically. Garlic and truffle oil dominated a bit, but only a bit because this dish was sumptious on all levels. It’s not like you can play down cream and duck confit. It seems odd to be recounting this item now when it’s a gazillion degrees outside and the thought of this makes my stomach hurt, but it made sense for fall weather when I was craving something substantial.
red tuna * chimichurri * bone marrow * raspberries * potatoes
Raspberries are obviously the odd man out in this combination. James insisted that the fruit was absent and I can't detect any hint of it in this photo either.
This was a basil tomato granita. I guess that's Italian.
corn crème brulee * black currant * dulce de leche * cinnamon sugar
This was a take on crema Catalan, a flatter, spread out Spanish crème brulee. The sweet corn kind of gave a rice pudding effect while the dulce de leche didn’t register at all. I was really hoping for more caramel flavor.
I expected more scene than substance from Casa Cruz and was wrong. The setting felt luxurious without being stuffy and the food was genuinely good. Of course my perception might be clouded by the amazing exchange rate and foreign locale. I wouldn’t like this restaurant in NYC at all. It just wouldn’t work.
At the very least, I was happy for the chance to wear my new cute/tacky Target earrings with laser cut lions (I'm a leo, I can't help it). I don’t normally wear much, if any, jewelry, and never gold-toned, so these might’ve languished in a drawer for months. Thank you, Casa Cruz for the opportunity.
Casa Cruz * Buenos Aries, Argentina