Well, if there’s one thing people usually know about Argentina it’s that it has great steak and great wine. I went a whole 4 days of being in Argentina without trying steak (carne empanadas don’t count) but the wait was certainly worth it.
Hallie, Andy & I made reservations at a well known parilla called La Cabrera. In Argentina you can tell if a store is good because if it’s popular enough they’ll just open the exact same restaurant next door or across the street from the original. La Cabrera has 2 store fronts less than a block apart so you know it’s good. We got there for an early dinner (8:30 p.m reservation. They don’t even open for dinner until 8 every night) and started the night off right with a fine malbec from Mendoza. Our patient and jovial waiter helped us to make some tough menu decisions and then the eating commenced.
We started off with provoleta and chorizo sausage. Provoleta is typically just baked provolone cheese but this version was baked in a beautiful little cast iron pot wth sun dried tomatoes, prosciutto, and basil. The chorizo was just that, chorizo. It was perfect in its simplicity, letting the quality of the meat and the seasonings as well as the skill of the grillmaestro take center stage.
After having some of the best prosciutto I’ve ever put in my mouth and certainly the most delicious baked provolone cheese (to be fair, it doesn’t actually have any competition) it was on to much bigger and heftier slabs of carne! We ordered the Bief de Lomo, your classic steak order at a parilla and it was truly impressive, both in size and taste. We ordered a simple version, lomo de pepper concasse and it was about 2 pounds of steak. It also came with about 6 sides ranging from mashed pumpkin to some sort of corn and bacon deliciousness to marinated artichoke hearts. The sides were good but the steak was incredible. It was perfect in every way; marination, the cut, how tender it was, slight charring at the edges. I honestly can’t say enough about this steak.
After managing to take down basically a whole cow we ordered yet another bottle of Mendoza’s finest and began to prepare for a dessert. This meal was a marathon, not a sprint and we had gone in prepared to do some damage. The wine was spectacular once again and for dessert we ordered apple pie and strawberries in wine . Both came with homemade ice cream which interestingly enough happens to be one of Argentina’s specialties (it’s not so shabby being a place known for wine, steak and ice cream). A delicious ending to a lovely culinary adventure, although I can only say that the appetizers and dessert simply augmented the experience of eating bief de lomo con pepper concasse.