Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Andrés Carne de Res: Dining Doesn't Get Any Better Than This
I was told by a number of acquaintances that no visit to Bogotá would be complete without a visit to this place. But the famed establishment is more than just a steakhouse -- it's a dining experience.
First off, Andrés is simply THEEEE place to go in the Colombian capital. The movers and shakers of the city all frequent this joint. Politicians, celebrities, business people, and tourists alike flock here.
Andrés first opened in 1982 just north of Bogotá. More recently, they added a much more convenient location in the city's upscale Zona Rosa district.
As I said, the plastic cow at the main entrance is a tip-off that you're in for a treat at this restaurant. Andres offers live music and a dance floor. And the band that played was not just a house band -- they were genuinely good. The foursome played a mix of jazz type music, mixed with covers of some classic rock tunes. Good stuff.
The decor, mixed with the entertainment may confuse the first-time visitor. It's an eclectic mix -- and I think it works precisely because it IS unexpected.
Before you begin your journey through the drinks and food at Andres, you must first navigate through their unique menu. What do I mean by unique? It's in a giant metal box, that's hard to describe. It contains pages that you scroll through to navigate through the infinite offerings. Thankfully, our server for the evening, Monica, gave us plenty of time to peruse the choices.
If there's ever been a drink invented in the history of mankind, Andres serves it. Just name it -- you got it.
But if the price of the drinks seems steep, just wait until your beverage arrives. My mojito cubano arrived in a wooden container that I cannot accurately describe (just check out the accompanying photo). The size is immense. And the presentation is something else.
If Andres offers a billion different drinks, they match that when it comes to the starters you can choose from.
We opted for three choices: Yucca sticks, plantains with cheese, and arepas with guacamole.
It was unanimous at our table that the yucca sticks were the best. Topped with one of the accompanying salsas, you almost wanted a plate of them just as an entree. In fact, one of my dining companions did just that.
Now, to the really good stuff. If you love a good steak, this is the place for you.
I went for a 12 oz. lomo sellado cut, accompanied by mashed potatoes (served inside a hollowed-out tomato) and arepas.
Your meal arrives on a sizzling platter, not unlike the kind you get when getting an order of fajitas at Chili's. But this seems way cooler.
The beef was excellent, and it was a struggle to finish it all, after all that we had already consumed with the starters.
I have to concur ... when you visit Bogota, this is a "can't miss" experience. Our experience lasted nearly four hours.
Andrés Carne de Res is not just about the food -- although that's reason enough to go. It's also about the atmosphere and sharing an experience that is as enjoyed by locals as it is by visitors to the city.