Tuesday, September 14, 2010

La Brigada: Great Beef, Great Atmosphere

Aside from the tango, there's another thing Buenos Aires is renowned for -- good beef.

With that in mind, I recently paid a visit on one of the city's finest steakhouses, La Brigada.

It's located in San Telmo, in the central part of the city.

What I discovered when I arrived was an establishment that was completely packed. Not only were all the tables full, there was quite a mob of people waiting to get a table.

Anytime I see that, I know I'm at a good restaurant.

As I quickly learned, La Brigada is not just about the beef -- it's about all things Argentinean.

The restaurant is decorated with photos and other memorabilia that honor this nation's affection for soccer ... or I suppose I should say "futbol".

Beyond that, there's the restaurant's extensive wine list. Although you can choose from a variety of wines from around the world, the highlight is clearly the homegrown vinos from Mendoza -- Argentina's "wine country".

My companion and I chose a bottle of Alta Vista Premium Malbec. Great choice. We had no problem finishing it.

At this point, I should mention La Brigada's menu. Not only does it feature beef, the menu itself is also made of cow ... cowhide, that is (see photo). Very cool.

As is tradition in these parts, we began our meal with empanadas. Restaurants typically offer a few types of empanadas (most notably beef, chicken, jam and cheese). I went for the beef. Naturally.

With the empanadas out of the way -- and our bottle of Malbec slowly disappearing -- our main course arrived.

At this point, I don't even recall the exact steak I ordered, but I do know this -- it was outstanding.

When our steaks arrived, our waiter demonstrated just how tender the meat was. He cut my companion's steak ... with a spoon!

As we dug in, we both agreed -- these were easily some of the best steaks we'd ever had. Ever. In any city.

Furthermore, I have no doubt that if you come to La Brigada as a vegetarian, after just one bite of steak, you would end up renouncing vegetarianism, and loudly proclaim your new-found devotion to beef.

At some point, we finished the bottle of wine. I'm not exactly sure when, because I completely lost track of time during our visit to this fine restaurant.

Although it was sad to finish my steak, fortunately, we wisely left room for dessert.

I'm pretty sure we had crème brulée, but I could be mistaken. After all, we did finish the bottle of wine, so some details do escape my memory. But I definitely do recall the cappuccino.

Once that was out of the way, we left, but not before agreeing that this steakhouse is one of the finest restaurants we have ever had the pleasure of visiting.

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