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Argentinian or decent Mexican?

Anyone know of any Argentine resteraunts around Boston? I haven't been able to find any, so even if it sucks, getting even decent empanadas or slow grilled meats may at least quench the apetite.

On top of that, is there any decent mexican in this town? With as cheap as food is in Boston, you'd think one could find good Mexican food at an appropriate price, even Boca Grande is more expensive than I want to spend on Mexican food, let alone the exceptionaly average quality they serve.

Though, if anyone knows of any place that makes a good taco, I may be willing to spend some money on that, I haven't been able to find a good taco since I left SoCal....

Thanks!

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  1. El Pelon on Peterborough St is both cheap and delicious. Their tacos are great, the best probably being the fish tacos. Great fried fish, limed onions, pickled cabbage and if you like it spicy they have 2 very tasty, and unique, hot sauces.

    1. Tango is an average Argentine grill in Arlington (my Argentine relatives won't go there if it was in Argentina).

      You can find empanadas at a variety of Latin American places. Try the ones at La Mamma's (they're Chillean); they make stuff to order if there isn't any in the display case, so ask what the fillings are for the ones on display and order something that's not available.

      Alterative: Brazilian fried snacks (salgadinhos) are good at Muqueca and Cafe Brazil. (They're labeled as tira gostos on the menu at Cafe Brazil.) Consider the conzinha de frango (minced chicken in a shell of mashed potato, deep fried) or kibbeh (a Brazilian variant of the Lebanese dish of the same name).

      Of course you can slow grilled meats at Brazilian churrascos -- Bahia Grill (East Somerville) and Oliveira's (East Boston) are decent economical choices where you pay by the weight.

      8 Replies
      1. re: limster

        I've had empanadas at a few places, but none all that good. I went to Cafe Brasil over this last weekend and was not wholy impressed. I actually think Greenfields (the all-you-can-stuff-down-your-pie-hole Brasilian) was better. The empanadas at Cafe Brasil were also lackluster, the fillings where either dry or tasted day-old.

        I'll have to check out Tango, sounds like its my only bet around here.

        1. re: Nechushtan

          Definitely try the hot made-to-order ones at La Mamma. If they attempt to sell you one from the display case/heat lamp, run away.

          1. re: Dax

            La Mamma is right near me, I'll have to swing by tonight and pick up a selection to try.

          2. re: Nechushtan

            Tango does everything on a charbroiler as far as I can tell, so I wouldn't call it slow roasted. They also are a bit pricey for what they are, although I think their seasoning is excellent and things like the skirt steak come out well, the ribs tough. Its the best we have and a decent experience.

            Probably your most consistent slow-roasted meat in town is going to be Pork shoulder, which is regularly offered on Brazilian buffets and other places like Izzy's (much different seasoning from Argentina, though) also do an excellent job.

            Green Field can be excellent and is the one churrascaria currently offering beef ribs in the boston area (oven roasted I believe), plus they offer Fraldinho (skirt steak)... so it is the closest you will get Argentine cuts in a Brazilian rest. I have, however, had a really awful meal there and they seem to really be skimping on the food so its not on the recommended list for now. For churrasco, I would go with limster that the simpler less expensive places are better. My picks would be Churrasco Grill or Gauchao in Somerville, or Picanhas or Sal e Brasa in Everett. (Bahia Grill I find really lackluster for churrasco, not so good salgadinhos, and good offerings on the buffet on days when there is plenty of turnover.)

            Brazilian empanadas are always baked, not fried and your best bet for these would probably be a Brazilian bakery. I would tend to avoid the shrimp ones. There are several places which fry "pastels" to order, including Pastelaria Broadway and Petiscos in Somerville. Also fried are rissoles, which are have a similar dough to a coixinha, but are rarely fried to order. Muqueca has some nice salgadinhos. I usually eat off the bar menu at Cafe Brasil, but do not think a whole lot about their salgadinhos. The snacks I like there are frango a passarinho, torresmo (bit hit or miss), sometimes the linguica. Their churrasco offering is pretty bad, but one thing special they offer is tutu mineiro, and the fango c/quaibo and feijoada are pretty good.

            1. re: itaunas

              great info, thanks!

              I enjoy the Brazilian in general, though I find the spices a little too strong and over power the meat, Argentinian spices I find are more complimentary.

              1. re: Nechushtan

                I was under the impression that at brazilian rodizos the meat is only seasoned with salt....are you referring to the empanadas?

                1. re: Nechushtan

                  There is quite a wide variety of seasonings for churrasco.

                  Picanha (a horseshoe-shaped cut with a rind of fat) is usually seasoned with only sal grosso which is sprinkled on and then theoretically knocked off before slicing.

                  A whole rack of beef ribs is often coated with an even larger coating of coarse salt, so that it forms a crust while roasting and can be peeled/scraped off when done. (A whole picanha done this way is also excellent)

                  There also are coarse salts which have other flavors, such as garlic and black pepper.

                  Alcatra (the cut just below picanha) is often either marinaded or sometimes studded with garlic.

                  The most common marinade is vinha d'alhos, which is closest to a portuguese marinade. This is often used with pork and chicken hearts. There is a variety of other marinades -- lime based, soy sauce, just oil & garlic, even mayonaise based (this is more common than you think and the pork loin at Churrascaria Rodeo in Woburn was done this way). Sazon is often used in sausage and most of the pre-seasoned meats at brazilian butchers use this.

                  So the basic seasoning is coarse salt and the two cuts most touted as the "real churrasco" are usually only seasoned with coarse salt, but at a rodezio you will often encounter other seasonings.

                  1. re: Nechushtan

                    Cool -- many thanks for the informative rundown.

            2. Ole in Inman is good mexican.

              1. Personally, there's no Mexican restaurant in Boston proper that does anything for me. My fav is Mexico (in Providence), and I think Mexico Lindo in Melrose is pretty good (it took a fellow Chowhound to convert me to the place). I went to school at Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles, so I share your good-Mexican withdrawal pains.

                1. I agree that many, if not most, Mexican restaurants in the Boston area are average at best. My favorites are El Sarape in Braintree, Mexico Lindo in Melrose, Taqueria La Mexicana in Somerville, and, yes, Mexico Garibaldi in Providence (thanks, BostonBob, for the tip on that place). I have been spoiled by all the incredible Mexican places in the San Diego area, though. Some of the dumpy little taco shacks by the side of the road in North County are miles above anything in this area, and the nicer Mexican restaurants in the San Diego area? There's just no comparison. I really wish Fidel's in Solana Beach would open a branch in Boston... :-)

                  As for Argentinian food, I do like Tango in Arlington. They have excellent steaks there, in my opinion. Not sure as to its authenticity, though.