Buenos Aires - best steak in the city (!?)
ok, was just being provocative in the title. thing is, i don't like standard american steakhouses. even peter luger's doesn't hit the spot for me. i like the bacon there. but i don't need a flinstone's size of unseasoned meat. for steaks i usually prefer a small delicate cut at a high end french restaurant. but recently i've been introduced to the fine art of argentinian asado ...
so, to relive the experience, i did some "research" and found this place in east village. thankfully they didn't disappoint me.
- $20+ for a 16oz steak that is more flavorful, juicy and tender than any other steak i've had in a restaurant in NY, and it comes with fries/salad. if size is a concern they have 32oz versions too.
- inexpensive wines (good selection of melbec)
- the fries suck, but it comes free with the steak (you can opt for mashed potato or salad instead, which would be wise)
full lowdown. we had:
- a $65 bottle of melbec. i don't know my wine well enough but it's on special (reduced from $120) and i was in the mood for splurge. certainly wouldn't pay over $100 for the bottle but it did taste better than an average $40+ bottle. (there were plenty in the $40s range, and i suppose they would be decent because the list is pretty focused - on melbec of course)
- calamari salad: very nice. tender calamari, lightly grilled, not charred. lightly dressed rocket salad. only comes with rings of the calamari body. would have liked it more if they use the leg parts, and grill it whole. but that's a personal preference.
- skirt steak: they recommend medium well but i had it medium. not your standard flame-charred steak, this is argentinian-style which means it should be cooked in low heat, to bring out the flavor and keep the meat moist and juicy. they did an excellent job. fries on the side sucked. like it was refried too many times. gf said it was in the lowest 20% of fries in this country.
- ribs: also exellent. also had it medium. this one could have listened to the guy and have it medium well because there's quite a lot of fat. had salad on the side instead, which was decent.
the waiter was a little slow. but that's just him i guess. the busboys were rather attentive. despite the moderate wine "splurge", the bill didn't hurt (something like $130 for 2 before tip). and i left a happy man.
looking forward to going there again soon to try out the chorizo and other appz
513 E 6th St, New York, NY 10009
I was somewhat less enthusiastic after my visit there. I thought the steak was fine in the way that a good supermarket steak can be fine if it's cooked nicely. We're not talking steakhouse grade beef here.
On the plus side it's a relative bargain so it's certainly a good deal if you're in the neighborhood and aren't picky. The room gets noisy when it's full so take that into consideration.
I went with a friend a while back and thought while it was decent enough, it was nowhere near the level of good steakhouses. I haven't had Peter Luger steak yet (finally tried the burger the other day, phenomenal) but my porterhouse from Keens was definitely a league above anything served at Buenos Aires. Of course, different people have different tastes and all that stuff.
yeah maybe my steakhouse comparison was a bad one. this really isn't a traditional steakhouse as such and shouldn't be compared. my guess is if you liked keens you'll certainly like peter luger better than buenos aires. it's a different kind of food almost.
bob martinez, allegedly they important their meats from latin america (uruguay?). but no i wasn't thinking that the meat itself was top grade. it's the low heat grill and the way they prepared it that turned me on. it was flavorful, juicy and tender. i'm yet to figure out how to do it at home. but i guess a lot of people look for something else in a steak, like charredness, which obviously is missing in this kind of asado prep
I hope I didn't sound unduly harsh about Buenos Aires. It's a nice alternative in the neighborhood.
If you like Argentine restaurants you may want to try out Azul at 152 Stanton St. It's smaller than BA but less noisy. The cuisine is similar but I think Azul executes better. Prices are similar as well. I think you'll like it.
It gets busy but they take reservations. Give it a try.
513 E 6th St, New York, NY 10009