El Baqueano

Address: Chile Nº 495 esquina Bolivar
Phone: 4342-0802

This gem of a restaurant located in San Telmo, a barrio in the city where we rarely get to for dinner. It’s a shame too, because this is a fantastic place to eat. Thank you to Daniel Taddese for your talk at the BAIN June Monthly Meeting for letting us in on this little secret!

Reservations are a must and they don’t print menus.  The inside is modestly decorated but comfortable with a large bar – though it doesn’t look like the bar seats are used much. There is a set “degustacion” that changes every 3 months or so, presented on a chalkboard to each table as you sit down.  The set menu has eight steps for AR$230 with the three supplemental steps available for an additional price per dish.

There is also the wine pairing available for an additional AR$135, we skipped this option but it was an ample amount of wine for the price.

The meal started with a choice of freshly baked oregano or whole grain bread along with an olive oil tasting.  I can’t pretend that my pallet is refined enough to know the difference between the oils, but they were all good with bread and we ate all of them and asked for seconds.

The first step off of the menu started a theme that continued through the meal.  Degustacion de papas was potatoes served a few different ways.  There were mashed, roasted, fried and delicious.

Each step was completely different.  We enjoyed llama, shrimp, deer, beets and all of them made with ingredients from Argentina.  It helped that they were all quite pretty to look at too.

Beets served multiple ways, delicious just like the potatoes, but there is something about pureed beets that makes me think of the opening credits to Dexter.

I also appreciate a pre-dessert palate cleanser.  It doesn’t take away from the dessert, but gives you something sweet prior to the real deal.  This particular course had a great fruit sorbet, topped with peppercorns, a strange and surprisingly solid pairing.

For the next degustacion we had apples.  This time there were more ways than I thought possible to prepare apples on the plate; a fried apple chip, pureed apples, thinly sliced “raw” apples, an apple sorbet, some sort of apple gelatin surrounded by a cold apple broth.  Good, clean, fresh except the gelatin, which is never a good idea in my mind.

The final course, the real dessert was a ying/yang chocolate dish.  The chocolate was rich and tasty, and the presentation was cool, the waitress poured the two sauces at the table, but the white chocolate was a miss.  It was served cold while the dark chocolate was served hot, which added to the fact that in contrast there was no flavor to the white chocolate – it was more milk-y than dessert-y.  Don’t get me wrong, I ate the whole thing, but that would be my response if anyone ever asked :).

This was a great meal, quiet atmosphere and interesting food all at a decent price here in Buenos Aires.  It also gives me more reason to return to San Telmo, a place I rarely go after dark.  Our next visitors looking for a fun place to eat should keep this one in mind!  We will certainly be back.

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