Happy week, everyone. No holidays for a while, so to deal with the letdown let’s talk Mongolian BBQ. Of course it has nothing to do with Mongolia (more like Taiwan), and there isn’t a lot of actual barbecuing going on, but those are minor details. What it really means is lots of fresh vegetables, a meat of your choice, noodles, and sauces all sizzled to perfection on a huge griddle that only the Mongolian master knows how to handle. And a perfect lunch or dinner option is finally available in Argentina, tucked away in Recoleta that is sure to become a local favorite.
Gengis’s House opened recently in Recoleta, next door to The Cupcake Store. I think it might be kismet. And I gotta say, it’s one of the best damn deals in town – AR$39 for a huge bowl (no limits on weight or amount of add-ins) of piping hot Mongolian goodness, and for just AR$1 more, you get two glasses of refreshing lemonade on the side. It’s a hearty, filling lunch that doesn’t break the bank and won’t leave you feeling woozy for the rest of the afternoon.
I met up with a friend who works in the area and at first was a bit perplexed by the space itself – very open, lots of room and tables, with a lovely/random homemade bow & arrow logo hanging up above. It wasn’t crowded, and it seemed that majority of the people eating there were tourists of the Yanqui persuasion. The lone Argentine was drinking a coffee and enjoying some kind of pastry. Don’t let this confuse you – the flyers aim to lure in doubtful locals but assuring them they’ll be able to have something “normal” off the menu – because Gengis’s House is on its way to becoming my new go-to lunch spot.
The service is fast and friendly, and the guy manning the grill is a little ray of sunshine. Most important? You won’t leave smelling of the lunch you just ate – their massive extractor does an incredible job at making the restaurant stink-free and void of all fried smells. And there’s nothing worse than smelling like oily food for the rest of the day.
We went up to the bar, where you start off by choosing a meat – chicken, beef, pork, or venison (extra charge for Bambi). Tofu is also available for the soy lovers. Then you can go to town dumping what seems like infinite ingredients on top (I clearly have issues with self-control at these things. Once at the Union Sq. Whole Foods in New York I got almost 2lbs of Indian food at the hot bar. And of course I ate it all.) Once you’re done with the veggie portion – in addition to green onion, carrots, peppers, mushrooms, sprouts, and more, they also have cilantro, hooray! – you give your bowl to the grillmaster who decides what sauces to put on. Now is the time to be more assertive if you do or don’t want a certain sauce. I had him pour lemon ginger & super spicy all over the place. They also have garlic and soy sauces. It all looked like heaven.
Now you can either return to your seat or drool over the fun part – watching your heaping bowl of creation become a cohesive little lunch. It happens pretty quick (the menu says 2 minutes) and once it’s done you can finish it off with a sprinkling of sesame seeds and a drizzle of ginger sauce.
As we dug in I was so surprised at how light and flavorful my dish was. Sure, there was probably enough food for about 4 actual servings, but the lack of grease made it so much easier to eat. And the sauce! Deliciously spicy and tangy – definitely a plus.
The lemonade was a nice drink to wash it all down – You’d be silly not to get that promo. Where can you pay 40 pesos for that much food (that isn’t a lame attempt at a “salad” or the usual “chicken, arugula, cream cheese” sandwich so common throughout the barrio) and get two drinks? Victory has been achieved, my friends.
As I mentioned before …. with The Cupcake Store just steps away, you’ll already know what to have for dessert. If there’s room, of course.
Riobamba 1179 – Recoleta / Barrio Norte
4815-2333 (No delivery. Take out available)
Open til 11pm