I’ve spent a lot of my time in Buenos Aires driving through Palermo Soho and Hollywood looking for parking spaces. As I circle the blocks, praying to some nonexistent god for a spot to open up, I’ve seen a lot of restaurants. Many come and go, some look more enticing than others, and several places are placed on my mental list for future eating.
The Experiencia Fin del Mundo restaurant is no different. I’d been past it many times, at first confused – I thought maybe it was home to the commercial offices of the Bodega Fin del Mundo – and then thought it would definitely be worth a try at least solely based on its lovely exterior (think dark woods, sassy mood lighting, and a recessed entryway with covered tables outdoors). After seeing something on the restaurant’s Facebook page about a special Patagonic tasting menu highlighting the bounty of Argentina’s wild South, we made a reservation and prepped our panzas.
I can’t really say no to five- or six-course meals with wine pairings, but I did have high expectations. For a restaurant with such a lovely interior I was hoping the food would be equally as top-notch. While that wasn’t the case, we still had a lovely evening, mainly thanks to the great wines.
Our first course was a trout empanada, though it was more like a tempura-esque batter rather than dough. It was light and tasty, however, and the dough wasn’t soggy whatsoever. The little microgreens were a nice accompaniment (usually they’re kind of just there). Following the empanada, we had another – though this time more traditional – version of trout. It was well-cooked and flavorful, though it would have been nice not to repeat the trout, at least to mix things up and give your palate something new. But the fish was good, so I’ll let it slide.
Next up we had a sort of chivito that was also wrapped in a dough, much more like an actual empanada than the first course. To be honest, I was kind of confused by this whole thing, and while the meat wasn’t bad, I found it a little fatty and had a hard time understanding the presentation.
We were then served a sequence of desserts. The first was my favorite, a little piece of cheesecake served on a spoon. Simple and creamy, with a nice raspberry touch. Then we had this apple thing that reminded me of baby food, but the ice cream alongside was spectacular. A lot like gelato but even creamier. Very good. Finally we had a chocolate tart with some more apple and a berry sorbet. I was confused about the apple since I don’t think it really melds well with chocolate, but the sorbet was OK.
Overall, the food left me wanting more. Not in terms of quantity, as the portions were spot-on and left me satisfied. However, the rest of the flavors just didn’t hold up compared to everything else – the ambiance, the service, and the wines. I would have been happier with perhaps something much simpler – a perfectly grilled piece of fish or steak, with some nice vegetables and something chocolatey for dessert – that focused on quality above all.
The wines were all part of Fin del Mundo’s NQN label, which were surprisingly good. All were well-chosen for each course and the pours were more than generous. I actually wasn’t even able to finish all of the wine by the end – something that almost never happens. With dessert we had a champagne cocktail with a bit of mashed fruit and a splash of vodka. Pretty sure that one did me in and is the reason that I was barely functioning at work the next day.
So, let’s discuss. Would I go back? Most likely, though not for a set-menu event that is that overpriced. I’d choose it for an easy yet intimate mid-week dinner and as an excuse to drink some nice wines from Patagonia in a cozy yet sleek setting. The service was up to snuff, and you can tell that the place runs like a well-oiled machine without losing a personal touch. However, the food itself was a bit of a let-down and might need another taste test to see what the final verdict is.
Experiencia Fin del Mundo
Honduras 5673 – Palermo Hollywood
Monday – Friday 12-4pm & 8pm-12:30am