Astor’s 1st Birthday Celebration

Astor Bistro Buenos Aires

Astor Bistro has gotten nothing but good press since its opening last year. Luckily, these accolades haven’t gone to its head as the restaurant continues to serve beautiful food in a friendly space tucked away from the noise and circus that is Palermo.

A couple of weeks ago, the Comando Gourmand was lucky enough to visit Astor for a little birthday celebration. After all, what better way to ring in a year of success with great food, lots of wine, and an amazing group of people? We kicked things off with an aperitivo at the hand of Pablo, Astor’s skilled sommelier and charismatic host, before sitting down to a complete tasting menu at the hand of chef Antonio Soriano.

To start, the Comando dove into smoked venison with a poached egg, velvety pumpkin soup with a touch of pimetón, the most delicious trout I’ve ever tasted with pickled and pureed beets with goat cheese. We continued on with a white riverfish (Rubí?) over fennel puree with bok choy, Brussels sprouts, peas and a touch of wasabi – definitely one of the favorites of the night. This was followed by ojo de bife, corn, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and ‘shrooms, and topped off with wild boar, lentils and peppers.

After a brief interlude (mostly marked by exclamations of “I am so full I might explode, but this is so good I can’t stop eating”), it was time for dessert. First, one of the greatest combinations of all time: banana, chocolate, and dulce de leche. Suddenly I’m a kid again and my taste buds are overjoyed. Next, a cold strawberry mousse served with fresh fruit to cleanse the palate and trick you into thinking that you didn’t just stuff yourself silly. Perfection.

Despite the gluttony, there was a final surprise in store. Though we’re usually the ones being wined and dined, the Comando decided to show some love for the Astor team with a homemade chocotorta (courtesy of yours truly). Since it’s physically impossible for me to be understated when it comes to celebration, a candle that shot out sparks and a glittery sign that said “Feliz Cumple” were included for dramatic flair. We gathered around together and sang Happy Birthday to Astor, with wishes for many more years of full bellies and happy hearts.

Feliz Cumple Astor

It was a great night, perfect from start to finish. There’s nothing better celebrating the success of friends, especially when that celebration includes a feast fit for kings. Gracias, Astor!

El Comando at Astor BistroAstor Bistro
Ciudad de la Paz 353 – Belgrano
Monday-Friday 8pm-12:30am
4554-0802

Advertisements

Roux-la-la

Oysters at Roux

It’s not always easy to find a neighborhood spot with enough elegance to add some glam to an otherwise humdrum Saturday night. Put your hands together for Roux, the hot new ticket in town from Martín Rebaudino (ex-Oviedo, a BA classic known for its impeccable food and service), which offers up contemporary Argentine cuisine on a cozy corner with big picture windows in Recoleta.

The current trend of focusing on market-fresh, locally-sourced ingredients has done nothing but yield excellent results (see: Aramburu Bis, Astor, etc.), and Roux continues to carry the torch, displaying a real flair for technique and presentation. It’s a place you can take someone if you want to impress, but it won’t intimidate those who don’t necessarily have a Ph.D in alta cocina.

Starters include a llama carpaccio, live oysters (nearly impossible to find in Buenos Aires, save for just a couple of places), egg poached at 63C served with seasonal veg, and lentil ragout with grilled chipirones.

For mains, choose from a nice variety of rice/pastas – risotto with baby squid and saffron, shrimp and pumpkin ravioli – red meat, poultry, and fish. If you’re lucky, you’ll be there on a night that red tuna is available, another otherwise elusive treat hard to find in these parts. The magret de canard, wild boar, and squid risotto were incredible, both well presented and cooked to perfection.

If you still have room for dessert, dive into the chocolate “nemesis” or the homemade ice cream. (Sadly when I went, the kumquats were no longer available, which would have been my first choice.)

Service is extremely attentive – for such a small space you’ll be surprised at the amount of waitstaff – if not a little wet behind the ears. It’s clear that some are new at this, but their friendly and helpful attitude make up for any minor slips. The space itself is extremely cozy but well-appointed, with nice lighting and sound-absorbing foam underneath the tables and chairs. (Try to avoid the two tables by the front door if you want to have a little more peace during your meal.)

Overall, Roux won me over with its mix of informal elegance, fantastic cuisine, and quality service. It’s a perfect spot for a romantic dinner or an upscale lunch that will satisfy your craving for gourmet goodness without any of the pretension.

Courtesy of Roux

Courtesy of Roux

Roux
Peña 2300, Recoleta
4805-6794
Monday – Saturday 12:30-3:30 & 8-Midnight
Reservations recommended