Once upon a time, calle Arroyo was just a place where you’d go to window shop for expensive antiques or drink free champagne out of plastic flutes for Gallery Nights. However, thanks to those brave souls that saw potential for a fabulous foodie future, the past few years have brought a fresh crop of delicious business to the barrio.
By this point we’re all familiar with Florería Atlántico and the magic it entails. The place is now so popular that locals are forced to hover around the entrance in line with Brazilian tourists and other curious travelers, yearning for a coveted seat somewhere, anywhere that’s free. It’s still one of the best watering holes in town, but as with everything in life, it never hurts to spice things up and forge ahead.
Enter Brasero Atlántico, Florería’s laid back little brother. After months of intrigue and patience, the much-awaited sibling made its quiet debut just a couple of weeks ago, right next door.
At first glance, one might not notice much difference between the two, but in true second child fashion, Brasero proves to be more relaxed, free of pretension, and to-the-point than Florería. Its menu is short and sweet, focusing on grilled specialties and traditional Argentine dishes (think vitel toné, lengua a la vinagreta, and paté) served alongside homemade accompaniments like pickled peppers, spicy chimichurri, and roasted veg.
Upon arrival, it’s a tight squeeze, your only option being to sit at one of the tall stools before sidling up to the bar. At once you’re thrust into this more intimate environment; older men sipping on their vermut discuss the latest fútbol match while younger couples get to know each other over a glass of wine. Despite this, you feel less like an intruder and more like just another guest at the table.
Big picture windows provide ample views of the action outside (a welcome change from Florería’s subterranean secrecy) and vases of flowers lend a bit of contrast and color to the indoor landscape.
When it comes time to chow down, there’s a variety of options that allow you to mix and match as you please. To start, we ordered morcilla, provoleta, and empanadas (filling du jour varies; we were treated to venison). Everything but the provoleta blew us away: the blood sausage was incredible smooth and velvety and bloody and magical, the spiced venison sealed in a buttery, flaky, delicious homemade dough that blew our minds.
Cuts of meat available vary depending on what’s market fresh, though you’ll always have a choice between beef, pork, and chicken. We bypassed the ojo de bife in favor of a slow-cooked and shredded pork creation that was out of this world (even more so with a drizzle of the chimichurri on top). Add some pickled ajíes and a roasted sweet potato to the mix, and we were in business. Extra points for the different jars of house condiments on the bar, ripe for the taking. I recommend the chickpeas and the chimi, full stop.
Desserts are no-frills and focus on flavorful nostalgia. Our warm brioche with pistachio ice cream was a sweet end to a great meal.
Service is friendly and welcoming, and you won’t have to wait long for your food to make its appearance. Thanks to a solid ventilation system, you won’t leave smelling like brasas or smoky meat goodness either, an issue that is more likely to happen at Florería.
For the time being, reservations aren’t accepted so be sure to plan accordingly. Given the limitations of the space, it’s not an ideal spot for big groups (unless maybe you book the whole damn restaurant). This could change, but for now it’s cash and MasterCard only. Thankfully, it’s a budget friendly spot so you won’t need to throw down too many Evitas just to pay the check.
Brasero Atlántico celebrates the simple, the grilled, and the homemade. It really is a winning combination, one that brings everything back to basics in the best way possible. Selfishly, I hope it doesn’t become the new “it” spot, so I won’t have to fight some tourist for a spot at the bar. I know, I know, sharing is caring, right? But this little jewel feels like it was created exclusively for its vecinos looking for a respite from the stress of everyday life.
Arroyo 882 – Retiro
Open for lunch and dinner
*Currently does not take reservations. Cash and MasterCard only.