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Cabaña Las Lilas 15/30

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Meat quality
Meat preparation


Alicia Moreau de Justo 516
C1107AAL - Buenos Aires
Tel: 4313.1336

The morning after gorging myself at Pura Sangre, a friend arrived from Toronto looking for Spring and some steak. The previous tenant had recommended Cabaña Las Lilas as his favorite place and the guidebook concurred, so off we went from Recoleta to the modern waterfront of Buenos Aires. I figured given the performance the local place, Las Lilas would be epic.

The waterfront had that renovated, modern look, reminiscent of many revitalized American cities, and the restaurant had a sense of contrived busyness, also seemingly imported. Once inside, the lack of football was instantly apparent. Any restaurant in the U.S. with this atmosphere would have had wall-to-wall TVs playing the football at loud volumes, or in the off season basketball, and this immediately improved my mood. In addition, unlike the American versions, where the food all comes from the same warehouse in California, Cabaña Las Lilas is the restaurant front of a top exporter of beef and promised the renounced Argentine fare with expert preparation. Unfortunately, it seems the best beef, along with the best waiters, had already departed for the border.

The meal began with an assortment of appetizers which were very good: mushrooms with some light melted cheese, mozzarella balls, calamari, and grilled tomatoes. I ordered the ribeye rare, as I’d been warned that the Argentines tend to overcook. The steak that came was a little too fatty, the frites were a little overdone, and the salad wasn’t crisp. The grilled vegetables looked great, but didn’t have much taste. The portions were also not ridiculous, as I had been lead to expect. The highlight of the meal was by far the $10 half bottle of 1995 Montchenot, which was as good as any casual wine found in France.

If an effective generic strategy is under-promise over-deliver, Las Lilas missed the boat. It may be a good place to hang out and bring visiting friends, and it was definitely a solid meal, but the fare was disappointing given the reputation.

Submitted by DO Jr.
October 16, 2005


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