Ocho Once

As I’ve talked about previously, puerto cerradas (closed door) restaurants are all the rage in Buenos Aires.  I had read about one that I knew I wanted to check out called Ocho Once so I set up a reservation for Saturday night.  After my usual back and forth about my garlic aversion, I was told to show up at 9PM at a place that turned out to be very close to loft.  As usual, there was no sign or any indication that a restaurant was behind the door of a typical neighborhood flat.

The restaurant was spread out into a series of small rooms, including what I believe must have been the garage at one point.

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It was nice out so I opted to sit in the patio.  The only problem with that as I soon discovered, was that the light was very low, making my usual food porn shots tricky.  It also prevented me from getting a decent shot of what the patio actually looked like.  They invited me into the kitchen and explained the concept of the restaurant – a mix of French techniques with South American ingredients and traditions.

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The menu – 5 courses – was only $200 pesos along with $25 pesos for a glass of really good Malbec – a steal.  Unfortunately, due to the low light, the first course, which was a very nice play on ceviche, was not to be documented.  However, the chef, seeing my difficulties trying to get my pics, graciously allowed me to use a flash for the rest of the courses.

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Next up was a lemon risotto with grilled sweetbreads.  I’m not a huge sweetbreads fan but these were quite good.  The acid from the lemon was much needed to cut through the richness of the sweetbreads.  This wasn’t my favorite course but I could appreciate the technique and effort that went into it.

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The 3rd course was a bit of a palette cleanser – brie with warm strawberries, arugula and balsamic vinegar.  The chef explained that this was to “reset” our mouths, which it did quite nicely.

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The main course was an organic steak with chimichurri with a Malbec jus and humita (a local corn and potato mash that is used in locro, an Argentine staple.)  The steak was very juicy and tender.  The humita was a nice twist on the usual potato accompaniment with a steak.

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Finally, for dessert, the chef brought out a frozen mango cheesecake, grilled peaches and and smear of blackberries.  The cheesecake was a bit tough to eat as it really was frozen – making a loud CLANK every time I tried to cut through.  That sound was heard echoing around the restaurant so I wasn’t the only one having trouble with it.  While I’m not really a mango fan, in this form, it was delicious and the warm peach was delicious as well.

It was another superb meal at any price let alone one this inexpensive.  I will definitely miss being able to have such quality food at a fraction of what I would be paying back in the States.

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