Sunday, May 13, 2012

El Mirasole

Although I usually make the effort to cross town to track down some regional specialty or hidden local treat, some nights a simple place I can walk to is in order. Luckily in Buenos Aires you don't have to go very far. Less than 3 blocks away from my hotel is El Mirasol, one of a small chain (5 locations) in BA serving grilled meats and multiple varieties of fried empanadas.
A bit more expensive than many of the excellent parillas (grill restaurants) in the capitol city, El Mirasol's locations are a favorite lunch spot of businessmen and diplomats -- and open early for dinner (many restaurants don't even open the doors until 8 pm or later), handy for visitors not accustomed to Argentina's late night dinner hour.

The namesake flower on the restaurant's napkins. White tablecloths and careful, formal, French style service are the norm at Argentina's traditional, better restaurants. The informality of cheerful servers introduced by name has, perhaps mercifully, not caught on here.

I started with a "gaucha" (cowgirl) salad, a mix of potatoes, broad beans, beets and tomatoes all tossed in olive oil dressing. Delicious with just a sprinkle of salt.

I started, as I generally do, with grilled sweetbread -- mojellas. These were crisp and sweet and delicious -- though maybe not the mind-blowing flavor of La Brigada's version.

Another of my usual standbys. chinchulines -- grilled intestine. Though super tasty these didn't have quite the exterior crunch I crave. I think this is one dish perhaps better served in the back alley dives and lower end restaurants. It needs no dressing up.

EntraƱa. Grilled skirt steak. A little rare for my taste but packed with flavor.

After. Again.

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