Cabernet & the End of the World

2005.Aug.19 Friday · 3 comments

in Drink, Food & Recipes, Restaurants

Buenos Aires – Jet lag apparently hit home for Maureen and she didn’t arise until late morning yesterday, by which time I was in class. We hooked up in the afternoon and took a wander into Palermo “Hollywood”, the fun-trendy area of Palermo. Cabernet restaurantAfter a bit of wandering, neither of us having done much in the way of anything for breakfast, we spotted a cute little garden in front of the restaurant Cabernet, Jorge L. Borges, 1757. I’ve seen plenty of write-ups for their great winelist, but didn’t know much about their cuisine (which turns out to be described as de autor, or “from the author/composer”, i.e., we have whatever the chef feels like making. Despite warnings from the waiter that we were going to “freeze” in the winter air (it was roughly 68°F and climbing), we opted to sit in the sunshine in the garden. Several other folk wandered in during our lunch and started to sit outside as well, only to end up heading in with mutterings that could only be interpreted as references to our sanity.

The winelist is, indeed, amazing. It’s extensive, pretty comprehensive in regard to Argentinian wine, and other than some imported bottles, was not outrageously priced. Not inexpensive, but probably appropriate to a fine dining situation. The menu is also fairly extensive, and the types of cuisine ranged all over the globe. There’s a leaning towards the use of sweet sauces – several items incorporated honey, a couple coconut, and some fruit. I’m not going to go into great detail for each dish – they were all beautifully plated, and with one exception, outstanding. Service was impeccable. I’ll let the photos and menu descriptions speak to the experience. Bodega del Fin del Mundo Pinot NoirWe also decided to have a bottle of wine, the 2003 Bodega del Fin del Mundo Pinot Noir (Winery at the End of the World), a winery I’ve mentioned before, but this is the first time I’ve seen this particular wine here. The wine is a big, rich, “new world” style Pinot. I doubt anyone would pick it as Argentine if tasted blind – leaning towards one of those lush Oregon styles. It’s got great body, length, and flavor, and was a perfect complement to a meal that meandered around the planet.

Cabernet - smoked salmon and trout salad
Smoked salmon and smoked trout on blini – yum!

Cabernet - langoustine with honey-sesame sauce
Sauteed langoustine (really shrimp, not prawns) with a honey-sesame sauce – double yum!

Cabernet - green salad
A simple “green salad” on the side…

Cabernet - coconut shrimp
Coconut fried shrimp – not so exciting. Borderline flavorless, and way too much salad.

Cabernet - squid ink pasta with salmon
Squid ink pasta with salmon in a dill-cream sauce – absolutely delicious!

Cabernet - panqueque con dulce de leche
Panqueques (crepes) con dulce de leche – dulce de leche is sort of the national dessert down here. It’s caramelized sweetened-condensed milk. This had been lightened a bit and folded inside the crepes which were drizzled with chocolate syrup. Quite good, but not wow.

Cabernet - cinnamon tuile with coffee mousse and syrup
Coffee mousse in a cinnamon tuile cookie – the whole thing surrounded by a moat of coffee syrup. One of the best desserts I’ve had in BsAs so far!

We headed back to our separate abodes for naps… Dinner was light, a simple sauteed chicken breast and some watercress soup (which was simple, and excellent, if I do say so myself…).

3 leeks, trimmed and chopped
2 zucchini, diced (I used the globe ones)
2 large bunches of watercress, stemmed and washed
2 quarts of chicken stock
½ cup milk or cream
2 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and white pepper to taste

Saute the leeks in the butter and oil with a little salt until they are soft. Add the zucchini and continue cooking until also soft. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add the watercress and cook for another 5 minutes. Just before serving, add the milk or cream and adjust the seasoning.

dan November 16, 2009 at 22:02

Looking back at this place, now, four years later, I’ve been back once, about a year after the first visit – and much similar experience, and similar prices – high, but not outrageous – at that time, four years ago, while I couldn’t tell you exactly anymore, my recollection is that appetizers ran in the high teens and main courses in the high 20s. Walked by the place last night, it was packed to the gills, inside and out. Stopped to look at the menu – appetizers now running high 30s, main courses high 60s, essentially 2½ times the prices of four years ago. Now, the inflation rate is about typical of many things here in the city, but, given the slightly higher prices at the start, this has now moved into pretty stiff pricing – a three course meal for two, with a bottle of decent wine, looks like it would run close to AR$150 a person – there are certainly more expensive places in town some more creative, some less, and, obviously, Cabernet was full – not every place we passed was.

Vicki March 2, 2010 at 17:15

Thanks for this review Dan. We enjoyed everything we ate at Cabernet but the appetizers were king: especially the baby calamari. It’s really hard to get squid perfectly tender on the grill: this was perfection on a plate.

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