Energy and Steak

2005.Dec.15 Thursday · 4 comments

in Drink, Restaurants

Miranda - open kitchenBuenos Aires – Several local friends had asserted that the parrilla Miranda, Costa Rica 5602, in Palermo, was a must. One or two even claimed it was likely the best parrilla in the city. That’s a pretty big claim in a city that specializes in steakhouses. Having heard it more than once, I’d decided to go, and we gathered together a group of five us and headed there a couple of nights ago. Right off the bat I like the atmosphere. One of the things that I find a lot in steakhouses here is much of what is found in steakhouses in many major cities – a certain level of stuffiness, and often a large number of older waiters who are bored with their jobs and want to make sure you know it. Miranda is completely different – it’s certainly the most energetic, vibrant steakhouse I’ve been in here. The style is modern industrial, with high vaulted ceilings and painted concrete walls. Decor is minimal, tables are large and comfortable, and one entire wall is dominated by an open kitchen. The staff is young, attractive, and multilingual as, for the most part, is the clientele.

Miranda - hanger steak with its decorThe quality of the food coming out of the kitchen is quite good. Is it the best steak in the city? No. But it’s well above the norm. There’s a tendency to be a little arty with the plating, but that fits the venue. Nonetheless, garnishing touches like four, count them four, criss-crossed french fries on a plate is the kind of art I find dubious. For the most part the portions are more than adequate, the one exception being the quarter of a roast chicken. The anorexic (though flavorful) portion of a chicken breast was definitely less than adequate. I’m getting better at tossing a little New York attitude into my Spanish, though I had no plans to go overboard, as our waiter had been cheerful and accommodating, but I still managed something to the effect of “on what planet would THAT qualify as a quarter of a chicken?” Within a minute a second half a chicken breast had arrived at the table, along with an apology, bringing the dish up to a decent size.

Miranda - provelataAs I said, the quality of the food, especially the meat, was quite good. The one and only exception, the provoleta, that favorite appetizer here of a grilled slab of provolone topped with olive oil, oregano, and generally a little red pepper. This particular version was doused in salt and oregano, and little could be tasted other than those two flavors. A shame, as we enjoyed everything else so much.

We enjoyed a bottle of Fond de Cave Malbec Reserva 2003 with dinner. A rich, ripe style, with a touch of oak and some nice spice, this wine is a bargain find (even at a restaurant price of just under 40 pesos). Definitely one to pick up if you spot it, and a quick internet search shows prices around $8-10 in the U.S.

Miranda - pastellitos de banana con chocolateDesserts were in order for at least three of us, and we sampled a quite good fruit salad, a passable cheesecaked with a mixed red fruit sauce, and an excellent plate of pastellitos de banana con chocolate – deep fried pillows of dough filled with sweetened banana and sprinkled with sugar, dipped in a creamy dark chocolate sauce. I love good banana desserts and this one was excellent!

Overall, a genuinely enjoyable experience, made more so by the company. Still, despite not being “the best” parrilla in the city in terms of food, it’s clearly one I’ll be back to – both for its reasonable prices and its electric vibe.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

dan February 2, 2006 at 11:32

Miranda entrana with saladI’ve been back to Miranda, and have enjoyed it even more at lunchtime. It’s clearly a popular place, both for the food and ambiance, and the staff. Interestingly, and something you could never get away with back in “the States,” they’re currently advertising for waitstaff – amongst the list of qualifications that include past experience, references, and living in the Capitol, is one for “we will only hire people up to 28 years old”. It’s one way of keeping their young, fresh, attractive staff.

Miranda - empanada with hot sauceSome notes that I didn’t pick up on in the original review. Miranda has a bar that you can sit at and eat. At dinner that’s probably impossible as it is 2-deep with people either waiting for tables or just drinking. At lunch it’s a nice option for dining alone or as a pair. Miranda has a cruvinet system that I hadn’t noticed – actually I don’t know if it’s cruvinet brand, but basically it’s a wine on tap system – a selection of 15 bottles by the glass that are kept fresh by the system and can be drawn off as needed. Miranda has no cubierto which is the common “cover charge” for just sitting down in a restaurant in Buenos Aires – anywhere from 1-5 pesos per person to cover stuff like bread, silverware, and taking up real estate – something I object to but have gotten used to.

Miranda - flan with dulce de lecheMaybe they saw my note, or maybe others complained, or maybe it’s just different at lunch, but I’ve seen entrees coming out with piles of french fries and/or full salads rather than the skimpy servings of the first time. The empanadas are served with a side of actual hot sauce that’s actually spicy – first, serving empanadas with sauce is unusual here (I think the only other place I’ve seen it as at El Federal), second, spicy is as well. Lastly, Miranda serves one of the best flans I’ve had in Buenos Aires, accompanied by a lovely scoop of dulce de leche.

Steve March 22, 2008 at 21:11

We had quite a disappointing experience at Miranda last night, we had been there last year and had enjoyed the food and atmosphere, however this time, despite ordering a Veg parrillara as an “entrada” all our food (beef chorizo & lamb) arrived at the same time – quite an impressive amount of food on the table but not what we required. We sent back the carne only for them to keep it warm and most likely ruining the muy hugoso steak. The meat appeared again before we had finshed the veggies with the waiter saying it was getting cooked!, by now we were seriously fed up up so sent the food away again and got the bill, my main course ended up as mini bar pretzels as it was too late to go elsewhere. We were fairly dispondent and fractious by then anyway as we trudged home in yet another downpour! we felt rushed and it was not as if they had lots of people waiting for tables. the only high point was a nice bottle of Luna Mabec (60 peso) thanks for the Fin del Mundo pinot noir recommendation, a very nice wine which I am going to track down in the UK, cheers Steve

dan March 23, 2008 at 09:13

Sorry to hear that the timing on your meal ruined the experience for you. On the flip side, it’s not that uncommon here in BsAs to not really have that much of a separation, if any, between courses (not just here, but throughout South America) – I’ve just gotten used to food arriving all at the same time or in reverse order, or various other combinations – it’s part of living here, part of the style, and something that’s… just the way it is – the whole appetizer/main course thing is a very European/North American concept – and not that you have to, but I recommend just relaxing and going with it.

Still, it’s been awhile since I’ve been to Miranda, so maybe worth a revisit to see how things are.

Steve March 25, 2008 at 18:14

Hi Dan
We were kinda getting used to the mains arriving fairly swiftly after the “entrada” but not at the same time!, especially as we had ordered a main to share to begin with (we like our veg fix before the carne!) To their credit our waiter did apologise and we parted on a hand shake and also something we have noted on our two trips to Argentina (7 weeks in total) is that if you are unhappy with the food etc it never appears on the bill. Faith was restored the next night with a brilliant meal at Bar Uriate and I can also recommend one of our favourite wines Clos de los Seite which we enjoyed there and at the very consistant Don Julio, which we think has some of the best tasting meat in BA, though not as trendy as some places. As my partner Jean and I are now firm Argentinophiles we must share our favourite London Argnentine restaurant with your readers, Buen Ayre in Hackney, http://www.buenayre.co.uk . We hope to be able to return to Argentina soon as one of the best things about the country are the Argentine people, which are some of the warmest and friendly folks on the planet.

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