So Be It

2007.Sep.21 Friday · 6 comments

in Restaurants

 Si dice di una cosa che succede per caso, o meglio in modo inaspettato.”

– Slangopedia

Buenos Aires – Loosely, I’d translate the above as “You say this when something just happens, or happens in an unexpected manner.” The word being defined is damblee, and, it happens to be the name of a new discovery here in the restaurant world that some friends recently made and introduced me to over lunch the other day… for my birthday. I was a little surprised as I approached Damblee, Av. Rivadavia 3402 [In 2011 moved across the street to #3401.], at the corner of Sanchez de Loria in Balvanera, 4861-1629… I’ve walked past the spot many a time – bright orange awnings rolled out over the sidewalk, wi-fi zone signs plastered on the windows, a café, a coffee shop, nothing special… it was my birthday after all… Did I really want the usual milanesas, overcooked pastas, a few grill items, sandwiches… we all know the drill.

Not.

The ambiance, yes… even after eating there I could have been sitting in any coffee shop anywhere. The food and service, simply, unexpectedly delightful. Damblee, you know?

Damblee - boquerones

The places specializes in fish. All sorts of fish. Vaguely in a Mediterranean style, but that’s pretty mixed, and runs from Portugal to Spain to France to Italy, and probably the occasional other as well. The owner, Gustavo, loves to take charge of your experience, despite having a friendly, competent, efficient staff, who take brilliant care of the tables. Still, he’s on top of every detail – every plate that comes out of the kitchen goes past his watchful eye, he rushes over to tables to recommend just the perfect wine (and he’s got a great wine list), even to the level of sending a porter up the stairs to completely clean the bathrooms every 45 minutes or so. At the recommendation of my friends, we put ourselves in his hands, and were treated to a parade of plates – and not shy on the portions – starting with some nibbles – delicious slices of pizza with some of the best mozzarella I’ve had on one since getting here, little bruschetta with black olive tapenade, and then on to a plate of boquerones – I love the things, but even I couldn’t handle a platter this size… there were only three of us eating! And side by side with that, we each got a plate with a nice sized trout fillet marinated in lemon and toasted almonds. From there, it was on to mid-course sized portions of a perfectly cooked penne with salmon and a lightly spicy cream sauce, and then larger sized portions of an equally perfectly done bacalao risotto, surrounded by a ring of piquillo pepper sauce, and a bit of squid ink that had been baked onto the bowls, so it dissolved slowly into the risotto as you eat. He wanted to send more, but we just couldn’t… he insisted we have dessert…

Damblee - burratta and fruit

…a “little dessert”… which turned out to be a plate of cheeses, the centerpiece of which was a fresh burratta, along with a soft creamy cheese, and a salty, sharp romanito, slices of fresh guayaba, dulce of papaya, and then he ladled over the whole thing fresh strawberries that had spent a few hours marinating in aged balsamic vinegar, and then cracking fresh black pepper over the whole thing. Now that’s dessert.

Overall, excellent on the food, if you’re in the owner’s hands, excellent as well, perhaps just “very good” if one of his staff, and an ambiance that, well… damblee…

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

dan November 17, 2007 at 19:27

Have been back to this spot a trio of times now, and each time, whether the owner, Gustavo, is there, or not, it’s been exceptional.

GUSTAVO H.HERRERA May 13, 2012 at 22:13

Lo indispensable siempre esta presente en Damblee, un trato agradable, familiar y sobre todo un lugar para relajarse y disfrutar los exquisitos platos que nos proponen. Un lugar para no dejar de pasar en Buenos Aires.

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