Exquisite

2008.May.22 Thursday · 11 comments

in Restaurants

“Mind you, that’s not to say presentation is everything. At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter how nice your coffee machine is. What counts is the quality of the service that you offer.”

– Peter Bolton-King, chief executive of the National Association of Estate Agents

Buenos Aires – I turn to my Roget’s Thesaurus… entry 674.17… superb, super [slang], superexcellent, supereminent, superfine, exquisite, magnificent, splendid, splendiferous, tremendous, immense, marvelous, wonderful, glorious, divine, heavenly, terrific, sensational; sterling, golden; gilt-edged or gilt-edge [both informal]; of the highest type, of the best sort, of the first water, as good as good can be, as good as they come, as good as they make ’em [informal], out of this world [slang]. Okay, quite a few of those are well over the top, so to speak, and truthfully, the word that came to mind was the title of this post, exquisite. A visiting friend from New York was in and we’d headed to a restaurant that my friend Alex, of Terroir has been recommending for a couple of months now. I hadn’t gotten there. Silly me. Alex is good with food. We entered the converted old brownstone that is now puratierra, 3 de Febrero 1167, in Belgrano, 4899-2007, and found ourselves to be the first to arrive (at nearly 9 p.m.) for the evening meal.

It’s tempting to just pick an illustrative photo, but would it be the cute little amuse bouche of bondiola… or the non-photo-ed trio of dips (hummus, carrot-grapefruit, vegetable cream) for the various freshly baked breads…

puratierra - bondiola amuse bouche

…or perhaps the tender as butter seppolini (baby squid) swimming happily about with their braised vegetables…

puratierra - seppolini

…or maybe the oozing fresh burratta perched atop its tomato compote and tagged with slices of roasted beets…

puratierra - burratta

…or, better yet, the main courses, a succulently moist chicken breast, cascading with finely diced bits of zucchini and black olives in a bit of a garlicky foam…

puratierra - pollack

…or the perfectly grilled piece of corvina (sea bass) atop its roasted tomatoes, carrots, fennel…

puratierra - corvina

…no, wait, the desserts, that would be it, the bitter chocolate gelato with a trio of sauces – caramel, coffee, and cocoa, with scattered bits of sweetened cocoa nibs…

puratierra - chocolate gelato

…or maybe the coconut and white chocolate soup with a scoop of fresh raspberry sorbet and dots of different herb and spice oils….

puratierra - coconut white chocolate soup

Better yet, the attentive, friendly service. Or the nicely lit, handsome room. Or the cozy, comfortable feeling of just sitting there and enjoying a glass of well priced wine off their well selected wine list.

Or perhaps, just to note that it was easily one of the top three meals I’ve had in Buenos Aires over the last three and a half years. [And, before you ask, Maat and Urondo are the other two of those three.] Definitely a special occasion place, as it’s a bit pricey – with a bottle of moderately priced wine it ran us 240 pesos for two – but worth every centavo (that my friend spent, since he, thank you Allan, picked up the check).

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

tom frost May 23, 2008 at 08:02

We went there awhile ago and had a great meal but I don’t remember the food looking so nice–I must learn to eat more slowly and I think your pictures will take me there again sooner than later! The presentation is nice but you did great work with the photography. Curious, what kind of camera are you using? It looks like you are using a flash, does anyone ever look twice at you–especially in nicer restaurants? The baby squid picture and desert picture are my favorites. Nice work!

dan May 23, 2008 at 08:57

The camera is an Olympus Stylus 730, which I got specifically because several sources recommended it as the best for macrophotography in the relatively inexpensive price range. I do use a flash, and I used to get odd looks, and sometimes someone from the restaurant would even come over to ask why I was taking photos – but these days, so many people do, and with the increase in tourism, I’m just one of many snapping shots in a dining room. I tried without the flash, but find that on closeup work they don’t come out well.

Frank Almeida May 23, 2008 at 16:42

I also went to this place a while back and loved it. They even messed up on the description of one of their desserts and when we pointed that out they comped it!

That is something that is so rare in Argentina. I have since recommended this place to anyone who would listen.

And no, I can´t remember what the mistake was. I do remember the service and the food being excellent though.

Tim Robertson January 19, 2010 at 20:31

Dear Dan

Thank you so so much for this recommendation. I needed something special for Clients and I have to say WOW….Martin was wonderful, he was very generous with his wines and the staff were wonderful. I think the Pork was perhaps one of the greatest I have ever eaten and I will be using this restaurant from now on in for me and my clients.

Thank you again Dan for you help in finding this for me…This is what BA needs people who care….As for Tegui I will do everything in my power to make people listen that their attitudes are what we do not need more of…I care little of the food if the table they are giving me is drippong wet and they refuse to change the table…Shocking!

Best Tim

dan January 19, 2010 at 21:54

My pleasure, I’m glad you enjoyed it as much as we have! You might enjoy this writeup.

dan February 13, 2010 at 10:45

After we had such a great time last year on our 4th anniversary at Pura Tierra, we decided to go back again this year for our fifth – hard to believe a whole year has passed and we haven’t been back! Once again, we had an absolutely lovely time – Martín sent us out a bunch of little extra amuse bouches at the beginning, a half dozen in total (he rotates through different ones for each table, but we got to sample them all), and then we had a truly delightful dinner. Service was impeccable, the food ranged between really good and exquisite. Again, 9 p.m. is early for them, we were, as always, the first ones in the door, though by 10 p.m. it was nearly full – almost all locals, one table of tourists noted. Standout dishes – a perfectly cooked fillet of corvina (sea bass) wrapped in ribbons of zucchini and carrot, alongside a crispy strip of pastry made with lard and topped with roasted portobello mushrooms – almost like a savory strudel; and, an offbeat but compelling dessert of a white chocolate parfait with blue cheese cream and poached pears. I’d also point out that while still pricey, and it has gone up since our first visit two years ago, we ate roughly the same amount of food as that first time that cost us 240 pesos with tip, this time around it totalled to 330 with tip, though with only one dessert – so probably close to a 50% increase, about the same as most of BA over that same time period.

david ware January 6, 2012 at 16:19

This is one of the most beautiful restaurant environments in my recent memory–rustic, polished, intellectual, and very BA, all at the same time, or is that redundant?
The food is not only lovely to behold, but incredible, and the servers very young, but attentive and anxious to please. I really need to stay away from the “cestos de pan” but the cheese bread was the best I’ve had anywhere, including Brazil.
We arrived early by BA standards (8), were treated like absolute kings, and even offered a complimentary glass of Terrazas de los Andes Afincado Tardio, a wonderful dessert wine.
Again, Dan, thanks for the recommendation.

dan January 6, 2012 at 18:30

You’re welcome, glad you enjoyed!

Miles November 6, 2014 at 20:54

Hey Dan, just to let you know that we finally went to Pura Tierra based on your recommendation and took my mother who is over here visiting. It was generally excellent. We had the Menu Producto and other than the amuse bouche that needed a bit of salt we had a starter of llama and a fabulous braised hare and a couple of excellent puddings. What I hadn’t expected from your reviews is what a bargain (at least this menu – available from Thursday to Sunday I believe) is. 400 pesos including 3 different very acceptable wines, water, coffee and no cover charge. We were all delighted by the quality of ingredients and indeed by the service which was very friendly, prompt and knowledgeable. All in all a great place to have on our recommendation list and we sent some clients there last night who also had a great time. So thanks for the introduction.

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