I got my brief orientation to the Argentinean meat culture when I was hitchhiking the 3,000 km Ruta Tres (road number 3) in Argentina. The driver who gave me a ride was a part of a 10 semi-trailer drivers bunch, who were all riding together to avoid the bandits on the road. At night stops, the truckers would form a circle in an improvised parking area, and one of them would run to the closest town to get meat for dinner. How much meat? The calculation was simple: 1 kg a head. Not 200 gr like we do on picnics, not 300 gr that we eat on guys' nights. 1 kg a person – as simple as that. Welcome to Argentina.
I recalled this experience when I was entering Butchery de Bariloche with my meat lover friend A. Butchery de Bariloche has been here, in Ramat Hachayal, for 2 years, but I never got a chance to go. Bariloche is a ski center in the Andes, which is actually known for the chocolate displays in many shops in the city. We did find one huge chocolate block as we entered the restaurant, standing there to sweeten the wait for a table.
A quick look around uncovered a spacious seating area that created a calm atmosphere, aided by soft lightning and nice music. Butchery de Bariloche is a restaurant that respects the time dedicated to carnal pleasures. Foreplay is nice (and soon you'll learn about the first courses); the spoons position is also nice (with the aaphrodisiac assistance of fine chocolate), but anyone who comes here knows what this place is all about.
Butchery de Bariloche's first courses all know that they are into a lost fight with the main courses' meats, and still they put up a good fight: creative, corrupt dishes such as sautéed foie gras on chocolate sauce, and thick dishes with interesting twists such as tartar in wasabi, and beef and lamb sausages seasoned with kummel, coriander and mustard. We chose the gnocchi with veal sweetbreads, and the Foie Ganso – foie gras wrapped in chicken breast and filo dough. The gnocchi dish was generous and soft. On the night we visited, the veal sweetbreads were replaced by lamb ones, and this happy bunch was gathered around with cream sauce and beef stock. A juicy bone was looking from the side, completing a magnificent creation of tastes and flavors. The Foie Ganso was a bit smaller than the other course, but it was just as rich – foie gras and chicken breast, with filo leaves protecting them like a blanket covering a baby. With our first courses we had the house wine in a carafe: Sirah by Tishbi winery – light, fruity and nice.
To choose our main courses we were invited to the small butchery at the edge of the restaurant, where aged meats were displayed and diners could discuss their choice of meat with the butcher. The selection was surprising, and included imported meat as well as respectable presentation of local cows. The greatest discovery of the visit at the butcher's was the Japanese Kobe beef steak, which is considered to be the most expensive in the world. Imagine cows walking around in small herds, enjoying classic music, drinking beer and getting massages, until the day they have to be separated of their bodies, to become the beautiful cuts displayed at the butcher's. Their taste is amazing.
Next to the Kobe steak we ordered the Angus entrecote. As the meat was taken off the grill it was served to the table in Parrilladas (mini grills), and the dishes were accompanied with buttery puree and grilled vegetables. What can I say, the Angus entrecote was great, and I've ran out of superlatives to describe the Kobe steak. It tasted like heaven, melted in the mouth while sending flashes of happiness to the brain.
We finished with Jorje's banana – oven baked, wrapped in filo leaves, and served with Argentinean dulce de leche sauce and ice cream. It was a sweet goodbye, and we were sent home to dream about cows lying around, listening to Chopin and drinking beer.