Monday, November 03, 2008

Travel Dish: Museo Evita Restaurant and Bar (Buenos Aires)

This is part of a series of reports recapping my recent trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Check back every Monday and Tuesday when I’ll be giving you a taste of my food adventures in this South American metropolitan city.

Lunch, Art and Evita
J.M. Guitierrez 3926, Buenos Aires
Palermo neighborhood
PH: 11/4800.1599
Major credit cards accepted

Traveling in this country in October-November means you get beautiful spring weather, which is what greeted me on my first day in Buenos Aires. So I strolled from my hotel to the Museo Evita, a tiny museum dedicated to the woman who changed the history of this country and inspired a musical.

The museum, fairly new having opened in a mansion in 2002, also has an adjacent restaurant and café with a garden. Seeing as the day was so beautiful, I had a quick lunch in the garden before heading into the museum.

One quick note about garden dining when traveling to foreign countries, don’t forget that the smoking laws may not be the same as in your home town, like the strict laws of California. Even though it was pleasant sitting outdoors, I was surrounded by smokers.

Anywho, the menu is a mix of modern Argentine and Italian dishes. I started with the Rabas ala plancha con salsa provenzal or calamari salad (AR$19 or $6.50). (BTW, the menu was in English and Spanish, and the Spanish names were really long.) The salad looked really big and beautiful when it arrived. The presentation was like any high-end restaurant.

But the squid itself, while fresh, was slightly rubbery and made it a bit chewy to eat. The bed of greens was lightly dressed in a simple vinaigrette and was an elegant side to the squid.

For my entrée, I ordered the Pechuguitas de Pollo (AR$29 or $10). I knew pollo meant chicken, but I wasn’t sure by reading the description what to expect. It said something about black sesame and I thought I’d give it a try. Turns out, this is a chicken breast that’s been baked in a black-sesame encrusted shell.

It was an interesting preparation for chicken (I’ve seen this technique used a lot in the United States for fish). I dug into the chicken and the shell easily fell apart. It was crumbly and slightly sweet, almost like dessert, which was an odd sensation to have with chicken. While the chicken meat inside was tender, the combination with the slightly sweet baked crust was a bit off-putting. The chicken was served with a sampling of mushy gnocchi and a mix of roasted vegetables, including what tasted like fennel.

The service was friendly and accommodating, with a few English-speaking waiters. In the afternoon, the nearby buildings do cast a shadow on the garden, so you can wind up feeling chilly sitting in the shade if you eat too late. You won’t be blown away by the food, but it’s a quaint, convenient lunch spot when visiting the museum. You can always tell friends you had lunch with Evita.

Single guy rating: 2.5 stars (Aspirational but not quite there)

Explanation of the single guy's rating system:
1 star = perfect for college students
2 stars = perfect for new diners
3 stars = perfect for foodies
4 stars = perfect for expense accounts
5 stars = perfect for any guy's dream dinner

Bueno … life in BA

The Museo Evita is dedicated to Eva Peron, considered the “spiritual leader” of this country. She rose from a poor background to become the wife of Argentina’s leader, at the same time changing the face of the country’s attitude toward women. Of course she made enemies along the way and the often-shifting political slant of the country made her legacy very mixed.

The museum (AR$12 admission or $4) is housed in an old family mansion that’s been declared a historical landmark and was getting a facelift of its exterior when I visited. But the museum is still open, and offers a glimpse of the woman with historical footage, audio, and displays of some of her dresses. A tiny corner on the first floor showcases changing artwork by local artists who have created pieces in honor of Evita. I learned some interesting things about Evita (like how she was initially buried under a false name in Italy because of the controversy surrounding what to do with her body) and the fact that the museum’s bathroom is like some fancy bathroom in a high-end restaurant. Who knew?

Museo Evita, Lafimur 2988 (Palermo neighborhood), Buenos Aires. PH: 11/4807.0306.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

wow, Buenos Aires looks beautiful. I agree that we are lucky to be so spoiled here with the no smoking laws in CA... what is the rest of the world thinking? lunch looks decent, maybe you should have skipped the entree and gone for dessert though!