I SEE TRAVEL AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO TRY AS MANY DIFFERENT RESTAURANTS AS POSSIRLE. I want to know what’s cooking throughout every neighborhood I visit, so I rarely eat at the same place twice. But there’s a parhlla (steakhouse) in Buenos Aires that has such an intense hold on me that the idea of eating steak anywhere else seems blasphemous. In fact, eating at Lo de Jesus seems blasphemy enough-the name translates as ‘tenderloin of Jesus’.
REAUTIFUL BEGINNINGS To show appreciation, many Argentinian restaurants either greet guests with a complimentary glass of sparkling wine, or offer a free digestif following the meal. At Lo de Jesus, I always choose the wine; specifically, Bodega Chandon, Argentina’s off-shoot from Maison Moet & Chandon. By the time the last sip finishes tickling my palate, my bottle of Malbec arrives. Favourites include Finca La Moras Reserva and Catena Zapata Alamos. Both slither down with a velvety earthiness.
DELICIOUS REPETITION I can’t help ordering the same thing every time I visit this restaurant. I start with an order of grilled chorizo sausage accompanied by salsa criolla and chimichurri. Every parrilla has its own variation of these national sauces, but I’ve sampled none tastier anywhere else. Readers are likely familiar with chimichurri-the parsley-based garlic-and-oil sauce and marinade. The criolla-while relatively obscure outside Latin America-is a delightful onion-dominated salsa with tomato and olive oil.
The restaurant’s piece de resistance is lomo a la pimiento ordered a punfo-the requisite medium rare. In a country where meat eating Is a religious experience, sauce is rarely invited to the altar. This entree marks the clear exception. A gorgeous peppercorn-infused reduction adds a naughty zip to this steak and sets the fluffy provolone potato torte in happy opposition. Hands down, it’s the best steak I’ve ever tasted.
On my last visit, I declined desert. Moments later, however, the maitre d’ brought a bowl of homemade ice cream, a glass of house- made limoncello, and a bill that contained neither. Another reason I’ll be back.
1406 esq. Cabrera Ciudad de Buenos Aires, Argentina