Friday, April 25, 2008

La Boca Vida

Saturday Night Special (SNS) came in yesterday for the wedding this weekend and for various and assorted sundry chores. The long road home ended at around 5:45 for me, thanks to everyone lining I-10. SNS and I were having a few beers and talk naturally turned to food. SNS spent some time in Argentina and considers himself an expert on the art of Argentinian cuisine. Naturally, his ears perked up when I mentioned La Boca. So we would dine there.

La Boca, the second restaurant of Nicolas Bazan and Adolpho Garcia, occupies a dark, intimate, brick walled wedge next door to the River entrance of The Red Eye on Fulton St. Very romantic, the perfect place for SNS and I to have an awkward man date (I should add that Lady planned on joining us, but duty called). We began with Pisco Sours. Pisco (a type of Peruvian Brandy), simple sugar, an egg white, and lime juice, mixed frothy like the waves of the sea and then topped with cinnamon. Tart and sweet; this is what margaritas hope to be when they grow up.

Our waiter, Victor, then presented us with bread and a variety of chimichurri sauces. First, one was traditional, herbaceous and garlic notes with a vinegar finish. Then, a horseradish based sauce and a roasted red pepper chimichurri; of all of these, my favorite was the last.

Next, an order of Provoleta. This dish shows up in different cuisines and is essentially a hard cheese cooked to soften it and topped with olive oil and herbs. You spoon it onto bread and try and hold back the sensation to order another one.

SNS picked a Malbec that he drank in his Gaucho days saying, "This is what you drink to get hammered." Lucky for us, Victor suggested something a bit better. Malbec's with their heavy tannin overload and tobacco notes would work for this steak dinner; but for me it has never risen to the level of a sipping wine.

We each ordered the Vacio. 14 ounces of tender, meltingly good flank steak. Cooked simply, sliced against the grain, and presented on a plate. No garnish, no mashed potatoes, no port reduction demi glace. Just beef; it was what was for dinner. Words fail me in describing how good this steak was. The meat melted away like one of those fresh breath tabs. All that was left was the flavor of beef. Which for many of us we have not tasted in a while, with all the gussying up steaks get at restaurants. The sauces provided an interesting flavor note to the meat without changing the overall flavor: meat.

We did order some french fries which were thin, house made, crunchy and lord were they good. A glass of Grand Marnier a piece and a delightful chat with the Maitre d' and we were out of there. By far the best value steak dinner in town and perhaps the best steak dinner bar none. Total bill was about $130. Not a bad price to pay to catch up with a friend and here him say, "If I lived here, this would be dangerous. Seriously, I'd come here everynight."

La Boca.


Anonymous said...

Just a note to say how much I enjoy your blog. Only wish I could find commentary as good as this in the T-P.

David C. Coons said...

An anonymous post asking for this kind of insight in the Picayune? Blackened Out has hit the Big Time.