For those nights when Milan is not enough and you would rather leave and venture into another part of the world, we have a place that never ceases to amaze us. In this place, the world is Argentina, the language is Spanish, the predominant tastes and smells are those of meat and Parrilla. We are in via Spartaco 31, right behind Porta Romana, an area well-known for the presence of famous fashion brands’ showrooms. Here is where a small corner of Buenos Aires appears with a contamination of colours, flavours and music: El Carnicero is our one-night evasion.
This is the owners’ desire, to let their customers travel to Argentina without bags and flights… just with the palate. The queen is the meat, skilfully cooked by chefs Claudio Ruben Patterini and Emanuel Gonzalo Gentili, whose deep friendship is the secret of their success. It is a pleasure to watch how they enjoy themselves in the open kitchen, and it is fascinating the energy that they display while juggling pans and orders for their team.
The environment is full of character and authenticity; the design of the interior perfectly reflects the Argentinian style: walls made of exposed bricks and plants in the corners of the small rooms; a decadent chic style that alternates baroque mirrors and vintage posters about tango. There are various rooms and areas in the restaurant: the most popular are El Patio and La Cocina, which are convivial and exuberant, while the most romantic customers can use El Dueño. Our dinner is accompanied by warm lights and very enjoyable tango music in the background, which makes the place even more evocative.
We begin with various appetisers: empanadas, the delicious provoleta El Carnicero, pan seared provolone cheese accompanied by a ham and anchovies’ bruschetta, and the guaranteed 36 months Patanegra: it is an immediate ecstasy. All is served with a high-quality Argentinian red wine from the Patagonian region: the recommended selection is a really pleasurable journey through the most important vinicultural regions of the world with a natural strong presence of South American wines, especially Argentinian and Chilean.
The main dish is obviously the Parilla: we watch amazed the movements of the asador while he tames the flames and the meat; every parillada made by chef Ruber Patterini, the host, becomes an unforgettable experience. They recommend to sample two cuts, and to avoid any excess we choose Lomo and Entraña, which are served with tasty char-grilled vegetables and the classic Papas Enteras, in other words, char-grilled potatoes. The meat is really tender and its flavour could easily make us binge and go for yet another piece; the temptation is really strong, but we promise to ourselves to leave it until next time.
We leave room only for small postres, and we give in to try two exquisite ones, a Panqueque dulce de leche and a Don Pedro, a vanilla ice-cream with whisky and ground walnuts. Cliché or not, they prove themselves to be a perfect choice!
Even if our journey ends here, I can still hear the voices of the streets of Buenos Aires and the tango music in the background while still savouring wonderful flavours in my mouth… As I leave the place, I think in Spanish: “Una sensación unica para experimentar con los 5 sentidos: buena comida, buen servicio y la mejor de las compañias. Todo junto lo encontrás en El Carnicero”.