Take One: Although typically we’d like to give a spot a few tries before writing our review, budgets are tight (hi, Macrisis!) and we don’t ask for freebies. ‘Take One’ will highlight the dishes that left our resident food writer, Kevin Vaughn, wanting seconds.
Wood crackles into embers and transforms mountains of meat on the open grill into charred carnivorous lunch specials at Corte Comedor in Bajo Belgrano. Copious servings of tenderloin and long strands of spare ribs are slapped onto designer dishes, carried out in a chaotic dance of servers styled from head-to-toe and placed atop elementary school blue laminate tables. Every single detail appears to have been planned out for maximum instagramability.
Hungry carnivores dressed in casual suits and the latest H&M make the room loud with clanging silverware in this quietly sophisticated dining room. An adjoining butcher shop sells unusual offerings like tomahawk steaks, green curry sausages and legs of lamb. The comedor is the afterthought of the carniceria, which opened mid-year to raucous success and ushered in the restaurant. It’s one of the hottest seats in town today, despite the fact that it is only open for lunch in a corner of Belgrano you probably wouldn’t stumble across unless you’d gotten lost on your way to Chinatown.
The menu changes daily depending on the meat in the back—maybe that was the reason that the asador didn’t know what to recommend: “Every meat has a different flavor and texture. It’s all good,” he told me when I saddled up to the bar before listing off the entire menu of meats. He finally recommended the dry aged beef when he realized his answer wasn’t enough to get me to go back to my table. A few glasses of wine might make you ignore the $1000 price tag for the dry aged steak. I hadn’t even begun my first.
The first taste was a thick provoleta topped with a mix of fresh greens. The cheese was cut like a brick and the outer layer was littered with patches of black burn marks while the inside had barely begun to melt. Although the blackened circles were covered in fresh arugula, the chalky outer shell stuck like flour to the tongue. A good provoleta should crackle and crunch and stretch like pizza dough — this version lacked the gooey punch.
It would be sacrilegious not to go for steak. We tried the ojo de bife, that despite leaning further to the side of medium well rather than a jugoso medium rare was spectacular in its simplicity. Seasoned with just a hint of salt, each bite was symphonic, the pure pasture-fed intensity growing and tempering between bites of boniato sweet potato drenched in the meat juice that spilled over with each cut.
We also tried the grilled chicken thighs, juicy with a lacey crackled skin. The wagyu burger was topped with no more than caramelized onions and was the only partner that the fatty, slightly gamey, meat needed. For dessert, no one took a second spoonful of a forgettable sponge cake decorated with candied oranges that tasted more like acrid burnt sugar than sticky citrus.
The meal’s bookends weren’t the best welcome or goodbye — the next time, and there will be a another, we’ll stick to the meat.
Address: Migueletes 2301, Bajo Belgrano
Open: Monday through Saturday noon to 3:30pm, Sunday noon to 4pm
Price per person: varies greatly, $550 – 1000