I realize that Buenos Aires is considered a mecca for meat, but I have been on the hunt for great seafood and fish in this carne-crazed town. It's a tough ask.
Still, there have been some wins - especially Grilled Langostinos, fresh with a delicate sweetness, at San Telmo's exquisite Cafe Rivas. Then there was the shrimp-filled ravioli at Chacarita neighborhood cafe Rita, blanketed with a cream sauce and dotted with bright red roasted tomatoes...
Each bite brought me a bit closer to the sea.
Yet, I get the feeling that these meals were aberrations in BA's bife-obsessed food scene. Most restaurants offer very little by way of seafood and fish. And, while these two dishes were fantastic, they are the exception to the rule.
Case in point: La Mar, the city's Peruvian import, a high-end cebicheria that is on every critics' "must visit" list. It was a total disappointment. The menu had a focus on fish, yes, but they drowned most of it in sickly sweet sauces. Even the classic ceviche was lackluster in many respects. Some of the flavors were spot-on, but ultimately the kitchen didn't trust the fish to grab the spotlight as the star of the show.
And, although BA has many sushi spots, maki with gobs of cream cheese is the norm. Authenticity and quality fish really aren't the sushi strong suits here. Think middling salmon and tempura rolls. Meh to say the the least.
Well, what about making fish or seafood at home? Aren't there some solid fishmongers in town? Um, no. Several locals urged me to visit Barrio Chino, which supposedly has the best that BA has to offer. Let's just say that if that's the best the city has to provide, I understand why folks stick to meat here.
So, am I "Debbie downer" when it comes to things aquatic in Buenos Aires? Not entirely, but I will say that I can't wait to sink my teeth into some really good sushi when I get back to New York. Until then, though, I will revel in BA's beefier delights.