There is nothing like hitting the hottest "no reservations" restaurant in town, being told your wait will be an hour, and then 10 minutes later being summoned by the hostess to sit at a festive communal table with a food-loving U.S. dignitary and his fantastic friends. Such was my night at Proper, a former Palermo mechanics shop turned hipster hot spot. With my NYC gal pal Sandra in tow, I took in the warehouse-like surroundings and large open kitchen, and we promptly ordered up a bottle of Torrontes.
Oh, but then there was the food.
First up was a flavorful carrot hummus with house-made yogurt. We could hardly resist licking the plate clean. Next was a small dish of perfectly cooked baby octopus sauteed with garbanzo beans. We followed that up with a massive slice of halloumi cheese, blisteringly charred, sitting on a mound of roasted cauliflower, briny black olives, and caramelized onion. And, last but not least there was the cordero -- as pictured above, gorgeously grilled lamb atop seared eggplant and a smattering of bright peas, graced with pomegranate seeds and a blizzard of fresh herbs.
We were happy chicas. Full chicas.
But, no matter. A surprise postre was presented anyway - compliments of the convivial diplomat at the table.
"How could we have a proper cena in Buenos Aires without dessert?"
Dipping our spoons into the rich, creamy dulce de leche flan, we couldn't have agreed more.