La Bourgogne

Alvear Palace Hotel, Ayacucho 2023, C1112AAK CABA, Argentina • +54 11 4805-3857 • www.alvearpalace.com

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The Alvear hotel is an icon of Argentina, located at the end of one of the ritziest streets in the city, overlooking the cemetery where Evita is buried (I guess the truth is she did eventually leave them). Which is nowhere near as macabre as that sounds. In fact, they somehow mange to turn it into a selling point.

It’s like what The Drake is to Chicago or The Waldorf Astoria is to New York. Historic, grand and stupendous. So, it would only make sense that the restaurant within need live up to the reputation surrounding it. And live it did, with a veritable feast of greatness ranging across three appetizers, two entrees and three desserts. Oh, but this was not a tasting menu. This is actually how much we ordered to split just between two people. Not to mention two bottles of wine and a finale consisting of two glasses of their finest, most expensive 70-year-old port. It was truly a meal for the ages.

But surprisingly, the most remarkable thing about this meal was not the food, albeit excellent. It was the price in US dollars. Are you sitting down? Fifty. No, not fifty thousand. Fifty dollars a head. And this is with seared foie gras, filet mignon and the works. I mean, holy favorable exchange rates Batman! Ya know, I hate to use a cliché here, but at prices like these, you really can’t afford not to eat here. So book your ticket and your reservation at the same time and bon appe-gluttony!

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Señor Tango

Vieytes 1655 , Barracas, Buenos Aires 1275 , AR • (54-11) 4303-0231 • http://www.senortango.com.ar
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While this place is the living definition of a tourist trap, I can’t help but recommend it, solely on the basis that it will likely be one of the most surreal dining experiences of your life.

As you enter, you can’t help but be taken back by the airplane hanger-sized dining room. But what’s more impressive than that is that these walls that stretch to infinity are all coated in framed photographs of Señor Tango himself (yup, he’s a real person) posing with just about every celebrity imaginable. You name ‘em, they’re on there. Stallone, Goldie Hawn, Pacino, President Obama, Bill Gates, Michael Jordan… I could go on and on, just like the wall, but I’ll spare you, because there’s so much more to tell.

So, after your 10-minute walk back to your table, you will find yourself overlooking a rather substantial stage for a restaurant. But, this is more than just a restaurant. This is dinner theater at its finest, and by finest I mean cheesiest.

Now, as I start the four paragraph of this review without so much as a single word about food, I feel compelled to say that it’s just eh. But that’s not why you MUST still go here. That reason is coming in paragraph five.

Some three bites into my Argentine steak a man on a horse comes rushing past me, leaping up onto the stage. In a restaurant! That apparently has no health codes. And not just one horse, but two!!! And that’s not even the weirdest part! On one horse there’s a pilgrim and on the other an American Indian. There is a tense standoff for a minute or two, and then suddenly they break into what can only be described as a “horse tango?”

The Horse Tango is then followed up by an on-foot tango, as dozens of pilgrims and Indians join their respective sides of the scrimmage.

After that, a Gangster Tango wages between a pinstriped Mafioso, complete with Tommy gun and a roaring Twenties flapper.

And then came the piece de resistance, Señor Tango himself and some blond bombshell in a performance that quite literally took the art of tango to new heights. Yes, the stage had one last trick up its sleeve, a cylindrical platform that lifted the two of them high into the air, as they tangoed precariously on the narrow tip of this 15-foot tower.

Following his assertion of tango dominance, Señor Tango doesn’t stop there either. Oh no. He is a man of many talents and he is fully prepared to share ALL of those talents with you. So for his next act, vocals. Yes, Mister Tango will turn to you, the audience, and ask where you are from. Regardless of your answer, he will immediately break into the corresponding tune of that locale, swooning the likes of “New York, New York,” “Chicago,” “I left my heart in San Francisco,” “The last time I saw Paris” and “Back in the USSR”… It doesn’t matter. And you won’t be the only one. This goes on for at least half a dozen people. Fully distracting you from the meal and service, of which I only marginally recall.

I mean this guy is playing chess while you’re busy eating checkers. But please don’t let this discourage you from going, because once you appreciate him for who he really is, the Madonna of restaurateurs, then, and only then, have you TRULY been to Buenos Aires.