i didn't see any posts on this, so i guess i should do one. i'm a little reluctant, for reasons that will become apparent.
about 15 chows and associate chows converged on this little argentinian hole in the wall on grand in ssf last thursday. we were accompanied by 20 or so swarthy south americans (wines, that is). the complex and surprising intermingling of this charming company provided for me the real joy of the evening.
wines - no bad wines in the whole bunch. i thought the reserve malbec/cab was closed, and might show much better in a few years. many of the reds were tasty examples of a more international style, which while pleasurable to drink, left me a bit wistful. i was hoping for more robust south american malbec character, which showed up only here and there (i think the altos 2002?). the whites weren't bad either, but i missed having a torrontes.
i wish i could leave it there, but this is chowhound, and i must report my general disappointment in the food and service.
service - for much of the evening, we were the only party in the house. yet our server was astonishingly oblivious to very basic serving skills. i had to get up several times to go to the kitchen and ask for wine glasses, water glasses, and refills of the water pitcher. these items were not on the table in the first place, and even after i asked, they were not promptly brought out. i had to get up, go back to the kitchen, and remind her. when she finally responded, she would bring one or two, apparently unwilling to count how many people yet remained without glasses. wtf?
corkage was blessedly cheap, but i don't think she opened one bottle nor poured one glass. i think she lent us a couple corkscrews.
empanadas. we ordered two of the six or seven varieties offered. the beef was ground, seasoned, and included chunks of hardboiled egg. i thought the filling was tasty and satisfying, but nothing remarkable. same for the cream and corn empanadas.
all the empanadas were deep fried. i suspect this may have been done as an expediency, as they may have been frozen and it might have taken too long to bake them. the only other time i was here i just had an empanada, which was delicious and baked. it was the only offering on the day of a big soccer match, when the place turns into a big boisterous viewing hall directed at the big screen tv.
lengua app - didn't even get to try. heard it was avoidable.
eggplant app - same.
salad - typical plain lettuce and tomato. nothing special
polenta - creamy, with a tomato based topping. just tried a bit, which was fine.
parilladas - the main event. mixed grill, including pork chops, sausages, beef ribs, chicken. what can i say. our table ordered four of these, and no other entrees. (let me say again that there were no other parties in the resto at this time). still, what arrived on my plate was cold and dried out. the beef had some nice flavor, and the chicken thigh was still moist, but for the most part, this was disappointing.
even though the posted closing hour on thursdays is 8 pm, a group of 8 argentinian soccer players arrived in uniform at 9 or so. not only was our server attentive to their party, someone from the kitchen came out to talk to/serve them. i wish i could conclude otherwise, but despite my desire to post a review that would help them break out into a broader audience, they seem determined to cater exclusively to the argentinian soccer crowd. well, so be it.