Friday, March 07, 2008

Gaucho Restaurants in London

This past week I took a 5 day vacation with my brother-in-law Kevin to London during his Spring Break. We had a great time. The most significant and amazing thing to me was this meal I had at Gaucho Restaurants. Gaucho is an Argentinian Restaurant. We went to the one around the corner from our hotel, Le Meridien Piccadilly to the Gaucho Piccadilly. We found this restaurant thanks to the Frommer's London Day by Day guide who listed this as the best beef and was a very close restaurant to our hotel.

Unfortunately, we didn't have reservations but thanks to the fact we came on a Monday night and early for those in the UK (7 PM), we were welcomed in to sit right next to the main cook and watch him behind the glass. It may sound like an ideal seat until you realize how hot it was. The cuts of beef were fabulous and watching this guy cook 20-30 steaks/filets at a time with fish, chicken, and lamb was amazing. I ordered the Bife de Lomo, which was their tender filet. I ordered a 400g medium, my standard when not knowing what to expect and since I was having trouble figuring out the sizes combined with a hunger from walking nearly 10 miles in 2 days plus only eating a ham and cheese sandwich since breakfast. Needless to say now that I can do the conversion, it was the biggest filet I ever had. I watched the chef cook my steak, very slowly as all of their steaks are cooked. It was amazing to watch him manage so many steaks and doing them to order purely by feel, no temperature taking here.

When I got the steak, I cut into it and saw that it was very red. By looks alone, it was definitely a medium rare if not rare. But, I then noticed there was no blood coming plate was clean. I tried a bite and the steak melted in my mouth, no chewiness for it being so red, and it was warm throughout. The steak was marvelous, I enjoyed bite by bite but unfortunately could not finish it all as it was enormous. Both Kevin and I were amazed at the steaks, the flavor and perfection, and were both sure that this was the best steak either of us have ever had.

The one thing that lacked was the service...the people never really came by often. We think it was the worst service we had in our 5 days in London. Typically, we Americans are treated well since we tip well. But our waiter came over maybe twice our whole meal. As a matter of fact, they left us sitting there so long that we ended up getting hungry enough for dessert. I had the Banana Tres Leches and Kevin had the Chocolate Truffle Cake. Both were delicious although the Chocolate Truffle Cake came with a "créme fraiche" which Kevin and I thought was whipped cream on the plate...but turned out to be sour cream.

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