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Fish Lovers Rejoice! UCO Steps Up The Sustainable Seafood Game In Buenos Aires

By | [email protected] | January 3, 2017 8:35am

periodista_UCO_wr-52Via UCO Restaurant

UCO wants to change the dull, stale panorama of fish and seafood in Buenos Aires. First, by finding the best local producers the country’s coasts or rivers have to offer. Second, by preparing them in ways that enhance the cuts’ natural value, making all us fall back in love with it.

Since arriving to Hotel Fierro’s kitchen over two years ago, Head Chef Edward Holloway has established a cooking philosophy based on recognizing how important the source of his ingredients are while embracing a conscious simplicity in the elaboration of his dishes to achieve something that is rich, flavorful and nothing short of remarkable. The restaurant’s motto goes something like “Ego-less cuisine: fresh, tasty, made out of quality products, conceived to be enjoyed and not decrypted.

Thinking along these lines, several fish and seafood specialties have been integrated into the restaurant’s lunch menu (some are also included in the dinner menu), offering a spread that is ideal for ushering in spring. UCO has also gained recognition for its large and diverse wine offerings (offering over 350 labels), ensuring a pairing that rarely disappoints.

Getting started

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Just in time for the improving weather conditions, UCO’s back garden is a swoon worthy place to set up for a quiet lunch with a simultaneous — much needed vitamin D session. The fish and seafood treats can be enjoyed in different variations, but the “Sharing is Caring” tasting menu takes the (fish?) cake. Ideal for two, it will allow you to get the most indulgent array of fish and local produce possible.

The Fritos del Mar — which can also be found under the snack section of UCO’s menu — serves as an excellent starter for the fish fiesta you’re about to indulge yourself with. A combination of fried bass, sardines and cuttlefish is served along with a homemade preserved garlic aioli. An upgrade on the traditional fish & chips, minus the chips. But don’t worry, the Croquetas de Causa will make you forget all about the shortage of decent seafood in this town. These potato croquettes, filled with white fish, will give you the needed crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside effect.

Ideal pairing: 

Colonia las Liebres – Bonarda (2014): A fresh & light red that pairs surprisingly well with crunchy fried seafood. A great alternative for those of us who struggle with white wine at times.

Moving onto the main courses

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One thing you won’t see on the menu is salmon. UCO has opted to replace salmon (which tends to be bred in neighboring countries with the heavy use of antibiotics and chemicals) with the more natural local trout from Patagonia. This local fish has absolutely nothing to get jealous over when compared to its pink Chilean imported cousin. Smoked in house, UCO’s trout — served as a carpaccio — feels fresh and light in texture, but has a charming intensity to the palate. This Patagonian treat is served with a subtle fennel salad, and topped with roasted corn kernels for the crunchy factor. At lunch the trout can also be enjoyed in the Smoked Trout Open Sandwich. Homemade whole wheat bread, red onions, and dried tomatoes are some of the fresh ingredients served in this version of the house’s coveted trout.

Could a fish based feast be complete without a ceviche? Head Chef Edward Holloway certainly doesn’t think, so he added Ceviche “UCO” to the menu: a faithful version of the traditional Peruvian dish marinated in lime and leche de tigre, spiced up with rocoto — the Peruvian pepper per excellence — topped with slices of red onion and kernels of roasted corn. The result? A Ceviche the way it’s meant to be: tender in texture, fresh yet sharp to the palate with the most delicious spicy notes, and an ideal crunchy touch. As if the ceviche itself wasn’t delightful enough, a little mango and red onion salad served on a tiny basket of fried plantain plays the role of the side dish.

Spring is upon us and UCO’s menu adapts to the new weather offering the most delicious pejerrey bruschettas (Silverside fish). The fresh white fish is marinated in a Torrontés based vinegar: a treat to the mouth. Served on a layer of fennel and a slice of the house’s freshly baked bread, this dish gets the perfect crunchy-smooth balance in texture. If you can’t find them on the menu it’s because they’re the most recent spring inspired recipe, so we highly advise you to ask the kind staff about it.

Both the lunch and dinner menus include the Fish of the day, a fresh seafood specialty delivered daily to the kitchen. Preparations may vary, but all aim at enhancing the natural flavour of the fish and preserving its fresh flavour. This dish is served along with a flavorful lentil stew, roasted veggies and a fresh Limeña salad.

Ideal pairing:

Agrestis Rosé – Espumante Natural (2015): This sparkly rosé is all you’ll want to drink this summer. So you probably want to start getting into it now. It pairs perfectly well with the house’s trout, enhancing the smoky notes.

Collovati Torrontés – Valle de Fomantina, La Rioja (2015): Don’t let the sweet aromas of this Torrontés fool you. This wine is a fruity yet dry surprise to the palate and it’s a great complement to the spicy notes of ceviche. 

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Via UCO Restaurant

The Sharing is Caring lunch menu is currently worth AR $370, giving you the option to choose up to 6 tasting dishes out of the options given.

You are also given the option to choose from a 1 (AR $240), 2 (AR $320) or 3 (AR $385) course menu where some of the mentioned dishes are also available.

A wine pairing (3 glasses of different labels) is also available to go with both menus for AR $190.

UCO’s dinner menu also offers fish & seafood dishes such as Ceviche “UCO”, Bouillabaisse, Fish of the day and the Patagonian Trout.