The equation for a regular restaurant serving Argentine cuisine in Buenos Aires goes something like this: The menu = 90% meat + 10% (frozen) fish. This is where Roux takes its first step apart from the Argentine standard. “Here we do the opposite of what most bistros in Buenos Aires do,” says the Head Chef Martin Rebaudino. “We go for 70% fish & seafood, 30% every other meat.”
Experience taught Roux’ Chef and owner how to master French, Spanish and Italian cooking methods. Yet, once he left Oviedo (a regular on Latin America’s Top 50 list) for his own new venture, he decided to apply all of these techniques while focusing on ingredients from Argentina itself.
Going through the menu is like taking a quick trip around the country, starting in the southern Antarctic, crossing Patagonia all the way to Cordoba, and ending up in the northern mountains.
If you’re looking for a new approach to local cuisine, Roux is where you want to go. Here are our recommendations on the culinary journey you ought to take.
The Bubble’s journey began with the house’s griviche, a couscous and seafood salad. The couscous is served at the perfect temperature, neither right out of the fridge-cold or boiling tajine-like. Grilled shrimp and giant squid from the southern cone have an intense roasted flavor that combines with the herbal aromas from the couscous perfectly. The best yet, is the cilantro base that gives everything on the plate a punch of flavor.
Among other cold appetizers you might also find a Jujuy’s Llama carpaccio topped with capers from Sierra de los Padres, or for more reserved palates a locally produced brie and patagonian trout gravlax salad is another recommendable great choice.
For those looking to get started on a warmer note, the warmer offerings are just as swoon worthy. Starting with the Lentils Ragout served with grilled cuttlefish and a southern cone giant squid. If you’re feeling a little less fishy, you can also try the lamb sweetbread served over a layer of roasted eggplant and a mushrooms carpaccio.
Moving on to the mains:
On our visit to Roux, the chef delighted us with his truffle risotto, a remarkable piece of evidence proving his mastering of Italian techniques. This baby is is cooked to an ideal “al dente” and offers an intensely comforting truffle aroma. A spinach and prawn version of this dish is also available on the menu, giving risotto lovers a reason to come back.
The house also likes to highlight its offer of fresh pasta. Two varieties of raviolis caught our eye. First, the pumpkin and prawns, which feels so appropriate for the transition out of winter. Then there is the Oso Buco pasta, served with an exquisite tomato, mushroom and Catamarcan saffron sauce.
As the Chef’s philosophy implies, fish is king of the menu. The patagonian trout loin is something you NEED to try. The “loin” is topped with crunchy quinoa grains and served on a soft layer of cauliflower purée, creating an amazing combination of textures that only enhances the natural fresh flavor of the trout. Some might even get fooled, and think what they’re eating is actually a ridiculously great salmon. Black olive Gnocchis and a grilled giant squid play the role of sides, and do they play it right! Some seasonal veggies are also part of the feast.
The red meat and poultry options are narrow, though they deserve a shoutout. A rather classic take on Tapa de asado caught our attention because it carries a twist of originality by by being slow-cooked into a salsa criolla. On the poultry stand we obviously get tempted by the Magret de Canard served on a carrot and cardamom purée along with grilled polenta.
It’s not over until the chocolate hits the table
“Dinner should always end with a piece of chocolate” is also part of Rebaudino’s philosophy and we won’t be the ones to contradict it. Bottom line is take the Chef’s advice on this one and don’t leave the table without trying the house’s Chocolate Textures: a chocolate nemesis topped with chocolate ice-cream, chocolate coulis and chocolate tuile. Basically, a chocolate BOMB.
For all of you chocophobes, we can recommend an ideal alternative: kumquat. Here, they are served with a red currant – coming all the way from Villa la Angostura – sorbet, little meringues and a splash of the syrup the kumquats’ are preserved in. We call that a seasonal treat.
Roux is open for both Lunch from midday to 3:30 PM, and Dinner from 8 PM until midnight. The restaurant is located in Peña 2300 at the very heart of Recoleta.