Stopped by Casa Cruz on a Thursday night around 11pm ... seemed like things were just getting started. I'm pretty convinced porteños (literally "port people," the locals of buenos aires) have eating jet-lag. Every meal seems to be about 4-5 hours later than it would normally be in NY. Lunch around 3-4pm, dinner around 10-11pm. Most nightlife doesn't get started until 2am ... how these people get to work the next day is beyond me! On the outside, this restaurant seemed more like a nightclub -- the restaurant's name was indistinguishable, there was a security guard standing outside with his arms folded, and I had to duck through a thick velvet curtain to get into the restaurant. The first thing that struck me was the warmth of the restaurant -- lots of red woods, dimmed lightings, and exotic floral arrangements which surrounded the semi-circular bar in front. It was very comfortable and warm.
Despite our 11pm reservation, there was a bit of a wait, so we had ourselves some more caipirinhas (de frutilla, de frescas, strawberry) to change it up a little ... the drinks were spot-on and the 30 minute wait flew by. We were then escorted to our table. On the way to the table, I'm pretty sure 50% of the tables I passed were speaking english which, I have learned, is pretty common in these chic "in" places ... definitely not a local joint.
The bread was particularly good as the pan de campo (country bread) was served hot. The amuse was a parma ham roll with mint custard which pretty much sums up chef Germán Martitegui style: traditional argentine cuisine with a modern twist.
For starters, I had a pumpkin vegetable salad ... hey, I wanted something light. Unlike many other restaurants, this menu had a lot of fish options. My main course consisted of trout over smashed potatoes. My trout was well-cooked and the vegetable accompaniments worked nicely ... this dish seemed pretty standard.
My friends ordered Rock Oysters and Langoustines for appeitizers, the latter of which stole the show for the evening. There's a really fine line when serving shrimp between raw and overcooked and these langoustines were perfect. The butter saffron sauce was delicious and aromatic.
For mains, my friends ordered grilled sea bass and grilled octopus, both of which did not strike me as particularly noteworthy. For dessert, we split a peach torte with honey ice cream, honey.
Casa Cruz combined atmosphere with food quality in a way that I would definitely recommend. It had more hits in terms of flavor than Sucre, albeit the food wasn't so inventive. The decor made this place incredibly sexy yet comfortable, perfect for a date. So far, this was the coolest restaurant I'd been to in BA ... my favorite so far.