When chef Jose Garces decided to open Rural Society, a new steakhouse in the Loews Madison Hotel in Washington, D.C., he knew he had to head to the source: Buenos Aires, the world’s grilling capital. What did he bring back? Plenty of clever new techniques and memories of the most tender steak he’d ever tasted.

CHEESE PLEASE

Park Hyatt Buenos Aires. Photo by Graciela Cattarossi

Park Hyatt Buenos Aires. Photo by Graciela Cattarossi

“I stayed at the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires. It’s a former single-family residence, but it feels like a palace. The chef at the hotel’s Palacio Duhau restaurant, Máximo López May, served us a variety of local cheeses. I really enjoyed the goat provoleta, which is so firm it can be grilled in a cast-iron pan and keep its shape. Another provolone highlight from Buenos Aires: the bastoncitos de provoleta from La Cabrera Norte. They were basically giant fried cheese pops.”

CARNIVORES VERY WELCOME

“One meal here can move from chorizo to beef flank to lamb’s tongue. Argentines love grilled meat. I bought several medieval-looking skewers that allow you to sear directly in flames. I also built a 10-foot grill inspired by those at the Mercado del Puerto in Montevideo, Uruguay, which is a two-hour ferry ride away. It’s a big warehouse market with 15 open-grill vendors. You walk in and all you see is fire. La Brigada is a soccer-themed restaurant where the beef is delicate enough to cut with a spoon. The staff raises and slaughters their own cattle. We went on a sandwich mission in the city. The clear winner was the chorizo sandwich at El Puestito del Tío (Av. Dorrego 3950). Don’t forget to load up on chimichurri at the counter!”

HOW THEY CUT LOOSE

Restaurant Sucre. Photo by Erika Rojas

“You must experience a tango show at Tango Porteño. Everyone in the crowd is out of their seats and dancing. Go early and get drinks across the street at Tomo. After the show, visit the speakeasy Florería Atlántico. Ask a local for directions and you’ll find yourself walking through a record store and flower shop. Order a pitcher of gin and grapefruit juice. It tastes just like summer. At Sucre, I had what might be the best gin and tonic of my life. The bartender used a local tonic called Pulpo Blanco and Príncipe de Los Apóstoles, a maté gin made with eucalyptus.”

Plan your trip to Buenos Aires here

This appeared in the October 2014 issue.