I recently had dinner with some friends at Gaucho Steak House. I believe that they were the first of the South American style eateries, in the Detroit area, where they bring the food on skewers and carve the meat off as you request it. My Bride and I had dined there years ago, and now I was there again with some friends, and the structure of the meal was the same as before. If you have never been to this type of restaurant be prepared to go there hungry and to be bombarded with men with skewers all trying to please your hunger. First you go to a very large Salad Bar with around forty different offerings for you to choose from, and not all of the items are salad items, as there was soup, risotto and even a couple of Sushi items, and how they relate to South America was beyond my reasoning. After your trip or trips to the Salad Bar, they give you a clean plate, and there is a small oval card, that is red on one side and green on the other; when you want another choice of meat of which there are fifteen types for you to try, you have the green side showing, if you want to pause, you show the red side (as in stop). Sometimes this works and sometimes it didn’t, and there would be times when there would be three or more attendants with different skewers of meat showing up at the table all at the same time. While most of the cuts of meat were very well prepared and tasty, the onslaught of service could be almost overpowering at times and one almost felt that one could not enjoy the meat as fully as one would want to. I am sure that there were several cuts of meat that I missed, as I had to decline some of the cuts on the initial offerings as I was trying to pace myself, and then some of the offerings never seemed to reappear. That is not to say, that I did not enjoy the meal, only that I felt a bit rushed, and that is not good when one is dining on meats.
I was looking at the wine list, which was quite ample and there were some very interesting reds from South America. When our host appeared, he asked to look at the wine list and was going to order Cabernet Sauvignon, but he asked me my opinion as the other man only drank soft drinks. I suggested that since the theme of the restaurant was Argentine, with the name of Gaucho, I suggested a Malbec from Argentina or a Carmenere which originally was one of the grapes used in blending in the Medoc, but has flourished and excelled in Chile. Our host selected a Gascon Malbec 2012 from the Mendoza region, which accounts for about 80% of the wines from Argentina. This was a good wine, made for immediate consumption, but I do think that perhaps a more robust wine would have been a better compliment to all of the meats, but that is a minor aside and the wine worked well for the evening.
The other beverage that I have to mention was an after dinner drink that we had from Spain called Licor 43. The bottle came out with a round block of ice surrounding it, and it was poured into these small chocolate cups. The after dinner drink was citric and had flavors of vanilla and I guess another 41 other ingredients that were steeped in this beverage. To me, orange was the strongest flavor that I noticed, and since it was so cold, some of the other trace flavors eluded me, especially in the chocolate cup. We were touted that this drink aided in the digestion of our meal and who was I to argue. All in all, we all left sated and happy from the meal, the drinks and the conversations.