Juan Manuel Sabatino and José Faccini make part of what they offer: pasta, empanada dough, ‘focaccia’ and red sausage
Juan Manuel Sabatino He is an Argentine chef with twenty years in the trade who had never worked in an Argentine restaurant until he opened his, The Still Life of the Eixample, next to José Faccini. Attention to Italian surnames because they provide pasta (for eating).
I arrive at El Bodegón by the hand of The editor, who is not Argentine but likes Argentine restaurants, edits Argentine authors and has sometimes mentioned me in Argentine restaurants. «Wednesday in the best new Argentine of BCN?», he communicated me with the WhatsApp tamtam.
The Still Life of the Eixample
Muntaner, 113. Barcelona
Average price (without wine): € 25
Barbecue: € 19.90
Lunch menu: € 12.50
Already seated on the terrace, combed by Muntaner’s cars, The Editor wants to know: “Do you like gizzards?” I love sweetbreads, I reply, but it’s something he asks me every time. So, sweetbreads. The truth is that I have a weakness for that appendix and immediate sympathy and complicity with those who consume them. We are from the secret society El Timo, another name for the gland.
We immediately agree with Juan Manuel, who is doubled as a waiter and who before the service has prepared the pasta (noodles, ‘agnolottis’ and sorrentinos) and it is something that I value because almost no restaurant, I include the majority of Italians in Barcelona, knead what boils.
Although I am interested in that section, The Editor and I have filed the dentures: sweetbreads, chorizo and empanada to start.Rib, chorizo steak (low loin), bife eye (high loin) and potatoes (for putting in some of the earth) to continue.Pancake with dulce de leche to finish: Juan Manuel suggests the volcano, but the name intimidates me. And the cabernet franc The Mascot 2019 so that this orgy of guts and blood can be diluted.
The grill, which José manages, is made of volcanic stone because, oh, in these shallows there were no conditions to extract serious smoke. “You don’t know what hurts us!” Says Juan Manuel, barbecued with firewood in a Buenos Aires stable.
The sweetbreads are a final goal against Brazil and the chorizo also scores: they have mixed it, seasoned and stuffed it themselves, even more amazing because who wastes time in restaurants with that bacon trophy? The formula is from José’s grandfather, who was a butcher: 90% pork, beef, onion, turmeric, chopped red pepper, ground chili and oregano.
I think of a Café de Buenos Aires butter for the steak, as there is already the famous Café de Paris, which was born in Geneva and not in the capital of France
Homemade pie dough, as well as the ‘focaccia’ (these guys put in hours: they are their bosses, they are the only employees), stuffed with lamb cooked at low temperature, goat cheese and Kalamata olives. Good, although I would add more dairy to increase creaminess.
The use of a contemporary technique, low temperature, applied to a pie filling is worth meditation, although it is even more shocking when transferred to one of the pieces that are part of the barbecue: the rib, extraordinary. Vacuum cooked for 10 hours at 66º and, at the time of the show, lying on the irons. That they do not find out in Buenos Aires.
Chimichurri as a sauce from the past and a sauce for the future Because, the world symbol of Argentineanness, it also evolves (Sacha, in Madrid, works a mother chimichurri) and in El Bodegón they vary it with pickled lemon and ‘kaffir’ lime to enrich a lamb.
I think of a butter Café de Buenos Aires for the steak, as there is already the famous Café de Paris, which was born in Geneva and not in the capital of France.
The meats arrive with a chimichurri with parsley, ground chili, garlic, oregano, rosemary, salt and a part of vinegar for two of oil. They spend between five and seven kilos a week and start the new batch with the base of the old one.
I prefer the gizzard, the chorizo, the rib and the meat-eating criteria of El Editor.