Casa Cruz feels dark, modern (not contemporary) and chic. Entering the restaurant trough a giant polished brass doors resembles a hot nightclub. As you swim inside into an elegant sea of colours with red finishes resembling the hues of corals, where waiters swirl handfuls of tingling plates around the merry diners, you know that you are at a restaurant. Casa Cruz is staged around the bar, the place of seductive action. Here just around midnight, the manly representatives of sharks with mind-ravishing cocktails in their hands, hungry for a feminine pray, circle around looking for the “tastiest” lady from them all. Depending on your mission, wear something elegant to impress as sophisticated or smart-sexy to attract the appetite of the right ‘shark’. Just keep in mind fashion trends that do not stray too much into extravagance as you might startle the serious business diners that also frequent Casa Cruz. Men are advised to wear long sleeve shirt, trousers and closed shoes. Women just be beautiful and you are the most properly dressed even though this is one of the most luxurious restaurants in Argentina. “Babies are not allowed”, which says a lot about this place.
Casa Cruz gained its fame for an original take on Argentine ingredients blended with Italian cooking, but I would add a bit of French and Spanish touches. Starting with a Provolone cheese souflé with red onion compote or a lighter Organic Greens Salad with goat cheese and crispy nut bread, both underline the modernity of the food at the restaurant (think 80s and 90s New York and London fine dining). The naughty looking cheese souflé, was not too heavy, but rather fluffy and deep because Provolone is rather smoky. In the Organic salad the colorful lettuce was made more interesting with a crisp slice of hazelnut bread that was in a perfect synergy with the fresh goat cheese.
The main courses turned to be a bit more exotic for some of us. Half of our table ordered the Baby Goat served with rustic potatoes, lemon and dried tomatoes. Well, I got a bite of all of it, but must say that goat meat is not in my Top 10. It was too dry so dipping it generously into the accompanying lemon sauce and dried tomatoes paste saved the dish for me. Luckily, I went for the Grilled Octopus, Corn cake and Tomato Compote. The octopus was superb! I prefer a meaty texture of this tentacled sea creature, crispy on the outside and juicy inside. The corn cake was like Italian polenta, the dryness of which was moistened with the succulent tomato compote.
Do not skip the deserts here if you have a sweet tooth. We indulged in the Vanilla Créme Brulée and the exquisitely delicate Flan with Dulce de Leche. Pears with champagne also looked seductive, but perhaps we felt we had enough wine already, we did not go for the ‘sparkling pears’. I am curious how it might taste. Let me know if you try them so I can sleep easy without the recurring dream of ‘fizzy pears’ I might have had tried at Casa Cruz. If your heart does not need ‘sweetening up’ then you can get various cheeses from Argentina and elsewhere as your “postre” (Spanish dessert means literally the last plate after the main course).
The restaurant’s back wall decorated with full bottles of wine gives a good hint about the wide selection of wines at Casa Cruz. Argentine wine fans will like this place. There are 250 labels and 20 wines by-the-glass. If you want wine from the old world then you might be disappointed, but why not trying an Argentine Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec that this multi-rooted country does so well? After all, most of the winemakers are descendants of the Italians, French and Spaniards that once made wines in Europe. On the top of that the Argentine Torrontès can be so aromatic that it blows away most white wines made from this grape anywhere else!
Cuisine: Modern urban of the Western 80s & 90s with then popular French influences, some Argentinian touches.
Visit: December 2012
Price: High (Casa Cruz is a popular hotspot for anyone who is somebody in the Argentine celebrity scene).
Opening hours: Only dinner Mon-Thurs: 8:30pm-midnight, Fri-Sat: 8:30pm – 1:00 am.
Address: Uriarte 1658, Palermo, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Contact: Tel: +(54) 11 4833-1112