Argentina Steak & Wine
Words and photography by Josie
Translated by Angela Cheng
170, DunHua S. Rd., Sec. 2, Daan Dist, Taipei City
Hours: 11:45 am-10 pm, afternoon tea serves after 2:30 pm (Closed on the second Monday every month)
Credit cards accepted, 10% service charge, Chinese and English menu.
Song Jian-liang has lived in Argentina for 26 years, has wine cellar designer licenses and significant experience with Western dining. He opened his first restaurant when he was 19 in Argentina. Recently, he returned to Taiwan and opened the no-menu Buenos Italian French restaurant in Taipei in 2010 with some coworkers from Argentina with similar backgrounds. He shows great talent in his high-class restaurant and now imports traditional barbecue method, Asador and Parrilla, which are from Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Colombia and other South American countries. He opened "Argentina Steak & Wine" to bring these barbecue methods to Taiwan, and is already attracting a lot of gourmands.
Asador and Parrilla have a long traditional history. Earlier, they were in rough form and now they have gradually become more refined, as evidenced by the number of fancy restaurants in Argentina featuring these techniques, and their appearance has slight differences. There is not a tool like Asador in Taiwan, so Fernando Sung designed his by himself creating a small model to communicate with and find someone able to build the stainless Asador. Also, Parrilla has improvements in its heating. Argentina uses low temperatures to roast steak slowly, which brings out the meat quality more than when cooked by oven or fried pan. Asador adjusts the tilt angle distance of the beef according to the heat of charcoal, keeping the temperature under 90 degrees, and works to not to evaporate the blood inside the meat. This maintains the meat's moistness and sweetness. After that, with Parrillla's second step, the crispy top is very delicious.
Almost every Argentine family has an Asador barbecue grills in their backyard, if they want to have steak for dinner, they roast the steak on the Asador starting at noon. The steak at Argentina Steak & Wine also requires at least 6 to 8 hours of cooking time, so there's limited supply--first come, first serve is the rule and reservations are recommended. Besides ASADOR USDA Prime Aged Bone-In sirloin, they have added a New Yorker option recently. There are varieties of European dishes, with the Mashed Potato Beef Casserole (NT$450) highly recommended. It is a normal dish in Argentinian homes; mainly there are stewed beef mashed potatoes, cheese and simple food to give people satisfaction with this countryside meal. The glass wine cellar at the side of the entrance is hosts a variety of red and white wines, and have wine dispensers to let guests taste a glass first, then decide whether to open the bottle.
A. The giant slow roast grill inside the glass window grabs attention when passing by Argentina Steak & Wine. There is usually about 7,8 kg bone-in sirloin slowly roasting on the circle Asador grill. After it's done and ready to serve on the table, they start cutting the steak and put it on the square Parrilla grill, heating it for 1-2 minutes and putting it on the iron plate to let guests enjoy the best quality.
B. ASADOR USDA Prime Aged Bone-In sirloin (NT$3,200/for one, NT$5,900/4 people set meal) 29~35oz., 2.5 centimeter thick-cut, dipped with French salt to bring up the flavor, (the trained professional service staff can introduce the cutting). You won't forget the slight wood charcoal taste.
C. Scallop with White Wine Sauce is an appetizer in a meal set with slightly burned Japanese scallops and mixed with a whole Spanish shrimp in shell, using a white wine sauce as the base, highlights the good quality of scallops.