La Cabrera

La cabrera
That pretty much sums up our night at La Cabrera.  Little did we know, thanks to our concierge, that
reservations stop at 8pm and although we had a reservation at 930 that just
puts us on the list. 

 Like all restaurants, you really aren’t sure, on some
nights, how the place works.  There
is no doubt that we got screwed, that much I do know. 

 We got there at 930 and were told we were on the list, no
worries, about 30 minutes.  The
restaurant serves champagne and warm chorizo outside while you wait.  The woman who has the list gets swarmed
the second she steps outside.  It
is an insane way of doing business but they obviously could care less.  It does not add to the charm, believe me.

There are 2 restaurants.  The original and then the second one down the street which
was obviously built for the overflow because it was packed too. 

 Last night, we waited for almost 2 hours.  Why didn’t we leave?  Good question.  We stayed because by the time we got
somewhere else, it would be late and she kept saying that our table was almost
done.  They had supposedly paid
their bill and were waiting for them to leave.  After a certain amount of time, the restaurant should tell
them to get up and leave, nicely, as there are other people waiting. What I think really happened is they gave our table to someone else who they knew.

 At 11:15, we were told that they were so sorry, we had
definitely been screwed ( basically ) and they were holding a table for us down
the street.  Did we want to go down
the street?  Not really but at this
point, who cared. 

Even if this was the best meal that I have ever eaten in my life, I’d never go
back.  The entire frustration at
waiting put such a damper on the entire night.  

 So, here it is for the food.  The portions are tremendous so if you go, 2 appetizers for
the table is ample.  We ordered a
mozzarella, tomato and jamon plate. 
Delicious tomatoes and mozzarella with a touch of pesto.  The jambon was a bit hard and not that
interesting.  We also had a mixed
baby arugula salad with sliced salmon ( nova ) on top and avocados.  The salmon and avocados were really good but
the salad but itself was bland. 
After eating up the mixes, the lettuce was in need of serious dressing.

 Then, of course, the steak, which is why people flock to La
Cabrera.  We ordered 3 Bife de
Chorizo, bloody and red.  They like
their meat more well done in BA and if you order medium-rare expect your meat
to be done.  Our meat came out on
the rare/medium-rare side which was perfect. The meat comes out on wooden planks surrounded by small bowls of extras.  The extras run from sun-dried tomatoes to mashed pumpkin to drenched lentils in some weird sauce.  I barely touched any of them. 

Everyone raved about the steak.  Maybe it was me, maybe it was the night but I did not think
it was the most flavorful steak I have ever had.   Peter Lugers blows their steak out of the water,
IMHO and many other places that I have been through out Italy and NYC.  If I thought about it, I could put together a serious list. 

They were going to give us free desserts for the table
because they felt so bad about the situation which only proves that we got hosed because believe me, this place could care less about people waiting. But we were so done after
dinner.  Instead, we had some of the lollipops which is their gimmick that they give at the end of the night.  Josh filled his pockets.

Bottom line, no interest
in ever standing and waiting for more than 15 minutes.  Is it worth it, absolutely not.  Every restaurateur that I know talks about customer service and hospitality.  That is the key to success.  The owners of La Cabrera could give a shit about hospitality.  There are plenty of wonderful steak
restaurants in this town and for the experience, run, don’t walk, in the
opposite direction of La Cabrera.

Comments (Archived):

  1. andyswan

    The ultimate lesson in “sunk costs” and “hard deadlines”. Learned it many times myself (“damn I wish we would have just gone to China Buffet 30 minutes ago!”)As a steak lover, I await your “best steaks of NYC” list eagerly….Two notes from the pics/post: I’ve never been to a great steak place where everyone is dressed like bums, and I’ve never even heard of a great steak joint that errs on the side of more done.

      1. Evan

        I’m an American who has lived here almost 2 years. Frankly, I don’t take people to La Cabrera, there are a million other options. It is inexcusable that your concierge didn’t tell you about reservations, because it is well known that they don’t take them. i’d have walked about 7 blocks to Miranda.can i suggest hiring a guide? i have some friends i would recommend, but they don’t have websites and i doubt you want to take word-of-mouth from a random commenter. so: i read the blog of this girl for a year, and eventually met her. http://bitchtours.blogspot…. she’s actually very sweet in person, speaks English well, is educated, blah blah blah.i feel like running your itinerary/ideas list past her, me, or anyone would help you avoid experiences like La final note: when you say restaurants talk about customer service as the key to success, you are thinking like an American. trust me, it can be superfrustrating for me too, but it’s just not the same here. in a way, it can become part of the charm but you need to know what to expect — obviously a 2 hour wait is always ridiculous.

      2. dorothy_mcgivney

        Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear about La Cabrera. I didn’t have to wait either time I went but I can’t imagine the frustration. Hunger is the best sauce – to a point.Not sure if you’ll take any more recommendations for BA, especially after this, but my friend who recently returned recommended this bar: Dui Dui…It’s an art gallery as well. Good luck and enjoy the rest of your trip! And I too look forward to the NYC steak list!

        1. Gotham Gal

          Thanks. Always up for recommendations…confirms what you know or sends you somewhere else.joanne [email protected]

      3. Elie Seidman

        This will sound silly, I know, but the best steak I’ve ever had in NYC is at Prime and Beyond in Fort Lee, NJ. It’s mainly a butcher shop – with something of a focus on the Korean community – but they have a few tables as well and the owner will probably be the one cooking the meat for you. I had the tasting where he cooks various cuts and aging (wet and dry) in one meal. All of the meat was simply out of this world. I’ve been there with serious NYC and SF foodies and we all agreed that nothing that we’ve had anywhere else comes close – including cooking meat from Lobels (UES), or eating out at Craft Steak, Lugers, etc.. Worth the schlep over the bridget to NJ.

        1. Gotham Gal

          Thanks for the info. On my list. Always eager for a new venture.joanne [email protected]

  2. federico lowenstein

    hi im from argentinai found your blog from yourh a hughe fan on the boxee the truth is that we dont know how to run a service economy. there are a lot of places that have good service but its not usuali recomend you a few nice restaurantssotto voce its very nice italian foodthere are some nice places in palermo alsoi didnt go but there is a place called “el obrero” the place dont look nice but the food is amazing Bono and other people went. the area is not nice so you should be carefulethnic food in argentina is prety bland we dont like spiceoviedo is realy the best place to get fish herethere is also a restaurant called patagonia by francis mallmanyou should go to mendoza its very nice with all the wineries

    1. fredwilson

      we went to oviedo and we really enjoyed it.they do fish very well there

  3. DonRyan

    So, Danny Meyer they aren’t.

  4. johnmccarthy

    Love the picture of Josh and the lollipops. He is clearly thinking “Now, how many can I get away with?”

  5. LivePaola

    Thanks for all your advice. We will be in BA from Dec 30 to Jan 2, and my husband is a serious foodie, so we’ll be following your recommendations.

    1. Gotham Gal

      I would also recommend el traipiche. We didn’t get there but I hear thesteak is tops.

  6. mikesabat

    Hi-thanks for all the info. I read AVC regularly and that’s how I found your blog. My friends and I just arrived in BA this morning and this post helped us talk our friend out of La Cabrera. We are going to ballo del mattone instead.We came from Uruguay and I read all ur BA posts on the boat over. It’s amazing to see your post and then walk by the place a few hours later- it’s like Deja vu. Just walked by Freddo.Anything else in the city that we cannot miss?Gracias,mike

  7. prasmich

    Two things to understand about BA :-1) People eat late in Argentina and 2)casual wear is the in thing when dining at restaurants – Maybe they don’t feel the need to dress up in expensive clothes when the point is the food. Snobs need not apply.Also it probably helps to understand that culture and thought process behind cooking the meat for longer. Different doesn’t mean bad.