Thursday, September 22, 2011

Benihana Alto Palermo

(Gabi! Our table!)
It ain't Akahana, but I ain't complaining.

I'm a traveler and a bit of a foodie, so that means I am all for going to new places and trying new foods, as suspicious (or sospecho) as they may be. But, there comes a time in every traveler/foodie's life where you just want a good meal you can depend on. After 2 busy weeks of classes and school work, one Spanish speaking doctor's visit, a cold and about to be rainy morning, and before I teach a beginners English class from 7-8 pm (not the easiest time to teach), I wanted some comfort food. For me that means sushi and especially squid salad, but also something hot to keep me warm on my way back home.  So I visited my food refuge in Buenos Aires - Benihana at the Alto Palermo mall. Nestled in one of Buenos Aires' most cultural corners, between a Starbucks and a T.G.I. Friday's I returned to my oasis. I know, not authentic, but the food is amazing. My relationship with the places borders on obsession, but generally speaking I resist the urge and do something more Argentine. But not today. And what gem did I behold inside, you ask? Heaven in a boat - the lunch boat special.
The lunch menu is an exceptional deal entirely. You can get the teppankyaki show experience, or a variety of other classic dishes for around A$50. But those options do little to satisfy my variety of cravings. So I chose the absolute, hands down, best lunch special ever. The lunch boat special as described on the menu comes with salad, white rice, miso soup, tempura, sashimi, california roll and fruit. Being Benihana there's a taste and quality standard, and being Argentina there's some natural variation between what a menu says and what you actually get. But I'll tell you what I got today, and recommend it you, on the given condition you might not get exactly the same thing. My dish was 4 pieces of tempura (2 shrimp, 1 carrot, and one zucchini), cucumber and sliced octopus salad (close enough, I won't hold my breath for squid salad), 5 pieces of salmon sashimi (not previously frozen, cough cough Itamae), 4 pieces of California roll (big and generous with the crab stick), sesame chicken (on a bed of lettuce more than a salad), a bowl of white rice and a conveniently prepared juicy orange for dessert. It's a feast fit for a king. Luckily it's priced for a mere student, only A$39 (that's around U$D 10 for all  non Argentine or non Argentina visiting readers). You also have the options to substitute the white rice for chicken fried rice for A$ 10, and the chicken for beef or salmon for A$ 49 and $59, I think (but don't hold me to those last 2 prices).
To see the lunch menu (noon to 4) for yourself go here: http://www.benihana.com.ar/menu-ejecutivo.php
Also check out happy hour specials weekdays from (4-8). The full menu isn't listen on their website but there are drink, sushi and hot food specials.
Some happy hour food offers include A$R 10 hand rolls, half price on select rolls and reduced price apps, including these two: Las Vegas roll for A$R 23.50 and tempura chicken for A$R20. The roll was recommended to me, and it was good for fresh salmon and spice, but bad fried. I think their uncooked rolls are better. The chicken was really delicious, super crispy because it's served on sticks not laying down, with a delicious ginger soy dipping sauce.

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