La Capitale goes Argentinian

La Capitale goes Argentinian 00
(Photos: Zeid Odeh, Sarah Shabbar, Jordan News)
This week marked a delightful return to one of Amman's cherished spots, La Capitale Brasserie at the Four Seasons. However, this visit wasn't solely about indulging in their delectable ice-cream profiteroles; it was a special culinary voyage for September featuring Chefs Nicolas Diaz and Maximiliano Leonel from Elena Restaurant in Buenos Aires, Argentina.اضافة اعلان

Exploring a culture through its cuisine can be a fascinating experience. Understanding food patterns, flavor profiles, and culinary staples provides insights into the lifestyle of a country, its homage to traditions, and a touch to the soul. Argentinian cuisine is one of those cuisines that cozies its way into your heart. Influences by various cultures, including French, Spanish, and Italian, it all comes together in one plate and almost plays to the famous motto of the country “en unión y libertad” in unity and freedom.

Beef, with love, from Argentina
However, one of Argentina’s most famous and loved ingredients is its red meet, beef being a staple. The country boasts one of the largest beef industries globally. Argentinian beef, has been shown to have a unique flavor as it comes from muscle rather than fat, and has the world’s second-highest consumption rate of the beloved staple.

Empanadas, chimichurri, steak, and more
With both of us having some prior knowledge of Argentinian cuisine, we were eager to see if the menu would include empanadas and the famous chimichurri herb marinade, often paired with steak. And upon taking a look at the menu, it was our lucky day. We are happy to report the staples were there, with some twists as well.

Beef tongue…order it, and thank us later
The menu featured dishes from Elena Restaurant, incorporating local ingredients and La Capitale’s offerings. For appetizers, we indulged in a variety, including Beef Empanadas, Escabeche Tongue (Beef tongue), which is something not to be missed, if you like smoked meat, Smoked Salmon Salad, Goat cheese Provoleta, Mushroom Josper, sautéed shrimp with Falafel, and a Churros arugula salad. A recurring theme in these dishes was the harmonious balance of sweet and sour elements, which added an intriguing dimension to each plate. The Empanadas, paired with fresh tomato salsa, were a standout favorite, showcasing how street food can shine in a refined setting.

The other appetizers were equally impressive, with the Goat Cheese Provoleta featuring Dried apricot emulsion being a must-try. The Mushroom Josper with Hazelnuts and blue cheese presented a bold and delightful flavor combination, demonstrating culinary ingenuity.

Churros reimagined
An unexpected surprise was the inclusion of churros in the appetizer lineup, reimagined as a savory ingredient rather than the familiar dessert item.

Chef Nicolas Diaz’s philosophy: simple, favorable, elegant
Chef Nicolas Diaz's philosophy of offering flavorful yet straightforward food with elegant presentation was evident in the dishes served. It was interesting to note that his "simple plating" held its own against the more intricate presentations found in many local restaurants.

With a diverse selection of appetizers making way for the main course, anticipation filled the air. For the main course, we savored the catch of the day with cauliflower puree, short ribs, New York steak, beef tenderloin, agnolotti (similar to ravioli), and a ribeye "Milanese." The accompanying sides included Tomato salad, smoked mashed potatoes, grilled vegetables, and roasted Jerusalem artichokes.

An abundance of steak
Given the abundance of steak options on the table, each cut provided a different flavor profile, whether you wanted something lean, or tender, to a succulent ribeye in between.

Argentinian beef distinguishes itself through sustainable and healthy cattle-raising methods, with an emphasis on quality, natural ethics, and marbling. This approach results in tender beef ready for consumption at the ideal age of 21 months.

With the rising knowledge of meat and cuts in Amman, comparing Argentinian beef to other sources such as American or Australian reveals a similar level of quality. However, it is not just the type of beef that makes a dish exceptional; it is the chef's skill in cooking or butchering it. Each steak on our table was cooked to perfection, boasting a delightful sear, smoky flavor, and tender texture. The short ribs, slow-cooked for six hours, struck the right balance between tenderness and structure.

A unique addition was the ribeye Milanese style, a rarity in culinary offerings, where the meat is battered and deep-fried while maintaining a perfect medium doneness. All steaks were exceptional, with the strip, short ribs, and ribeye particularly shining.

Accompanying these star cuts were an array of sides, featuring various starches, vegetables, and a standout tomato salad paired with pistachios and lemon gel. This salad was a refreshing and perfect complement to the steak dishes.

Of course, leave room for dessert
Leaving room for dessert was a must, and the Crepes with Dulce de Leche and ricotta, served with citrus sorbet, showcased the delightful interplay of sweet and sour flavors. The choice of a citrus sorbet instead of the more traditional vanilla ice cream added a memorable twist.

The Balcarce dessert was another highlight, offering a lighter option. This Argentinian delicacy features sponge cake, whipped cream, almond paste, dulce de leche, meringue, walnuts, and candied chestnuts, sprinkled with coconut and powdered sugar. Think of it as an elevated Alfajores, the infamous Dulce de Leche sandwich cookies, an Argentinian classic.

No visit to La Capitale would be complete without savoring their signature profiteroles with ice cream, topped with chocolate sauce—a timeless favorite.

From impeccable services to fine dining, and everythin in between, La Capitale does a great job of exceeding its own expectations, highlighting the diversity of the country with a fusion to explore other flavors as well.  Their culinary journeys not only keep us eagerly anticipating what's next but also allow us to experience the culture of other countries right here in the heart of Amman.

The only question remains, what country’s cuisine is landing next La Capitale?

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