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  1. I'm not even going to try to figure out whether this residency merits a general recommendation. I will say that this is sheer heaven, if your idea of heaven is a place where Jewish food is cooked by agents of Argentines who, unlike the preparers of most Jewish food (especially Ashkenazic), actually know how to cook. Meshigene is a well-known newish (not a typo) restaurant in Buenos Aires.* (Apparently "meshuggeneh" is spelled differently in Argentine Spanish transliteration.) It features "Jewish food". Let's reflect for a minute on what they mean by that. They claim to feature all kinds of Jewish food, by which they mean Ashkenazic (what we mainly think of as Jewish food here), Middle Eastern, and Sephardic. (They don't really try to incorporate Italian Jewish cuisine -- which in a way is surprising given BA's large Italian population and cultural/culinary influence.) At first blush, you'd expect the emphasis to be on Sephardic, what with Argentina's having started as a Spanish colony. But when you think about it, you see why the emphasis is solidly on Ashkenazic, the food of Central and East European Jews. Jews had already been kicked out of Spain by the time Argentina was colonized. They didn't come to Argentina from there at the time of colonization. They came later, from Germany and Russia and all the other places New World Jews came from in the 19th Century (including the families of childhood BA piano competitors Daniel Barenboim and Martha Argerich). So anyway, there's a decent amount of Middle Eastern food here, and some Sephardic -- but an absolute shit-ton of Ashkenazic (which, as an Ashkenazic Jew, is fine with me). But here's the thing: while the term "shit-ton" is usually all too applicable to that kind of food, the stuff here is fantastic. It's like a "What If": what if Ashkenazic food were good? You aren't even sick after eating it! For my first of what I am sure will be many visits, I went full Ashkenaz. I started with the gefilte fish, made mainly from cod (which I'd usually say made it "not gefilte fish" — but obviously I’m giving this wonderful place the benefit of all possible doubts); a segmented log rather than a blob, it was beautifully put together, beautifully flavored, beautifully garnished with pickled vegetables and horseradishy or mustardy condiments (and trout roe!), and I loved it (I didn't even miss the aspic). For my main dish, I had the pastrami-spiced short ribs, which were (I think) brined, then sous-vided, then grilled (a method of preparation that had us all excited when Ko opened but which we would now all sneer at). This was as good in practice as Montreal steak is in theory (by which I mean, GOOOOOOOOD). Maybe because the pastrami flavoring was pretty light. I didn't much love the very fried spaetzle (I mean, FRIED spaetzle? REALLY?????) that came with it, though. THAT seemed more like the heavy-handed cooking of my grandmothers. The date-bar dessert was nice. For something like 10 years, I've been engaging in the absurd pursuit of trying to make a cocktail that reflected the flavors of a Jewish deli. My every essay has been (not to put too fine a point to it) disgusting. They have one here now that isn't disgusting. (I don't know that I'll order it again, though.) The by-the-glass wine list is very well thought out as a complement to the food. As I said, I can't tell begin to guess whether you'll like this stuff. But me, I'm considering moving in there. There's so much more I'm dying to try on the menu. Maybe eventually I'll even move beyond the Ashkenazic stuff. ______________________________________________________________ * Mishigene's chef, Tomás Kalika, seems to have already returned to BA (unless he was just taking Monday off). But one of the beauty parts of Intersect by Lexus is that Nickolas Martinez's NYC home staff is so good at executing the supervising chef's recipes.
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