Sunday, December 10, 2006

A MILONGUERA'S CHOW GUIDE: December 10, 2007
Restaurant: Pepito
Address: 383 Montevideo (off Corrientes)

As avid readers, we decided to dedicate part of our Friday checking out the used bookstores that dot Corrientes. Wanting a break from our usual restaurants, we stopped at Pepito, located near Paseo La Plaza with its little shops, eateries, and theaters.

This cafeteria-style restaurant is well-known and, as I have been told, very portenan. The restaurant remained practically empty, except for the two of us and a family of tourists, until about 9 p.m. when the locals started pouring in. By the time we left, the place was bustling.

I was feeling guilty from the previous night's carbo-load at Marcelo, so I dined lightly on a basic chicken noodle soup (sans chicken) and canned sardines with tomato and onions. I felt virtuous, but was unimpressed by my dinner. My boyfriend, on the other hand, feeling the warm fuzzies of being in a typical portenan restaurant, ordered the classic "puchero de gallina".

The puchero, or pucherito, if you want to be more "carinoso", is a vat of boiled veggies and several different pieces of meat. The water in which these ingredients are boiled go into whatever soup the cook decides to make. In our particular pucherito, we found a 1/2 piece of sausage, a chicken thigh and boob, and a slab of fatty pork, along with carrot medallions, chopped chard, a whole peeled potato, cabbage, and garbanzo beans.

I am sure this concoction warms the cockles of many portenans, though I am hard-pressed to understand the reason why from my taste of this particular pucherito. My very first pucherito tasting sometime last year left me unsatisfied, too. First of all, the sausage was radioactive-red from all the preservatives, but it was probably the only item that was close to having any kind of flavor. Everything else tasted flat and boring. With a little salt, the pucherito became a flat and boring culinary experience with salt.

The place has some positive aspects, however. Tourists wanting a taste of Argentine cuisine that doesn't include a side of cow can have their fill of "minutas" (the Argentine version of fast food that includes mystery meat breaded and deep fried), pastas. If you need to have beef, you can, of course, get your fix here. In addition, it is in the heart of downtown BsAs, and is close to the theaters.

Think first before coming here. While our dining experience was not horrible, I would encourage you to save yourself for other restaurants featured in the Chow Guide.

Atmosphere: Very large, non-descript, cafeteria-style restaurant.

Service: Friendly and efficient

Bathroom: Clean

Total damage: 58 pesos

Overall: Clean, efficient, and thoroughly unremarkable. Come here if you need to feed, but not for pleasure.

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