Here’s the low-down on the latest action-
The Beef: Steaks!
This is actually a review of two separate visits. The first was on Valentine’s Day; we ordered a set menu (available anytime) on top of a few other dishes. The food was less than mediocre, as was the watered-down sangria. We even had to send back the paella, which was pretty unsavory, and just plain sour. All of which was extremely disappointing because I am a huge fan of the first outpost and wanted this one to be great as well (conveniently located in my neighborhood, which is sorely lacking a go-to steakhouse/bar). The only saving grace was the service – the staff was extremely gracious and accommodating. Oh, and the desserts were fantastic too.
But I didn’t want to write this review without trying the steaks, which is what they are known for in the first place; and the ceviche, because it’s also an outstanding dish at the original (we ordered the ceviche the first time around but it never arrived, and by the near end of the meal we didn’t want it anymore). Long story short, we returned for a second visit for the Sunday steak deal, and it was a whole other ballgame…and a homerun (going with the sports theme here)! We tried the ribeye and the tenderloin which were both cooked to the desired degree of doneness, i.e. medium rare was a slightly pink bloody medium rare, and not medium. Go for the calamari ceviche, which was well prepared, generous chunky cubes of raw fish and calamari marinated in citrus –sour and a hint of spicy. We stuck with beers this time, and the pisco sour - a classic but like all good things, does take a bit of a longer wait.
The Gang: Sprinkled mix of Chinese and laowai couples, groups, and families.
The Damage: Set menu for 2 @ 218rmb (includes apps, choice of mains, dessert, drinks); Mon-Wed & Sunday night steak deals. Total: 1400rmb for 6 ppl.
The Down n’ Dirty: One flight up, very clean. And ratio of two girly stalls to one men’s. Smart move!
Shanghai has a plethora of steakhouses, many of which will leave a serious dent in your wallet and at times I have found to be disappointing, but am pleased to say not when dining at either of the El Bodegon casual Argentinian steakhouses.
I have dined at the original El Bodegon on Changsu Lu a number of times over the years, great selection of beef cuts, always affordable, and grilled over coals to your preference, not as easy as one might think to get this spot on each time.
I went along to the new El Bodegon steakhouse on Panyu Lu, that has been open about six weeks now and took advantage of their weekly promotional specials, went for the Rump steak, which to me is by far the tastier of cuts, failing this cut, would have gone for a Sirloin steak.
Ordered the Rump steak rare, and asked for a simple side salad, which they don’t have on the menu ( hint hint if you are reading this) accompanied by a glass of the Malbec at 60RMB for a 150ml, not a bad drop of wine I must say.
I was asked how the steak was, and if it was cooked to my liking, and all a firm yes, I in turn asked for additional salad and chimichurri, along with another glass of wine.
The service staff were extremely efficient in taking the order and topping up the water, no hard sell of fancy sparkling waters either which is a relief.
All in all, for a table of one, damages came to 267RMB and could highly recommend El Bodegon steakhouse on Panyu Lu for their steaks.
The only downside was the young bartender picking his trumpet (aka nose) in full view of the restaurant, not once but twice, carrying on his business, oblivious to being seen by customers.
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