DINING: Taste of Tango delivers Argentinian food with little fanfare

February 9, 2009

Barcelona Tapas has its small-plates. Fogo de Chao its all-you-can-eat, sliced at table meat. And Adobo Grill its tableside guacamole.

But downtown newcomer The Taste of Tango (36 E. Washington St., 636-1122) doesn't have any gimmick to get patrons through the door. Housed elegantly in a former eyesore building, it eschews novelty, trusting that its Argentinean fare is enough to catch on with downtown diners.

At lunch, empanadas ($2.50 each) was a good appetizer choice. The stuffed pastries—one chicken, one ground beef—were tight, crunchy and densely packed. Also on the appetizer side, the Matambre con Rusa ($12) was a more obscure and less successful selection. Marinated flank steak is rolled with carrots, peppers and boiled egg, then sliced. It's served cold, with a mound of potato-salad-like veggies and mayo on the side. Note: This is a menu where mainstream diners won't know what to expect even after reading descriptions on the menu. Don't be shy about asking questions.

Lunch special Tortilla de Papa ($9.95, including a soft drink that never arrived), a variation on a Spanish omelet, covered a plate with potato and egg, turning it into something of a French fry pie. The Costilla de Cerdo Grille ($12.95) promised pork ribs but bore a closer resemblance to pork chops. Either might have been accented with a bottle of Quilmes beer, but we didn't indulge.

Dessert offerings include Homemade Lemon Pie ($8) and Panqueques con Dulce de Leche ($6) a rolled treat of caramelized crepes.

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