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Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Through reasons that I can only blame on my few years in the restaurant business, I became a bit of a restaurant snob. If a friend suggested going out to an American food restaurant chain I would either urge them to reconsider or suggest a more original place. I still think that if you travel to another place in the country, or the world for that matter, you should venture outside the Senior Frogs-style restaurants and into a more local place, but if you are staying somewhere for any length of time, I have drastically changed my feelings on the subject. I would say that this revolution in my restaurant-snobbery happened in the first week of March, when I insisted on eating at the Hard Rock Café and I took down a plate of potato skins in record-setting time. I went back a week later to devour nachos and a Caesar salad. So when the BAIN notice came out that this month's lunch would take place at Benihana, my previous desires to be an original restaurant connoisseur went right out the window.

Oh, Benihana, you are so good. I have come to appreciate the consistency of these chain restaurants in a way that I never thought that I would. I know that Benihana is no hot-dog-and-apple-pie kind of place, but the flavors are familiar and for the meal, I feel like I could be located in any Benihana in the world - they are all exactly the same. I have to confess, this is not my first time to the Benihana here in Buenos Aires, in fact, it's my third. Our first trip was back in December on their opening weekend and they had more than a few kinks to work out. I have to say that since then, they have transformed into the lovable Japanese-style-steakhouse that we have all grown to adore. Benihana is located in the Alto Palermo mall, otherwise known as mini-America. As you'll notice from the picture, there is an enormous Starbucks on the right-hand side and if you could see the neighboring restaurant on the left-hand side, you would be looking at a T.G.I.Fridays. In a hilarious twist on reality, the Friday's is ALWAYS busier than any other restaurant that I've seen. We're talking line out the door and around the corner on a Saturday night, nice work Fridays.

In general, I would go to Benihana for dinner, but my expat group had a lunch planned so I headed in for the midday meal. For the amazing price of $50pesos, we were given a starter salad, fried rice, a choice from 9 different meat options (I chose Filet Mignon), grilled vegetables, ice cream for dessert and your choice of either a soft drink or a full-sized bottle of wine (1 bottle for every 2 people). According to today's exchange rate, 50 pesos = $12.75 USD. Can you say great deal?! It was fun, we had close to 40 people from BAIN show up, a mix of the downtown and suburbs groups.

The only potentially negative thing that I'll say about Bs.As. Benihana is that the chefs are clearly new to the game. There isn't a whole lot of shrimp-flinging or fancy onion-train tricks going on - but I actually see that as a positive thing. I really dislike the possibility of a grease stain on my shirt when I inevitably miss catching the shrimp in my mouth. Some people really dig the fancy chef-tricks, so be aware that they are muted at this location. The restaurant also offers some great looking sushi and traditional Japanese dishes for folks that would rather sit at a normal table and not the griddle-topped table that we always go for.

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