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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

tø Be, or not tø Be

The fabulous door of "to" restaurant
This new place with an incredibly interesting door opened a few months ago and after walking by 50 or 60 times, I finally decided to see what was behind the cool door.  The answer is twofold, there is a small restaurant and bar, and a boutique hotel with somewhere around 20 rooms.  The restaurant is called , (the "o" actually has one of those little carrot top accents over it, but I don't know how to make that work on the keyboard) it's pronounced "toe" and we decided to take our date night there last weekend. 

Tø's full name is "tø frapanese cuisine" and the location in Recoleta (Quintana 465; 5295-8585) that I am referring to is actually their second, the other one being in Palermo (Costa Rice 6000; 4772-8569).  As the full name suggests, they have a mix of French and Japanese dishes along with an interesting cocktail menu and, of course, full wine list.  Our plan was to have a drink at their bar and then continue to a different restaurant for dinner, so I can only speak to one of their dishes, but we plan to go back for a full meal sometime in the future.

Just as the attached hotel is boutique-style, tø only has 5 or 6 bar stools and a maximum of 20 tables.  They have a small indoor/outdoor patio that offers 2 tables next to a beautiful water feature that would be a great place for a glass of wine on a sunny day.  We had to laugh a little as we sat down on our barstools because although the bar itself is visually interesting (it almost looks like a carved tree was laid down to make the bar top), the stools are a few inches too short so we looked like we were sitting at the kiddie table for Thanksgiving dinner.  The bartender, Guillermo, was friendly and attentive, though he suckered both of us into an upsale - me with a glass of wine that wasn't on the menu and Jon with some sort of liquor in his mojito, but we thoroughly enjoyed our drinks and at the end of the day our bar tab was still less than we would pay in any big city in the US.  Our buddy Guillermo explained that the restaurant and hotel were both owned by a relative of the Catena Zapata family (flashback to our Mendoza trip) and that the wood to make the super-cool entrance door and the bar were both imported from Mendoza.  We hold out hope that Guillermo can help us get a wine barrel from Mendoza brought to Buenos Aires for a reasonable price, we've been keeping those in mind since our trip last year as well.

As for the food, we shared a tempura roll appetizer, and we really weren't that impressed.  Obviously, the roll was salmon, as most of the sushi rolls here are, but it seemed to be a flaky, cooked salmon that wasn't very flavorful.  Also, the "tempura" seemed to be rolled in breadcrumbs and fried, unlike actual tempura battering that we're used to.  All in all, if you want a tempura roll, I suggest you go to  Gran Bar Danzon, where the roll is far superior.  That being said, we have heard really good things about the rest of their menu, and the ambiance is enough to keep us coming back for at least a pre-dinner drink.  The prices are a little steep, considering the area of town and the "boutique-ness" to the restaurant it kind of comes with the territory, but overall tø is a nice place to stop in.

If nothing else, walk by and check out the front door. 

UPDATE: November 6, 2011 - We went back to Tø this past weekend for a drink before going out to dinner and the bartender informed us that the restaurant was no longer serving food.  No explanation, just that they pulled the menus and were keeping the bar open sans food.  Apparently we weren't the only ones that weren't overwhelmed by the appetizers.  Also, we have yet to see Guillermo again, so I'm guessing that my search for a wine barrel from Mendoza continues...

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