El Arbol recently opened. Driving by one day, I found their South American inspired exterior very chic and I thought – wonder if their food is as good as their building looks? So I asked my friend Mari to join me for drinks and the always needed gab session. The menu features South American inspired cocktails and Argentinean food using produce and meat from Texas farms and ranches. Go Texan!
When I strolled into the bar, I noticed that Mari had already started with a fresh looking Caipirinha. On a hot, muggy day like today I thought, perfect! The Caipirinha did not disappoint in fact, I liked it so much, I ordered a second. It was crisp and tart. Delicious. Those tasty lime drinks always go so quickly.
Mari and I started off with the Provoleta and two empanadas – the Mendoza and Carne Suave. The Provoleta is a cheese lovers dream as you dip your crostini in and gather the smoky provolone blend around the toasted edges. The oak wood flavor really came through and worked nicely with the paprika and oregano. With all the different flavors, you could still savor the cheese. But once the cheese cooled, it made it difficult to continue to enjoy the experience. I love cheese but I wasn’t excited about carving out hunks of congealed cheese. Our server noticed that we stopped eating it and suggested that he take it back and comped us. I was impressed with his gesture. (If you decide to get this, I suggest you eating it very quickly and/or asking them to reheat it once it cools.)
We then moved on the two empanadas. The Mendoza featured a mix of pork, raisins, onions and almonds. It was an interesting blend. Good but nothing I would order again. The Carne Suave was a “suave” mix indeed with sirloin, potatoes, onion and spices. Me being a steak and potato girl, I of course was delighted with the Carne Suave and thought the spices complimented the meat nicely.
After we finished, we were still craving something more, so we ended up ordering the Matambre. I loved it. Mari loved it! It was delicious! The flank was cooked perfectly and all the elements of the dish worked so well together. I couldn’t get enough of the Malbec demi-glace and the rosemary mustard sauce blended together. I would slather the meat in it. Yum! Definitely a dish I would order again! We of course didn’t have room for dessert after that but they did have some interesting “Postres” listed and are worthy of a try in the future.
Overall, Mari and I enjoyed our experience. I would definitely go back to El Arbol for another round, possibly try some of their entrées and sip on one of their Cairpirnha Mora, (mmm blackberries). I liked the cool retro South American vibe and the service was excellent. If you were to go South American, El Arbol is a good choice.
El Arbol – http://www.elarbolrestaurant.com/