Buenos Aires Café, an east side favorite known for exquisite Argentian cuisine, now offers weekly El Gran Lechón Nights.
While the cozy cafe offers a popular platter of traditional grilled meats, “De la parilla,” the whole roasted pig feast prepared for El Gran Lechón Nights is a whole entity unto itself. You can taste it for yourself every Wednesday night at Buenos Aires.
Buenos Aires Café invited me to experience El Gran Lechón Nights and comped my meal. This is my honest opinion.
Certified Master of Grill
Owner Paola Guerrero-Smith, always passionate about cooking, heard about Escuela Argentina de Parilleros. This school is an Argentinian Master of Grill crash course. She knew she had to go.
For 10 intense 14- to 15-hour days, Guerrero-Smith learned the in-depth art of Argentinian grilling. For once, the phrase “trial by fire” is completely apt. After a full day of theory and technique instruction, the chef put on her apron, sharpened her knives, and set to work in the school’s kitchen. The school also serves as a fully functioning restaurant.
Among the dishes Guerrero-Smith learned to prepare was a whole roasted suckling pig. Along with her Master of Grill certification, she brought this talent back to Austin. She wanted to share it with her patrons and staff, to practice what she’d learned. She commissioned a specially built roasting box and decided to treat Austin to a weekly feast, Argentinian style.
El Gran Lechón Nights
With that, El Gran Lechón Nights were born. Every Wednesday morning, owner/chef Guerrero-Smith roasts a whole pig. She checks temperature and texture throughout the day. When she is satisfied the lechón is ready, she pulls it out of the cooker and lets it sit for about an hour. Guerrero-Smith then butchers up the pig. She carves it into thirds, the shoulder area, the ribs, and the ham.
Customers can order the meat by the pound or half-pound. Each order comes with a side of Argentinian potato salad, mixed greens, and a wonderful chimichurri sauce. You really don’t need to dress it up much more than that. The meat is nothing short of exquisite. Whatever your memory is of the juiciest, most tender pork you’ve ever eaten, I daresay this will surpass it. It’s that good. Guerrero-Smith also keeps pricing down to an affordable $20 per pound. With sides included, that’s a heck of a deal.
Chalk it up to her love for cooking, her precision as a chef, or the high quality of the pigs she uses. However she gets there, she takes her diners with her.
Don’t Forget the Cocktail Pairing
Ask the bartender for a drink pairing. Buenos Aires is known for its cocktails. I had the Silvestre, a spicy, tasty whiskey concoction. One tip on the Silvestre: the effervescence is delightful, but may also awaken those sinuses when you accidentally inhale a spicy bubble. Or so I hear, haha.
After dinner, I suggest heading down to the sexy speakeasy below the restaurant, The Milonga Room. What a special place this dark, plushly decorated sipping room is.
With a strong focus on amaros and fernets, the drink menu at The Milonga Room rings true to Argentinian tastes. Any fan of craft cocktails or quiet conversation with close friends, and enchanting strangers, will be an instant fan of this bar.
Hope to See You There
For adventurous Austin eaters, El Gran Lechón Nights fit the bill for a special occasion meal, date night, or perfect Wednesday evening with friends. Buenos Aires Café’s dreamy atmosphere is a treat for the senses. Bonus points if you actually get to chat with the delightful chef herself.
Guerrero-Smith intends to continue with these Wednesday night specials for the foreseeable future. For now, El Gran Lechón is only available at the East Sixth location.
1201 E. 6th St. – Website
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