At the half-way mark through Restaurant Weeks, our work-lunch crew investigated this Galleria-area Argentine steakhouse, Tango y Malbec, an across-board win.
Its no secret to Houstonians that a sizable portion of Galleria-area residential is owned by wealthy Central and South Americans who either work or play in Houston. That said, you’d assume good Central and South American fare would run amok in the neighbourhood. Sadly, not so, which makes the few good choices, like Tango, all the more obvious.
Black and Red dominate the large interior which contrasts starkly with the innocuous strip mall setting. I asked a tango dancer in Argentina why they typically dress in black and red. His response – ‘el fuego y el misterio’ – the fire and mystery. I suppose that pairs well with Tango. And also Malbec. Inside is 4 spaces; a large dining area, a private wine table room, a bar and a private dining room. I found out from server than on Saturday night the spaces are dramatically re-configured to host demonstration tango dancers. Definitely a romantic if not sexy setting for date night.
From the Restaurant Weeks lunch menu I chose
Empanadas: Its the national dish, of course I tried it. One spinach, one beef, both good with crispy, flaky pastry, but the beef was much more flavorful with distinct overtones of green olive and possibly dried currants or raisins. Both paired exceptionally well with the odd but appealing creamy version of chimichurri sauce.
Grilled Flank Steak: Good quality cut, basted with chimichurri, grilled to order, served with additional chimichurri and roasted root vegetables. Very good and reminiscent of the many meals I had in Buenos Aires.
Coconut Flan: Dense, incredibly rich, almost the consistency of cream cheese. The coconut flavour in this dessert is very intense. The side of dulce de leche, while obligatory for almost all Argentine desserts, is not necessary. However, for those wanting extra sweetness and creaminess, its available.
There were some hiccups with the reservation. Since I factor in 20% no-show, the ten people who responded ‘yes’ translated into me making a reservation for 8. However they received a reservation for 6. We had zero no-shows so the nice wine-room table they set up for us wasn’t sufficient. They quickly reconfigured other tables and relocated us, not even their mumblings in Spanish were complaints. Otherwise, dishes came out in perfect succession; it was exactly one hour from start to finish.
Of course, the 3-course, $20 lunch is a great value. The regular dinner menu is on-par with their high-rent digs and the quality of the offerings : apps hover about $15, entrees, $25-30.
Lunch: August 2014
Tango y Malbec | 2800 Sage @ Alabama | HTX 77056