The 180-seat Artango Bar & Steakhouse is now open in Lincoln Square, bringing authentic Argentine cuisine, tango dancing, lively late evening milongas, and a peek into the golden age of Buenos Aires to Chicago’s dining scene.
The new location at 4767 North Lincoln Avenue in Lincoln Square, is owned by the husband/wife team of Tango pro Maria Alferov, a Cooking & Hospitality Institute of Chicago alum, and Buenos Aires-born artist Sebastian Casanova who designed and handcrafted the interior. In 2013, the couple opened their popular 80-seat Argentine hot-spot, Artango Bistro, in Ravenswood. Based on its success, the demand for more seating and more space for dancing, the duo decided to move to a larger, nearby location.
Artango Bar & Steakhouse is inspired by the 1920s halcyon days of Buenos Aires, when the increasingly cosmopolitan city was teeming with nightlife, restaurants, Tango salons and opera houses, and soon dubbed “the Paris of south.” One of the most popular locations in Buenos Aires at that time were the “milongas” – restaurants with tango dance floors. Artango continues that tradition with live tango demonstrations as well as tango classes. Whether you’re on a date or out in the Square with friends, tango classes are a fun and unique way to meet people and learn a different art form. Classes are taught by Hernan Prieto & Daniela Roig, professional instructors from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Find the full schedule of classes on the Artango website.
Of course, one of the primary reasons to visit Artango is for the marvelous cuisine and the inventive cocktails. The food goes back to Argentine roots, without compromising a contemporary touch. Local, fresh ingredients are used to create rustic, flavorful dishes. The superb steaks are prepared using ancestral Argentine techniques and the bar focuses on prohibition-era inspired cocktails with a well-curated selection of classic and rare wines from Europe to Argentina.
I was recently invited to bring a friend to experience both the food and cocktails. Without fail, everything we sampled was superior. The craft cocktail program focuses on prohibition-era cocktails such as the Daisy Cutter Martini (vodka, elderflower liquor, Martini extra dry, yellow Chartreuse, mint leaves), the Monkey Gland (London dry gin, absinthe, orange juice, grenadine) and the Savoy Corpse Reviver (Brandy, Fernet Branca, white crème de menthe). They also specialize in South American classics like Pisco Sour, Mojito, Milonguera, and Caipirinha.
For appetizers, we sampled the Ceviche Trio which is always a “chef’s choice.” Ours included Ceviche Isla (shrimp, passion fruit, aji amarillo sauce), Ceviche Nikkei (tuna, avocado, huacatay sauce, sesame seeds, sesame oil, scallion), and Tiradito Exótico (sashimi-style paiche (amazonian fish), leche de tigre, crispy quinoa, microgreens) served with crispy plantain chips. Other intriguing appetizers include Empanadas with fillings like Taleggio cheese and grapes, and Picada — a selection of cold cuts, cheeses, olives, fig jam, and toast.
For entrées, the Argentine cuisine focuses on parrilla-grilled steaks, meats and seafood. For the two of us, we opted to order a shared platter – Asado Argentino (traditional selection of flank steak, short ribs, morcilla & sausages). The steak was perfectly-prepared medium rare, tender and flavorful. Although my friend was not a fan of the morcilla (blood sausage), I loved it!
Other entrée suggestions include the following:
- Churrasco de Chorizo — Prime, spiral cut New York strip steak, marinated in garlic, parsley, olive oil
- Ojo de Bife — Prime, rib-eye steak, delicately marbleized for exceptional tenderness
- Paella del Sur — langoustine, scallops, calamari, shrimp, saffron rice
- Cordero Patagonico — lamb chops, creamy polenta, kale, truffle oil.
Although we were satiated by the end of the entrée, we did opt to sample some of Artango’s desserts and were quite happy we did! Everything sounded amazing, but we finally chose the following:
- Mi Buenos Aires (Dulce de leche cheese cake, merengue, peach honey sauce, candy hazelnuts) – The combination of flavors here was superb, and I loved the light crunch of the hazelnuts adding some crispy texture to the many layers of flavor.
- Elegante Papirusa (Churros, Rum chocolate syrup and Raspberry coulis) – I will venture to say that these are the best churros I have tasted in Chicago up to this point. That is not hyperbole – they were absolutely perfect. The combination of the rum/chocolate and raspberry sauces only improved what was already fantastic.
Artango Bar and Steakhouse is located at 4767 North Lincoln Avenue. For more information, visit the website, call 872.208.7441 or email [email protected]. You can also follow their social media conversations on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.