A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the phenomenon of closed door restaurants in Buenos Aires. This week I got to try a new one: and this one was really, legitimately underground.
“When you ring the bell just say your names. I try not to let the doorman or neighbors know too much about what’s going on,” said the email I received from Meghan, who runs Jueves a La Mesa. The name literally means “thursday’s at the table,” and the weekly event is unknown even to the next door neighbors.
In contrast to Cocina Sunae, which was really a restaurant in someone’s house with waiters and wine menus, JLM is more like a dinner party with an entrance fee. Guests mingle in the small apartment’s living room where a massive dinner table has been set up. In the kitchen bubbly American expat Meghan labors over posts and pans, pausing to refill wine glasses and explain the dishes.
Space is limited and the attendees are an eclectic mix: a gaggle of study abroad students from NYU, a german business woman in town for the evening, a middle aged couple backpacking around the world. I loved the fact that a totally different night would result in an entirely new experience with new people and new conversations.
A big part of the experience is Meghan’s philosophy of creating healthy, locally sourced meals. The food is a refreshing departure from heavy steaks, empanadas and milanesas. Meghan’s cooking is totally vegetarian, uses minimal sugar and white flour, and ingredients found around her neighborhood of San Telmo. Les you think she’s some kind of magician, she actually sends out the recipes to all participants after the meal.
Our dinner was Indian themed:
Sweet Potato Dahl with Cabbage Roti
Spicy Korma with basmati rice (not pictured, peanut-coconut salad)
Banana balls and home-made chocolate.
Stuffed with food and red wine, paying the bill on the way out almost seemed like an afterthought. The cost is 100 pesos per head, around $23 USD. Not bad for a fun night out and a chance to dine with strangers.