When I first stepped foot in Argentina, Cluny was the HOTNESS. All the rave. The cool place to weekend Palermo-it-up. But, at a whopping minimum 30 pesos per person, my cheap Study Abroad ass opted to go down the street to the then LAID back (ahem) Mark’s Deli for a delicious SEVEN peso sandwich or salad. Times have changed, prices have tripled, none of my Study Abroad clothes fit me anymore, and Mark’s is now filled with tan men in deep V-neck shirts/wooden necklaces. After many years with intentions to check out this spot, it finally came the time to experience the wonders of Cluny (El Salvador 4618).
Things started off on the wrong foot. Keen to sit outside, to enjoy the last few warm days and take advantage of prime photo lighting, I asked how long it would take to wait for a table in the patio. After asking two servers, I finally was directed to a man in a track suit, who looked as if he was about to work out, power walking around Plaza Armenia. Our conversation went something like this (in Spanish):
Me: Do you know how long the wait would be for 2 people to sit outside?
Track Suit Manager: No.
Me: Maybe just approximate?
Track Suit Manager: When the people are finished.
Me: Ummm OK??
Track Suit Manager: Look, you can walk around and see what course people are on if you want. But our kitchen closes in 30 minutes, so you’ll have to order before then.
Me: Fine, just a table for two inside. How about by the window?
Track Suit Manager: No, that’s reserved.
Me: OK, just anywhere (RAYOS, I walked to my dark table in defeat).
After sitting down, it took about another 20 minutes for someone to acknowledge our existence. Finally, a server came by, took the order, then returned after 10 minutes to ask the order again. *I should note by this time about 3 tables cleared from outside, the reservation table by the window still did not show, and in all my passive aggressive glory, I kept a big smile and did not ask to move tables.
OK most important part… Cluny offers two types of lunch options: regular menu or specials menu (choose from 5 different main courses). The special menu has the option to include appetizer, dessert, drink and has different prices depending on which combo is chosen. I opted for the special lunch special of Appetizer + Entree + Glass of Wine which was around AR$80. Appetizers were chosen: Gazpacho & Quiche (guess who ordered the buttery, cheesy, least healthy option?).
The gazpacho came out cold, so I bitched and demanded it be taken back to the kitchen. Then they explained to me that gazpacho was SUPPOSED to be cold. Yeah right, I’m not falling for that Argie chamuyo (not really, but I did witness this scenario happen once in a restaurant where a woman FLIPPED HER SHIT and demanded hot gazpacho). I digress.. the soup was very watery and weirdly spicy. Not the delicious kind of firey spiciness, but the more sharp, sour kind that stabs the back of your throat.Quiche, on the other hand, was quite good… nice portion, buttery, cheesy, oily – just how I like it (and my men).
For the main course I ordered the pan seared trout on top of a crispy risotto cake. They even brought out a fun little utensil to easily peel off the skin in one swoop… Definitely the highlight of the meal. It’s very easy to mess up risotto, but this was creamy, cooked to perfection and had a nice layer of crisp to it. The fish also, perfectly cooked, full of flavors. All of this was served on top of some sour cream type sauce that wasn’t necessary.My celiac-diseased lunch-mate ordered the chicken, one of the only things the server assured had no traces of wheat. It was served with a flan maiz and drizzled with a sweet balsamic reduction. Chicken wasn’t great, seemed poor quality throw away pieces with little meat, but the sides delish. Just wish it had more corn flan + sauce.
So I finally went to Cluny – HOORAH! While it is a beautiful atmosphere with an interesting menu, I don’t think I’ll be back soon. In my opinion, just doesn’t live up to the hype.