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Jueves a La Mesa: A Real Secret Restaurant

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.

 

Special thanks to Meghan at Jueves a La Mesa for giving us a discounted meal. Check out their website or facebook page.

12 Responses to Jueves a La Mesa: A Real Secret Restaurant

  1. Jamie Ouye March 7, 2012 at 2:59 PM #

    That is so cool. Mind if I post your picture of the meal on Pinterest?

    • Steph March 7, 2012 at 7:35 PM #

      Please do!

  2. Rease March 7, 2012 at 9:03 PM #

    So glad you guys liked it. Isn’t Meghan great? So sweet and the night is always fun and delicious.

  3. John March 7, 2012 at 9:41 PM #

    Sounds amazing, how did you hear about it?

    • Steph March 21, 2012 at 9:32 PM #

      It was recommended to me by Rease from Travelated. She knows all the best spots in BA

  4. Elizabeth Bird March 8, 2012 at 9:26 AM #

    Oh exciting! I’m actually going to a similar underground resturant in DC in a few weeks. You should check it out next time you are in town: http://chezlecommis.wordpress.com/

    • Steph March 21, 2012 at 9:30 PM #

      Awesome! I’m going to bookmark this for when I get home.

  5. Lisa @chickybus March 13, 2012 at 9:24 AM #

    Wow–this looks fantastic! I love restaurants like this. When I lived in Ecuador, in a small town, there was a French place that was sort of like this. I was happy to know about it!

  6. alexis March 14, 2012 at 5:08 PM #

    Looks amazing! Both the food and the setting. I love the red, polka dotted table lit by candlelight! Very cute! It’s always a pleasure to have dinner with a diverse group. =)

  7. Vacay Girl March 16, 2012 at 10:28 PM #

    What a neat idea! It’s a cool way to get travelers together as well to talk about they’re experiences. Always new and exciting topics discussed I’m sure.

  8. MarkinBA March 17, 2012 at 3:10 PM #

    The food looks appetizing, and the idea is fabulous. Was it substantial though…. I’me not keen on frugal portions.

    • Steph March 17, 2012 at 4:18 PM #

      It was a good amount of food. I left full and so did my (ravenous) boyfriend.

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