Maybe some of us remember when we were small (or not so small) and went to one of the establishments that La Vaca Argentina had around Madrid. Since 1994, they’ve offered the best meats at the best price, but La Vaca Argentina transformed into LAVACA in 2016 to expand their menu to other world flavors and new customers. This revolution, thanks to the chef Javi Estévez, is now being tried at the six restaurants spread out across Madrid.
With the new name comes a transformation of the space, increasing in quality but still with a retro cosmopolitan touch. A great importance has been placed on the bar, which has its own menu for those in more of a hurry, also designed by Javi. In the restaurant, they’ve expanded the menu and the cuts of meat they offer, and here’s where we were able to explore their wide variety.
Because not everything is meat, we started with a fantastic garbanzo bean salad with prawns and vegetable vinaigrette and a delicacy of cured beef. After these appetizers, we were brought three cuts of meat, two more modern and one more classic. We opted for a fantastic smoked loin tataki made in a Josper oven, and one of the keys to Javi’s new menu: the knife-cut steak tartare, seasoned and served atop a beef marrow, also roasted on the Josper. The sensation of confusion and curiosity when marrow comes to the table is common among the majority of those who order this dish, but when you stick your spoon in and swipe a bit of marrow gelatine to eat with the steak tartare, you know there’s no going back and it’s going to be one of your favorite dishes at LAVACA. To try a more classic cut, we choose the black angus loin, cooked on the grill, which shows us that LAVACA hasn’t left behind the classics of its menu whatsoever.
The new cuisine Javi has brought to LAVACA allows us to now eat a wide variety of meats without feeling as heavy as if we’d just eaten a huge portion of meat, and this is what surprised and pleased us most — to be able to try various things without feeling too heavy. We arrived to dessert, and decided on a traditional and soft panna cotta and some fantastic mango custard accompanied by vanilla ice cream.
LAVACA has definitely undergone a facelift for the better, and we couldn’t support it more, since you have to take risks to gain anything and LAVACA is without a doubt on a good path.
Hours: Every day: 1:30pm to 4:30pm, and 9pm to midnight
Text and photos: Diego Díez