Suave host, charming cuisine

Updated: 2013-03-05 09:54

By Mike Peters (China Daily)

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Suave host, charming cuisine

Rib-eye steak [Photo by Mike Peters/China Daily]

Suave host, charming cuisine

Caramel custard(flan) [Photo by Mike Peters/China Daily]

Other cuts on offer came to the table tender and flavorful, but this one was a chewy critter with not much taste. (We were well into a bottle of robust Malbec and feeling pretty generous toward all we surveyed, and still found this princely looking hunk of beef wanting.)

Happily, there are lots of yummier options that are also cheaper.

You can order beef rib-eye and sirloin and other cuts hot off the grill for less than 100 yuan - or pay a little more if you crave lamb chops.

Then add sides of your choosing a la carte. The grilled eggplant is a garlicky stunner, and Kuo gets your taste buds on the edge of their seats by serving up a complimentary taste of it with petit rounds of fresh-baked bread.

The empanada sampler (42 yuan) sports three pastries stuffed respectively with chicken, beef and corn. More robust starters include a savory mushroom-studded quiche (50 yuan) enveloped in a flaky pocket of pastry with a rustic look that belies the artisan hands that made it.

There is also a blood sausage that makes real tango dancers in the crowd swoon - but we left that for those who'd appreciate it more than we might. (We also adopt this generous pose when offered chicken feet at the best Chinese restaurants.)

Dessert at Che Diego is a home run: Airy crepes with caramel sauce are sweet and satisfying, but better to follow your host's urging and order the dulce de leche (50 yuan).

It sounds simple - a thick, creamy, intense slurp of heaven, a convincing finish that will lure us back for more.

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