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Restaurant Observations , Assorted


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OK - last Thursday, I had my first opportunity in a long time to dine at the El Gaucho steakhouse on Sukhumvit Soi 19, which was panned pretty badly by Jitagawn in his OP.


I was part of a party of five (3 Americans, and a married Thai couple). Based on an earlier arrangement, I paid for all the alcohol, and someone else paid for all the food. In no particular order, here are my comments:


1. The place was PACKED on a random Thursday evening. The primary host called to make reservations around 2:00 pm - the earliest seating he could get was 8:45 pm. Our group showed up at 7:30 to have drinks out front - they managed to get us in early at 7:45 pm, by pulling a few tables together.


2. Our total bill came to about 21,400 baht. 18,300 baht, plus 10% SC, plus 7% VAT.


3. There wasn't a single Thai server in the place. The floor captain in our area was from Croatia, and all the waitresses we spoke with were Filipinas. Service was EXCELLENT.


4. You can see the menu at http://elgaucho.asia...nd_30092014.pdf


5. I had Item 31 off the menu - Filet Steak, 350 gram, USDA Prime - 2,590 baht. Cooked medium. The five best steaks I've ever eaten are pretty much indistinguishable in my memory (at age 58) - but this was definately one of them. I've never had better. It was huge - you get your money's worth.


6. We ordered various accompanying dishes - all were acceptable, none were extraordinary. All side dishes were HEAVY on garlic - which I do not particularly care for.


7. We all left happy.


I feel bad for Jitagawn - he had a bad experience - but I had a great experience. I will say this: It is a pricey place. You can't go in there planning to spend less than about 3,000 baht a head, and still have a great meal. I'd suggest budgeting at least 4,000 baht.




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Sir ,


with interest I read your comment and agree with what you say about accompnying dishes . Although : in my theory a "huge" steak already kills the party plus an overdose of garlic destroys what should be enjoyed as good taste . They have a very rough way of preparing food which is not my thing at all . Unless they have to pay extraordinary money for imported beef the place is overpriced .

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I've never been there, but 2,590 but for a steak (US $79) strikes me as expensive, that's 107 NZ pesos. And having never been there, the following is open to argument and correction, by others who may have been there, please have at it.


Without wanting to disparage the place, there are a few things I'd expect in a Western restaurant that charged this kind of money for beef (and the beef being imported is no excuse for high prices, you can buy NZ Lamb legs at Emporium for less than at supermarkets in NZ).


Pre-dinner drinks area, clean, not exposed to street traffic and associated fumes.

Expensive and thoughtful decor, subtle and pleasant music in the background.

Not just excellent service, but silver service for these prices.

Side dishes, at least one without garlic.


IMHO, which is in part, based on the precise and formidable thoughts, of our dear Bubi, there are a lot of restaurants in BKK that take advantage of:


a/. Expats and Tourists being unable to find their favourite Western food, in this case grilled meat.

b/. The naivety of so called 'HiSo' locals who've managed to scraped a few shekels together and wish to demonstrate 'face' and 'status' by spending it on any Western thing that is seen as, usually, only affordable by the rich.


To give depth to this argument, I relate a small story that happened in Vientiane recently, Vientiane to a certain extent, is Thailand for beginners. A Dairy Queen opened in downtown Vientiane, for those how don't know, the Dairy Queen is a place that sells ice cream extruded from machines, it looks and behaves like a McDonalds, but it's for ice-cream. The place was mobbed by the local 'HiSos', BMWs and Mercs jamming the surrounding streets and parked on kerbs, pavements and street vendors. Not just on opening night but for weeks afterwards. Thus is the hunger for status satisfied.


Thais are no different, witness the constant display of wealth by the elite of Thailand, it has to be displayed, that is what it's for, at least in the minds of Thais.


A further note on the 'Gaucho' concept. I've been to one like this in Auckland and one recently opened in Vientiane, the concept is chunks of meat, grilled at high heat, on great big flaming grills, like the Gauchos or 'cowboys' would do it on the pampas. Nothing wrong with that, good meat, good taste. Luverly.


There is however no Michelin starred chef in the background, no school of Gaucho cookery one must graduate from to prepare this kind of food, generally it is cooked by anyone who knows how to cook a steak. Also, the other food, the wine, the surroundings are generally what we call 'rustic', or if you were in Argentina, ordinary.


​I fall with Bubi in thinking that 'Gaucho' food at these prices is expensive. But if money is no object, then appropriate for the purpose. Stone Soup, I don't direct the above at you personally, these are just my thoughts on 'Gaucho' food.

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The idea to go there came from the mushroom farmer whom I told I wish to sit outside . And she thought a falang likes falang places only . There is a billion restaurants in that area but after thorough research I found one in the middle of soi 11 on the left which suits me and another one Soi7/1 in the middle , left side . The food is not worth to be mentioned but I like it there . What I think is really a good restaurant is a place corner Charoenkrung / Silom opposite the lebua Tower . That place is truely great , my current favorite . Name is Ice Cafe or so . I have been there with Pam from a Thai massage shop

I WANT YOU SO MUCH is what she said . Good news I thought . No prompremm .

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  • 3 weeks later...

Gentlemen ,


other that the late doomsday prophecies concerning the Thai capital I hereby confirm that since my yesterdays arrival I could jump with joy to be back here . Even for the airport taxis they have now established a sophisticated system that allows the customer to stalk the individual driver once trouble comes up .


Here and now : With the latest as per today love of my life I wish to visit a restaurant tonight called Zanzibar Soi 11 which I did personally sreen this very hour . and results are to my fullest satisfaction . The management takes care to provide a table under an exotic tree separate from the crowd because to be honest I am so far not fully sure if madame is not basically a ladyboy . Which would not really matter since I am after personalities and not meaningless physical defects . we shall see . ( :topic: ) Should there be widespread rumours about the Zanzibar causing serious health risks I may politely ask knowing fellow boardmembers to step forward and issue proper warning today before 19:00 sharp .


Thank you .

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It reminds me of the middle eastern restaurant I used to go to on Soi 3, just a stone's throw from Nana Plaza really. Awesome food, linen service, very friendly staff. Perhaps some of the finest food I've tasted. They really knew how to make a Vindaloo. Anyhow I'm in bliss, knashing away on this curry making full use of the condiments, like those little cocktail onions and that yoghurt raita - it was a fiery one alright when it seemed impossible I didn't notice it before - this massive portrait of Arafat leering down on me with his towel on his head and a shit eating grin on his face. I must admit in those days I was quite naïve, still am in all likelihood, but this wasn't like that long after 9-11 - and hey wtf? wasn't this guy a terrorist? I looked around the room as if seeing it for the first time. Full of arabs, in their white pyjamies. Speaking their Arabic, did that guy just steal a glance at me? What den of iniquity had I stumbled into? I'd gone into a kind of full-blown paranoia - perhaps they where plotting to kill me before I even leave. My death would just be a byline - then it occurred to me - they must think I'm American. I felt like standing up and announcing that I'm an Australian - death to the those goddamned Americans, just let me slink away.


Well that seems silly now, but I can easily see why people become extremists. I found some academic literature on Gaza, and Pale stein. They had a legitimate grievance. They'd had their whole country stolen from them for fuck sakes. They were in fact the victims, not the perpetrators. I was also a victim of propoganda in a way.

I became a regular, talking to the owner several times.

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