T+L Reports: Latin Explosion
South America's food scene is heating up with five new restaurants. ARGENTINA The stylish Casa Cruz (1658 Uriarte; 54-11/4833-1112; dinner for two $68) in Buenos Aires highlights chef Germán Martitegui's urban Argentine cuisine (rabbit medallions on raisin purée; poached lamb tenderloin). CHILE In Santiago, modish Puerto Fuy (3969 Nueva Costanera; 56-2/208-8908; dinner for two $74) dips into the sea for abalone ravioli laced with champagne cream and sea-urchin dumplings. BRAZIL At Rio de Janeiro's Da Graça (780 Rua Pacheco Leao; 55-21/2249-5484; dinner for two $20), a kaleidoscopic display of religious icons competes with equally colorful dishes, such as bolinhos (Cariocan fritters) garnished with salmon eggs. A-listers nibble on bamboo-shoot cannelloni and other crudivorismo, or raw foods, at São Paulo's Deloonix (1709 Rua Bela Cintra; 55-11/3085-2078; dinner for two $66). Conventional Paulistas prefer the sleek São (70 Rua Henrique Monteiro; 55-11/3034-5383; dinner for two $45), which has a menu influenced by a 19th-century Italian cookbook. Guinea fowl with broad beans, anyone?—CONNIE MCCABE
Popular with the A-list set, Casa Cruz is an upscale Argentinean restaurant known for its clubby atmosphere, lively bar scene, and contemporary cuisine. Located in trendy Palermo Soho, the restaurant is marked only by a set of imposing, 16-foot brass doors. Inside, the oval bar is topped with fresh flower arrangements, while the candlelit dining room is furnished with leopard-print carpet, bright red banquettes, and a floor-to-ceiling, glass-walled wine cellar holding 250 regional labels. Created by renowned chef Germán Martitegui, dishes may include foie gras crème brûlée with caramelized mango, followed by Argentinean veal tenderloin with green pepper sauce.