Don Julio is a good sized place with additonal seating on a second level and outdoor tables also available. The small tables are fairly close but nicely covered with white clothes with brown runners and white napkins. Small service tables help with overflow on the smaller tables. Wine bottles consumed from their cellar of over 14,000 bottles are signed by their drinkers and displayed on the walls. The ceiling is made of bricks and old tile decorates the floor. The open grill area is filled with grilling meats as several cooks man the fire and grill. Windows to the street and patio area are on two sides as the building sits on a street corner. The place was packed with people but noise did not seems to be a problem at lunch. It is a very well known place so reservations are a must but for those who have to wait for a table they offer champagne and empanadas to make the wait easier. They offer a large menu but this place is about beef. The cozy feel of the place is helped by the excellent, welcoming staff. When they found we were “foodies” they offered us a tour of the kitchen and wine cellars. This is significant in that the kitchen is down the street and the manager walked down with us to meet the chef and see some of the preparations of the kitchen that makes everything served – from charcuterie to bread to vinegars and they age their own meat. The wine cellar was impressive with its huge collection of bottles and also had a table for special parties there. Plates are filled with generous portions and sharing is fine.
All tables get a loaf of fresh bread and olive oil as well as 2 salsas (one chimichurri) and a dish of salt. The bread was doughy on the inside and fun to eat with either of the tasty salsas.
We started our meal with Provoleta con morrones salteños asados or grilled provolone cheese with grilled red peppers. It came at the same time as the Mollejas de novillo or steer sweatbreads. The waiter divided both and made a plate for each of us and left the extra on our service table for us to have more. The sweetbreads varied – one was creamy and tender and another was more fibrous. They were cooked perfectly and served with wedges of lemon. They were good. The cheese was topped with flavorful red peppers with the cheese being nicely chewy and crusty on the edge.
For a main plate we had chosen Bife de chorizo ancho or Thick Sirloin Steak. However the waiter mentioned that they also had Media Entraña or skirt steak that day, off the menu, so we ordered it too. Both pieces were cooked to a perfect rare with a wonderful char on the outside. Both cuts of beef were flavorful but the skirt steak was the star. It was delicious. The salsas were good with the meat but tended to overpower their beefy flavor so I mostly went with just salt. To go with the meat we had Papas fritas or French fries and Acelgas salteadas or sauteed chard. The good fries had a nice crisp on the outside with a creamy potato on the inside. The chard was perfectly cooked and very tasty. It was a really generous portion and perfectly seasoned.
For dessert the waiter recommended Panqueques con dulce de leche or Crepes with dulce de leche. He was spot on. It came as a rolled up crepe that was topped with sugar and browned and filled with thick, rich caramel or dulce de leche. It was rich, decadent and a perfect sweet fix.