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Restaurant review: Meet Argentinian

What's not to love about steak and chips? Angie Sammons finds out

Written by . Published on September 17th 2010.

Restaurant review: Meet Argentinian

THERE is this toff type over at the other side of the room. He is the sort who leads the firm's corporate cricket team into drinking contests in his spare time, and who mimes the action of bowling by the water cooler where you work.

Right now he is shouting to make himself heard over his boisterous playmates.

“Shatt the fack app!” he bellows. And again for emphasis, “Shatt the fack app!”

Another thing that comes with everything is chimichurri, which sounds like something invented by a Irishman called Jimmy Curry who got lost in South America and whose name the locals had difficulty pronouncing. Guess what? It's true

Now some restaurant owners do moan about the lack of trade on week nights. The problem of being spurned by punters preferring to cuddle up to an M&S takeaway, a bottle of blush and Desperate Housewives/MadMen is as confounding as it is age-old.

In the business district, their cries can be even more plaintive as they watch all their custom bugger off to Moorfields station, come five o'clock, leaving the streets by the sea to whistle emptily, the clink of knives, forks and glasses stilled for another day.

So you have to have something special to get them back into the night.

Throw down some meat, then, and watch them gather.

Argentinian Meet, at the bottom of Brunswick Street , has been operating on this principle since it opened in 2006, and does a roaring trade. Tonight, literally.

Not long enough ago, it did have a Brazilian operation in Bold Street at which I had possibly the worst meal of my life. Skirt steak. But like the beef, a tough reality has dawned on the Rio Meet and now it sells fags to Slater Street revellers looking for a different kind of skirt. It is still called Brazilian Meet, Convenience Store. Adios. This is one hell of a business model.

“Shatt the ...." If only he would.

But Argentinian Meet packs them in, always has, and it's not just the customers who come from far and wide. All our beef is Argentinian, says the restaurant whose owners aren't. They are from Liverpool. The charming and efficient staff are South American and Hispanic.

On a wine list of perhaps 20-odd there are just three Argentinian reds to match with the meat, a shiraz, a cab sauvignon and the indigenous, food friendly Finca Flichman malbec (£18.50). Turns out this is on the lighter side of medium weight, but still quite dry. Was it worth the price tag? No.

Is it worth the £4.99 that you can get it for in Morrissons? Maybe. You can see why that Desperate Housewives DVD might look appealing.

And so to Chorizo a la Parilla (£5.50), grilled spicy sausage with salad. Salad comes with everything here and is from the same big barrel of colourful peppers, cucumber, onion and lettuce, uniformly chopped and tossed in a barely discernible dressing. You can't fault it on freshness.

Another thing that comes with everything is chimichurri, which sounds like something invented by a Irishman called Jimmy Curry who got lost in South America and whose name the locals had difficulty pronouncing.

Guess what? It's true.

Chimichurri is made from finely chopped parsley, minced garlic, vegetable oil, white or red vinegar and red pepper flakes and is thick, like a chutney; the essential Argentinian accompaniment to steak. This was a “dip” and, like the vivid red sauce which the highly seasoned five pieces of dry chorizo came in, was memorable only for its appearance, ie, not looking much like chimichurri.

Coctel de Mer (£6.95) was a generous-er portion of tiger prawns

with an avocado mousse and salsa criolla (creole sauce) which lacked many ingredients beyond tomato. The seafood had retained its juiciness and sweet, mellow flavour and had at least found a happy consumer in my friend.

He, lulled like everyone else by the promise of red meat, and lots of it, then ordered Lomo a la Gitana (£23.95), filet mignon, or a 10oz fillet steak, wrapped in bacon with a mushroom sauce.

What he got was two lumps of fillet steak, on a skewer, each one interjected with a a big slice of beef (naturally) tomato on one side, and a thick bacon rasher on the other. All smothered in the mushroom gravy which made a big pool on the plate for the chips to swim in (more of them in a minute).

After a bit of a struggle, he complained that it was messy and that that, yes, the fillet had not much flavour.

If you do want flavour, order ribeye. Failing that sirloin, and if you are buying any of them to cook yourself, make sure it has a little marbling of fat. Don't tell yourself that lean will do you less harm. You have already to elected to ingest a piece of solid flesh. Your coronary die has been cast and you must therefore relish every mouthful as if it were your last.

That's the rule, but rules are meant to be broken, and so it was with my own 8oz ribeye (£10.95). This had been flayed alive by an angry hammer wielding individual so that it resembled Wily Coyote getting up after being run over by a truck. It was battered so thinly, to tenderise it, that its juices had trickled away and I was left with a stretchy piece of flesh-mesh. Jus deserts, you might say.

On the plus side, it was perfectly cooked to medium rare. Mushroom sauce in a big gravy boat was from the basic school and I'm not going to waste any more time talking about it.

Finally, they don't do refried beans in here, however they do do refried potatoes in the shape of chips, reminiscent of any works canteen, which tasted exactly as if they had met with several dunkings in fat that night.

Not good, but like that unruly, swearing yuppie earlier, they made the rest look great.

Speaking of whom, I wonder how hot the boiling oil in that chipper actually gets.

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes.

Following on from this, the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: Don't be daft.

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18 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

kMarch 20th 2009.

This is not Mc Donalds please don't insult the people who work there! come on!Its ture most of the things are over priced! The toilets need a refurb but who will pay for that! Chimichurri in Argentina looks completely different. No comments about what happened with Meet Brazil.... the staff work so hard and they are not happy!!!

been there done that!March 20th 2009.

totally agree!! Why would anyone pay for the food served at this place - oh and you come out stinking of fried steak....

Pop TartMarch 20th 2009.

When i went i asked to have my steak rare, it came medium rare. I sent it back, if ever there was a place i thought was going to get it right Meet was it. Alas no, it seems they cater for the masses and not the people who know how a steak should be served! Shame....

Roger the Cabin BoyMarch 20th 2009.

I think been there done that! is probably too busy getting a life, Bourbon

Victoria StreetMarch 20th 2009.

Heathcote's do good steak and chips too, though you don't hear from them any more

DigMarch 20th 2009.

Best steak I've had in a while was at Gusto. Came rare which was exactly as I'd ordered and the taste and marbling was great.

AnonymousMarch 20th 2009.

last time I was there I felt compelled to complain about the state of the toilets - not only did they need cleaning - they needed a complete refurb!

McDonalds rulesMarch 20th 2009.

How can McDonalds do a decent nosh for under a fiver and yet these guys charge £24 for steak and chips.It is a joke.

AnonymousMarch 20th 2009.

Spot on about this. I know it's only steak and chips, but at 23.95 it's a substantial whack of money in boom or bust times. The Haymarket think they are a cut above the rest too, but are the same, and that's worse in a way because they have that awful piano going in that dingy room. Do you have to go to Manchester to get it right?

The Bourbon KidMarch 20th 2009.

yeh, great comeback there mate now maybe you should just go back to chewing on your crayons

The Bourbon KidMarch 20th 2009.

I have eat here a few times now and have no complaints, the food it always great and so is the service, and as Ann said you don't have to go for the £24 option. And if you don't want to smell of steak, maybe you shouldn't be going to a steak house?

Don't cry for me ArgentinaMarch 20th 2009.

Good piece. Meet is the Liverpool version of an Aberdeen Angus steakhouse.

cobby coolMarch 20th 2009.

Everyting smell of grease and old fat.Particularly the customers.

Mike HomfrayMarch 20th 2009.

Its a pity that there really isn't anywhere decent to have a steak in Liverpool. We need a Gaucho's! Anyone tried the Renshaw Grill?

lou grantMarch 20th 2009.

I agree.

been there done that!March 20th 2009.

Then you clearly know **** all!

Ann FieldMarch 20th 2009.

Have eaten there a few times and always really enjoyed it. Dont have to pay £23.95, can have a much cheaper option and if you talk to the staff about how you want your meal you should be fine, as I say I've never had any complaints

HelpfulMarch 20th 2009.

Fat Git had a go.

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Latest Rants

Ann Field

Have eaten there a few times and always really enjoyed it. Dont have to pay £23.95, can have a…

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been there done that!

Then you clearly know **** all!

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Pop Tart

When i went i asked to have my steak rare, it came medium rare. I sent it back, if ever there was…

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Fat Git had a go.

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