Nothing fancy just great food and service
Michael: We stood at the opening of a metal fence covered with plastic sheeting. Wooden poles extending from the house roof to the top of the fence and covered with hard plastic sheets keeps the rain off the well scrubbed raw wood tables and benches.From the other side came the words in Spanish of, “Welcome. Come on in.” A lady with a large cleaver in her left hand and tongs in her right stood behind a counter. A wood fired large grill smoked behind her. As we approached she brought the cleaver down with a thud. Using the tongs she handed my wife a nice size piece of beef, then one to me.
Graciela: Asadero las Varas is located in the pueblo of Tenjo a couple blocks from the town square or parque principal as we say. It takes about an hour ride from Bogotá to arrive.
I looked at Michael as he took the first bite of meat. His theory is that any place willing to put their reputation on the line by giving you a sample puts effort into making something good. His eyes widened and I knew what is next words would be. “Let’s eat here.”
It was obvious from the taste that they serve the good beef from Colombian grass fed cows. Meat seems to be their speciality. Chicharon sat in a tray on the counter along with roasted gallinas. Being kept hot on a side grill were morcillas, potatoes, platano, chunchullo and costillas de res.
Michael: Ok, for my American friends I think a little bit of translation is in order. Chicken in Spanish is usually pollo. However gallina is not one of the young meat birds. It is the older bird that has laid eggs. Many cultures use them for soups. And in Colombia these chickens are most likely range fed. Platano is a cousin of the banana and used in many dishes. Morcilla is a large, two inch to three inch thick, sausage made using blood from a pig as well as rice, onions and spices. Chunchullo, in Colombia, is usually braided beef small intestines. Costillas de res is beef ribs.
Graciela: The place specializes in piqueteadero. You can almost consider it a type of restaurant that I have found is very much unique to Colombia. It basically means a platter filled with all the foods previously mentioned. People at the table get to pick and choose what to put on their plate.
Michael: I have eaten in other piqueteaderos where they fill the platter. Sometimes they seem to have too much platano and potato and not enough meat, but not this place. The platters they delivered to other tables were heaped, not just filled, and there was no skimping on the good stuff.
Graciela: At the insistence of his doctor and his wife, Michael is on a diet that limits the amount of “good stuff” as he calls it. But the parrilla grilled Colombian beef is on the available list.
Graciela: Service; excellent in every respect. When I ordered more drink and wanted an extra glass it arrived promptly. What separates this place from many others is the sincerity from the staff to make your meal a delight.
Michael: Asadero las Varas does two thing exceptionally well, service and great tasting food. They don’t need all the fancy decoration or theme items and you do not get charged for them. This is just what most people go to a restaurant for and all at a value price.