Telephone (21) 2249 2161
Metrô bus Baixo Leblon
A quality Mexican restaurant, like a good curry house, is a hard find in Rio, and the opening of a new one is therefore always greeted with a decent amount of fanfare and expectation. The location of Si Señor on Leblon’s Avenida General San Martin, however, doesn’t make for the most optimistic of beginnings. For a start, classic Mexican food shouldn’t be elitist and Leblon prices for fajitas or refried beans are not good bedfellows. Plus the never-ending rodizio of establishments that have occupied this lot over recent years suggests it is one of those bizarre twists of geography or crossing of ley-lines that means businesses simply do not survive there.
But such superstition does not belong here, oh no. The interior has been radically overhauled since Astoria bar closed and typically colourful cartoon-y artwork now lines the upstairs (though it’s a shame that this only opens when downstairs is full, meaning only those visiting the toilets get to witness it (speaking of which – where are the toilet doors? Is this some crazy new fashion in restaurants we don’t know about?)). If the design is a little cliché for some tastes then the music won’t change that opinion, but in the main dining room the lighting is set so low that at least an air of sophistication is attempted, albeit at the cost of being able to read the menu.
Proud of their tequila selection, there are no fewer than five different brands ranging from a standard Cuervo to a Reserva Anjo (R$36 a shot but available by the bottle too), the former being the main ingredient of their excellent margheritas (R$18-$22), or a wide range of smoothies (R$13) take care of the healthier options.
The illegible menu never strays too far from the standard fayre that one would expect from somewhere called Si Señor, but the tequila shrimp appetizer complete with lashings of cream cheese (R$36) at least tries to make up for the ever-present nachos (R$21) and potato skins (R$25). The main courses are also predictable with tacos and burritos to the fore and the fajitas (R$68-$86) just about cover two people but cannot be ordered for one. The steak used is juicy and flavoursome, but it is the fake-flamed chicken that lets the side down, the taste just too enhanced to possibly be natural.
Hopefully Si Señor will do well and encourage someone else to set up a rather more authentic and reasonably priced alternative, but for the time being it fills a gap in the market. All that is required now is that curry house.
9 Oct 2012.