An Afternoon at Entre Rios

TAKING AN AFTERNOON FOR LUNCH ISN’T ALWAYS PROBABLE WITH A HECTIC SCHEDULE. SO WHEN THE OPPORTUNITY PRESENTED ITSELF, I WAS MORE THAN ECSTATIC TO TAKE IT. I’M ALL ABOUT THE LEISURELY LUNCH. AND SO IS ENTRE RIOS.

RENGO – French owner, Dominique Massenez, moved to Chile 25 years ago and laid down roots along Route 5, where the original property to Entre Rios still stands. Since then, he has created a boutique winery, restaurant and has plans for offering accommodations in the near future.

“It’s not just a restaurant, it’s a place. The concept is that something is always happening here,” says Massenez. “It’s a place to spend the afternoon.”

So where does one start an afternoon of eating and drinking? In the sala de vino, of course.

Massenez’s line of wines, Donum Massenez, bare the owner’s last name and Donum, which is the Latin description for “the best gift you can make with your hands and your heart.”

From right to left: the Donum Massenez Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Flaviata and Assemblage in the sala de vino.From right to left: the Donum Massenez Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Flaviata and Assemblage in the sala de vino.

The wines are young and elegant, reflecting how a little goes a long way. “Too much is too much, like a little lipstick is okay but too much is too much, just like the time macerating in barrels.”

For this reason, his red varieties are lighter than most Chilean reds. The 2010 Assemblage is one of these distinguishingly different reds, which Massenez compared to a French Bordeaux. “In a blind tasting, no one would say that it comes from Chile,” says Massenez.

As for whites, we grabbed our glasses of Chardonnay and meandered over to the table to enjoy the smooth sip with our entradas of foie gras, onion tarts and lobster tempura. Then on to the Assemblage to accompany the platos principales of eggs meurette, sesame tuna with rice, confit de pato and beef bourguignon.

The French-Latin cuisine is exquisitely prepared and presented. I couldn’t tell you what my favorite dish was; I genuinely had a tastebud explosion to them all. For the sake of choosing, I would say the foie gras, the confit de pato (thinly sliced potato and meat) and the dessert hit it out of the park.

In tasting the different menu offerings, every utensil at my setting was used, from the standard butter knives for the foie gras to the dessert spoon for the chocolate, chestnut and mint mousse.

“Chestnut is one of my favorite ingredients,” says Massenez about the unique flavor he prefers to add to his meals for taste and to set himself apart from other restaurants. But this isn’t the only way that the French gentleman sets himself and his restaurant apart.

Meeting the Colombian and Peruvian chefs reinforced that the international community plays a key role in the unique dynamic of the restaurant. It’s not just French-Chilean cuisine, but a French-Latin cuisine, which embraces all the best of Spanish flavor and brings them to the plate for an unforgettable combination.

Between the quality and care behind the menu and vineyard, Massenez has created the perfect afternoon. He is right in saying this is more than a restaurant, it’s a venue for sipping and sharing, surrounded by appreciative company.

Tickets range from 5,000 to 12,000 pesos. Platos principles range from 9,000 to 14,000 pesos.

Restaurant hours:

Sunday – Wednesday: lunch, from 12:30 to 17:00.

Thurday – Saturday: lunch and dinner, from 12:30 to 00:00.

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