When you're walking up the sidewalk to Tierra del Fuego in Sugar Land Town Square, the first thing that hits you is the smell of roasting meat. Most of that smoky scent wafts from a glass-encased rotisserie at the front of the restaurant, where big hunks of outside skirt steak and slabs of ribs are sizzling and popping over the fire. It's not just cooking -- it's theater.
Tierra del Fuego is an Argentinean restaurant that wants to entice diners with its beef-centric menu and, once they're inside, seduce them completely with its sexy, dark dining environment. Down the aisles and between the tables, sleek tango dancers execute their intricate, silky moves unobtrusively across the floor. In the open kitchen, flames do their own dance across the grills and make the meat sizzle and pop.
It almost works. It's easy to join in the dance and order the parrillada gaucha, a meat-fest "for two" that includes sweetbreads, short ribs, Argentine sausage, blood sausage, chicken and bife de fuego (outside skirt steak). Then the platter arrives and the mistake becomes obvious. It's about five pounds of meat, most of which doesn't have much seasoning.