Claim to fame: Gastón Acurio, Massimo Bottura and Daniel Humm, eating steak at a secret table behind the butcher shop
Reason to go: You’ve had your fill of Peruvian seafood wonders, now you crave red meat
To look out for: Bacon caramel with strawberries and cheddar cheese apple pie.
It’s safe to say that Renzo Garibaldi is a bit crazy. The bespectacled, moustachioed chef opened a butcher shop and steak house in a remote Lima neighborhood––the seaside capital city of one of Latin America’s most beef-challenged nations. Peruvians’ monthly meat consumption averages 400 grams per capita. Licking your lips at OSSO will certainly mess up that national statistic. A pilgrimage to this beefy shrine takes some planning. Skip breakfast, and preferably lunch too, the day of your visit. Know that you’ll spend at least half an hour in traffic (there’s a new branch in the accesible San Isidro district, but you want to go to the original temple). Know that you’ll succumb to red meat in a memorable way. Know that you’ll leave buzzed and thankful you went.
Once you step through the restaurant’s red door, let yourself go. Be careful with the bread but do indulge in the pork rillette and perhaps have a bit of the addictive lardo butter. Craft-beer lovers and wine connoisseurs alike will enjoy the drink selection. Chef Garibaldi is a passionate wine lover and Osso’s list is among the best in town. Chorizo––like everything else involving meat––is made in-house and creatively flavored; there’s cheddar cheese, rocoto chili pepper jam, aji amarillo chili pepper and huacatay (Andean black mint).
Then, of course, there’s the beef, some of the best you’ll ever have. Garibaldi is a master of dry aging, working only with the finest quality stuff, sourced from small farms all over Peru. Besides wagyu and angus he also imports meat from Snake River Farms in Idaho, USA. All of it goes through the dry aging cabinets, starting with five days and going to an outrageous 300 days. But you’ll have to book the private butcher’s table if you want to try the latter.
It was there, in the back of the original Osso butcher shop, that everything started, with Garibaldi lighting the fire of his own grill to sear sirloin with his chef-friends. He now does it for parties of 8 to 10 guest, but only with advance booking. It will undoubtedly be the most extreme meat experience of your life.