He wants a steak dinner; she says, “Why don’t you ever take me dancing any more?” Or perhaps both he and she are simply hungry for a dinner date where the entertainment goes beyond eavesdropping on the couple seated at the next table.
As of mid-April, you’ll have a saucy new night-out option in Artango Bar and Steakhouse (4767 N. Lincoln Ave., Lincoln Square), where grilled meats and 1920s-era Argentine cocktails will be served up with tango performances and lessons, live bands, and an all-out party, according to co-owner Maria Alferov.
Ukrainian-born tango enthusiast Alferov and her husband, Buenos Aires–born artist Sebastian Casanova, met when Casanova enrolled in a dance class taught by Alferov. The duo operated the recently closed Artango Bistro—a BYO Argentine eatery and event space where diners received complimentary tango lessons—since 2013, and are opening the new, larger spot in order to better accommodate dancers and diners simultaneously.
Alferov taps her culinary training (she is a Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago grad) to develop a menu heavy on grilled meats—including prime and dry-aged steaks—and seafood characteristic of her husband’s native cuisine, but says much of the food bears similarities to what she grew up eating. She cites a cold eggplant appetizer that’s grilled or sautéed with vinegar, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. “My Ukrainian mother served this, and every Argentine family eats it,” she says.
The interior, which Casanova designed, pays homage to 1920s and ’30s Argentina, when Buenos Aires teemed with tango salons, restaurants, and nightlife. “We are all about music, dancing, food, and art,” says Alferov. “Lincoln Square is a very cultural place, and we are in the right spot.”
Be forewarned: An evening at Artango Bar and Steakhouse may end up costing more than just your dinner tab. “People will definitely want to travel to Argentina after coming here,” says Alferov.