“This happened a long time ago. I had a mental flash—it’s hard to explain,” said Carlos Gabriel Rivero (who goes by Gabriel). “I had a dream of a bull [Tarquin] and I started to research the history of the bull, Argentinian food, beef, and milk.”
That bull inspired the branding and direction of Tarquin Argentinian Restaurant, which opened on Benson Road in north Sioux Falls in October of 2020.
Rivero says he wanted to introduce the area to Argentinian cuisine. The space needed “a refresh,” and the team worked several months to bring vibes of Buenos Aires through the menu, ambiance, and background music.
“It’s an adventure for everybody,” he said of the crew. “I have a great team with great skills with me.”
Rivero says a classic item on the menu is the Churrasco. The dish includes grilled hand-cut steak, paired with homemade Chimichurri Sauce made with freshly chopped herbs.
“It’s basically a steak,” he described. “And we serve it with fries or mashed potatoes. In Argentina it’s beef and beef and more beef. And then sometimes milk and flour.”
While patrons are encouraged to wine and dine, there are also “Minuta” options.
“A Minuta means in a few minutes you have to have [the dish] ready,” he said as he snapped his fingers. “These plates are good for lunch, like the Milanesa Napolitana and Empanadas.”
There are a wide range of empanada options, like the La Boca. This is made with homemade empanada dough filled with spicy ground beef, onions, red peppers, and jalapeños.
The Milanesa Napolitana, as Rivero describes, is like a schnitzel with lightly fried breaded beef, topped with a slice of ham, tomato sauce, and melted mozzarella cheese, served with fries.
“This is another German introduction to Argentinian food and is super popular,” he said.
Argentinian cuisine is often influenced by a range of European fare.
“It’s a classic menu in Argentina, and they have a big influence from Italy,” he said. “We put together what we think is the best and what we grew up eating and enjoying.”
A Taste of Argentina
+ Picada Tarquin
Plate of assorted cheeses, charcuterie, cold cuts, and olives.
+ San Telmo
Homemade empanada dough filled with ground beef, onions, peppers, hard boiled eggs, and olives.
+ Caprese Salad
Fresh mozzarella cheese, tomato, and fresh herbs drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.
+ Pasta Feast
Choose a sauce and pasta to create a personal pasta feast.
From the Kitchen
+ Chicken Parmigiana
Lightly fried breaded chicken breast topped with homemade marinara sauce and melted Italian cheeses. Served with a side of spaghetti.
Tarquin also has a bakery and wine shop in the space. Most of the desserts are homemade, and they have become known for their cakes. Some are imported from around the world, including a special cookie (the Mantecol) mixed with peanut butter and honey.
“It’s been a few months, but it feels like we just started. We’re always growing and improving. – Gabriel Rivero
The wine selection is a wide range, with bottles in the high price range, but many on the more affordable level. This is because Rivero stressed the importance of wine while experiencing Argentinian foods.
“Wine is everything with Argentinian food. Mexican food has flavor for itself. The spices, everything there is on the plate,” he explained. “With Argentinian food you need the wine to—boom—explode in your mouth. It’s like the fire for a firecracker. Mix them together and all of the flavors come alive.”
While it was a challenge to open during the pandemic, the team says they feel positive about the future and current state of Tarquin.
“Everything is getting better and better. The quality of the food is better. The orders are getting better,” said Rivero. “The first two weeks were really bad, but we needed to do it. We just had to jump in and do it.”