Argentinian restaurant bomb after series ‘O Faz Nada’, with Robert De Niro

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Argentinian restaurant bomb after series ‘O Faz Nada’, with Robert De Niro

Julia Barbon

Fat pieces of meat roast on the coals, alongside chimichurri sauces and slices of provoleta cheese. Then the waiter with a bow tie comes in: “Can you order a steak on horseback?” he asks. “Scusi, but no hablo español”, replies the customer on the other side of the camera, none other than Robert De Niro.

The scene is from the new Argentine series “Nada”, available on Star+ and poorly translated into “O Faz Nada” in Portuguese. Some time ago, the real-life restaurant, a neighborhood steakhouse near the center of Buenos Aires, had two names, one during the day (Parrilla Celva Bravo, the owner who worked the lunch shift) and another at night (Lo de Omar, the husband who worked at dinner).

After the passage of the Hollywood stele, however, what is stamped on the facade is a third one: Rebenque de Omar, something like “Omar’s Whip”, in reference to one of the hundreds of historical objects hanging on the walls inside. On the outside window, the new nickname was painted by the series’ production team above a horse and a cowboy, where a passerby stops and takes a photo.

“But they gave it a scratch, because it looked very new”, says Omar Escudero himself, a 74-year-old man who made his living singing tango until 28 years ago, when tours became scarce and his late wife decided to buy the establishment, before Spanish seafood. He even registered his new name and doesn’t complain. “Everything adds up,” he repeats like a mantra.

The queue that starts to form before opening, at 12pm, and at 8pm sharp, has been common for two decades, he says. But they have gained weight since May 3, when the entire street was closed for filming of the series, a dramatic comedy with five 30-minute episodes, directed by Argentine duo Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat.

“Nada” tells the story of gastronomic critic Manuel Tamayo Prats, a caricatured Buenos Aires played by Luis Brandoni, an acclaimed Argentine actor. When the maid who organized his life for years dies, he hires a young Paraguayan woman. De Niro is a kind of narrator and long-distance friend of the protagonist, a relationship that also exists in real life.

“His stunt double was very similar. When he went out on the street, people screamed, clapped, and we died laughing”, the owner laughs. There were two days of recording, one of them just for the hand scenes. The actors appeared in the second, the American followed by three bodyguards, so Omar just said hello and didn’t want to bother them.

The passage is recorded in two huge photos of the scenes printed and carefully placed under the glass of the table where the stars sat. “This table was a witness to the filming of the series ‘Nada’, on Star+, with Robert De Niro and Luis Brandoni”, say the bond sheets next to the little pieces of paper that allowed entry to the “set”, which also became a souvenir.

The image does not show the plastic tablecloths or the huge freezer located in front of the barbecue, which Omar says he stored in the storage room that day. The production had a list of five restaurants like his being evaluated for the scene, but his ended up being chosen because it allowed the perfect framing between the table, the grill and the street.

This is because Manuel is not the only protagonist of the series. The city of Buenos Aires itself and the food are equally central, as the cameras led by cinematographer Alejo Maglio make clear. For those who never invested in advertising in their lives and didn’t even have social media, an overproduction in the salon wouldn’t go badly.

Robert De Niro and Luis Brandoni in a scene from the series “O Faz Nada”, in Buenos Aires – Star+ – 7.May.22/Via Reuters

“People started coming from Honduras, El Salvador, Spain, Italy, and also companies that wanted to bring groups of tourists. But I had to say no. The place is small, and if they came they would take away the place of loyal customers”, explains Omar, which, at the age of 80, does not want to expand. “I have about four or five more years, then I’ll rest”, he says, tired.

Hype could be the best time to sell, he thinks, but like many Argentines he prefers to wait, especially with such an uncertain election knocking on the door in ten days. “Now I don’t make any decision, because you win [o ministro da Economia e peronista] Sergio Massa will be more of the same, and if he wins [o ultraliberal] Javier Milei I don’t know. It’s anyone’s guess.”

In the midst of inflation of almost 140% per year, Rebenque de Omar stands out for its price-quality ratio, attest to customers, who already know that it is good manners to tip each employee in the hand when leaving. The 900 grams of chorizo ​​steak eaten by De Niro and Brandoni cost 12 thousand pesos (R$ 70 at the parallel rate), without accompaniment.

In real life, you don’t cut with a spoon, like in the series, but Omar demonstrates it with the back of the knife, taking a few minutes to break it in half. “Some days yes, some days no. It depends on the animal,” he says, apparently making a joke that a Brazilian wouldn’t understand, but which makes Argentines laugh. At the next table, one of them asks to borrow the plastic vinegar.

Source: Folha

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