Tag Archives: argentinian

Chimichurri Grill (East)

NOTE: THIS PLACE IS CLOSED

I was invited to Chimichurri Grill East by the restaurant’s PR specialist to try a special five course tasting menu (with wine pairings and dessert), and to write a review. Let me get right to it!

The restaurant is an elegant, modern and fine dining Argentinian steak house. This is somewhat of a rarity here in the city, as most Argentinian places that I know are more on the pub atmosphere end, and don’t serve actual Argentinian proteins. Argentinian beef is something that people clamor for, so it’s good to know that this place serves the real deal.

Moreover, Chef Carlos Darquea uses family recipes to create the dishes he loves and grew up with. Everything is authentic and from the heart.

His wife Alicia is the wine director, and together they own a sister restaurant, called Chimichurri Grill West (a theater district mainstay for nearly 20 years), which serves the exact same menu but in a different atmosphere.

Here’s what we had:

Course 1: Sweetbreads (Heart)

This was really nice. These veal heart sweetbreads are sliced and grilled, served with a red pepper, parsley and garlic sauce, and featured on a slice of crispy purple potato. Very pretty and delicious. This was similar to something like foie gras.

Note: this is a smaller portion than what is served if you order from the menu.

Course 2: Beef Tongue Stew

I really loved this warm, hearty and delicious dish. It was reminiscent of homemade beef barley soup. The tongue was diced into small cubes and braised to tender perfection.

Note: this is a smaller portion than what is served if you order from the menu.

Course 3: Grilled Romaine Salad

The feta, buttermilk and dill dressing makes for a nice creamy compliment with the grilled greens. And the crispy bacon lardon is just perfect.

Note: this is a smaller portion than what is served if you order from the menu.

We had a scoop of homemade passion fruit sorbet to cleanse the palate. Very nice!

Course 4: Pasta with Seafood

This house made pasta is served with a chardonnay and basil sauce that gets added to a roux and the various seafood juices that Chef Carlos extracts from the seafood used to make the dish; clams, calamari, prawns, mussels and halibut.

Note: this is a smaller portion than what is served if you order from the menu.

Course 5: Grass Fed Argentinian Rib Eye

This was great. It’s wet aged for 32 days as it travels from Argentina to the US. Chef Carlos finishes this Black Angus steak directly on wood charcoal to develop a great crust on the outside of the meat. It’s even plated with some charcoal, and when you pop the rosemary on top, it smokes and gives off a great aroma.

It was cooked to a perfect medium rare. It had a huge outer cap and a lean eye, likely due to the grass fed nature of the beef.

You’re in for a really nice bite when you combine the caramelized vidalia onions and sauces that come to the table with this dish.

The steak (which was a full sized portion, FYI) also came with French fries. These were perfectly crisp and deliciously seasoned.

Dessert: Dulce de Leche Creme Brulee

Wow. What a great dessert! So flavorful, smooth and unexpected. A great Latin twist on the classic French custard.

That about covers it! I really can’t wait to go back and try some more cuts of steak. The menu here is new/fresh, exciting, and completely outside the box.

They even have nice happy hour specials from 4-8pm, and a great express lunch menu for all you midtown power lunchers. Get on it!

UPDATE: 12/22/17

On a subsequent visit, I tried a few more delectable items.

La Suprema Burger

Veal sweet breads and caramelized onions on top of a 6oz grass finished filet patty. Very nice. The sweetbreads almost act like a cheese, adding that creaminess and fat content to the lean beef.

Clams with Chorizo

Perfection. Just order these and you’ll thank me later.

Bife Con Fritas

Strip steak, perfectly cooked, with those delicious fries. Can’t go wrong with this bad boy. I liked this better than the rib eye, and at just $42 for 12oz, you’re saving some cash in the process.

Special Off Menu Bone-In Rib Eye

Similar to the boneless cut I tried during the multi-course tasting, this lean rib eye backed a great flavor with a robust char from the on-coals cooking process.

CHIMICHURRI GRILL EAST
133 E 61st St
New York, NY 10065

Quality Eats

Quality Eats overall score: 85

Fourth Wall Restaurants, who’s group includes Smith & Wollensky, Maloney & Porcelli, Quality Meats and Quality Italian, has just opened up this new casual joint.

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Is it a steakhouse? Maybe. I say yes in some ways, and no in others. I’ve decided to treat it like both a regular restaurant and a steakhouse, despite the fact that certain steakhouse review categories will ultimately be scored low due to a more minimalist menu and a completely different selection in terms of meat cuts. They focus on non-traditional cuts of meat here, so be prepared for something unique and different. Also be prepared for that Fourth Wall level of quality and excellence that you’ve come to know and love from them. The word “quality” is purposeful in this group of restaurants. Everything is always good at these places. That’s consistency, people… and I’m not talking about texture.

Flavor: 10
We had the bavette cut and the long bone short rib steak. Both were cooked to a perfect medium rare, both had tons of awesome beefy flavor, and any fat content was completely edible and tasty. Here are some quick angles of the long bone short rib:

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They only allow you to order this cut “pink or grey.” Due to the high marbling and location along the bone, this meat can get chewy if not correctly cooked to either of those temperatures. Clearly I went with pink, and I was a very happy camper. These guys are masters in the kitchen.

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If you’re wondering what it tastes like, think of the really flavorful bits near the bone of your rib eye steak, or the kind of meat you eat with cross-cut Korean style BBQ short ribs. So good.

Here’s a look at the perfectly cooked, beautifully charred bavette steak. Both plates came with a cup of corn creme brûlée – sweet yet savory, and creamy as fuck – and some pickled red onion. I explain a little bit about this bavette cut down in the next section.

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This was nice. It’s a smaller portion, but at $19 it’s a steal because of how delicious it is. The flavor and texture is similar to a hanger or a very soft flank. It gets cut on the bias, against the grain of the meat and muscle striations, to increase textural tenderness.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 7
Don’t let the low score here fool you. This place offers more affordable, less common cuts of beef, but the quality is still extremely high. They don’t have a rib eye, a NY strip or a porterhouse. As such, points must be removed for each missing item. Instead, however, they have a bone-in short rib steak (the meat that rides along the length of the bone as opposed to the eye meat. They have a hanger steak, which is relatively more common. But they also serve a bavette, or flap steak, which is an extension of the T-bone and Porterhouse steaks. It is officially part of the short loin section, in the belly of the animal. They also have top sirloin, skirt steak, and a specially prepared filet with mustard peppercorn sauce called the “Don Ameche” – that’s Mortimer Duke from Trading Places! So they make up for not having those pricey cuts. I wonder what made them glorify Don. It’s funny because I always thought a theme steakhouse or restaurant called “Duke & Duke” or “Winthorpe & Valentine” would be a great idea (located somewhere by Wall Street).

Portion Size & Plating: 9
Portions are naturally a bit smaller for some of the less common cuts of beef, but the plating is really fun. They’ve got these line drawings all over the plates that match the decor of the restaurant.

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Price: 10
This is the most budget friendly of the Fourth Wall restaurants. The most expensive steak is $29, the cheapest is $19. Wonderful! I think you get your money’s worth here. You save a good amount when you eat here, and while doing so you get to try some steak cuts that you would ordinarily not see on other steakhouse menus. We had two apps, two entrees, two sides, two desserts and three drinks. Our total was $151, before tip.

Bar: 8
This bar has a great selection of unique cocktails, and some more hard to find beers. The bar area was pretty hopping on Friday evening when we went, in the 6:00 to 7:30 time frame.

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Specials and Other Meats: 6
Since the menu is not massive, you’re limited to chicken and pork here in terms of non-beef meats. There were no specials offered by our waitress.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 9
We did the PB&J bacon. Yes. It’s peanut butter and jalapeño jelly, with bacon. It was stupendously good. The jelly was spicy and sweet at the same time. If moms pack this on a sandwich in their kids’ lunch boxes, those kids will probably grow up to be UFC fighters or something. That’s how badass it is.

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Our other starter was the steak tartare, because what is better to begin a steak meal with than raw steak?

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The toast came with a marrow butter and radishes. The butter was really creamy and beefy, and the radish added a little bit of crunch element and a bright pop to the bite. The meat texture was soft and delicate, very tasty.

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For sides, we first tried this scalloped sunchoke.

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Sunchoke is the root of a sunflower. If you’ve never had it before, it tastes like a mix of artichoke and potato. It is one of my favorite starch-veggie items in the world. This was done beautifully, like a scalloped potato dish with some broiled cheese on top.

We also tried the creamed spinach hush puppies. These were pretty interesting:

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A bit more dense and moist than your average hush puppy, the spinach inside added a juicy element to each bite.

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It was also served with a beef jus mayo for dipping.

The dessert menu offered an array of interesting selections. We went with two ice cream items. First is my burnt marshmallow ice cream s’mores, with graham cracker shortbread, toasted marshmallows and a fudge swirl. Awesome. I declare that burnt marshmallow flavored ice cream needs to be in every grocery store, ASAP. Each bite tasted like a campfire or post-grilling snack.

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My wife had an item called “This Shit is Bananas.” It’s roasted banana flavored ice cream with peanut butter caramel, candied bacon and cinnamon toast. ELVIS HAS ENTERED THE BUILDING!

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I liked mine better, and my wife liked hers better. So that worked out.

Seafood Selection: 7
There’s octopus, branzino and scallops for main course seafood items. However, you have some seafood on the app menu as well, like hamachi crudo, crab and shrimp. Since we didn’t try any of these, I will be using a placeholder score of seven for now.

Service: 10
Our waitress was fun, bright and informative. We never felt rushed or slowed down, and the manager and kitchen staff each visited our table a few times to check in on us. This is the kind of service that I expect and have become accustomed to with Fourth Wall. They’re great people.

Ambiance: 9
This joint does well with the small space. As you stroll past the bar you can go up to a back room area that has more seating. The lighting all over is warm and dim, comforting, but the walls are vibrant and interesting.

The details they put on everything, from the walls to the ceilings, to the cutlery and bathroom tiles, is all fun and light hearted (like the plates above). I like how the M on “Quality Meats” is made to look like it was scratched out or missing on all their logos and signage.

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There’s even some some meat- and drink-related tile work in the bathroom. It’s like an Atari game from the 80’s.

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UPDATE FOR UPPER EAST SIDE LOCATION 9/9/17

My wife and I stopped into the upper east side location for brunch. We started with a pair of drinks.

The menu here is fairly similar to the downtown location.

My wife got the spinach beignets, which were pretty much the exact same thing as the creamed spinach croquettes.

I went with the strawberry and pistachio morning bun, which was essentially a huge cinnamon bun made of croissant bread.

Delicious, but pricey at $16.

QUALITY EATS
19 Greenwich Ave.
New York, NY 10014

K*Rico

K*Rico overall score: 92

This is a relatively recent addition to the smaller scale steakhouse scene. The cuisine here is Latin American/South American style, but with a focus on steak, being a steakhouse and all.

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This time we had three people dining, so we were able to sample a bit more than usual. Here’s the breakdown:

Flavor: 9
We had this massive 40oz tomahawk rib eye that was dry aged for 70 days. This is on special right now for $95, so if you like what you see, go get it while supplies last!

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They bring it out to the table while it’s still sizzling hot. Then they take it back and let it rest before slicing and plating.

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The meat was incredibly tender and flavorful. I held back from full points only because I think it needed a little bit more seasoning.

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Both the cap and the eye were delicious and cooked perfectly to medium rare. Here’s a shot of the remaining hunk of bone:

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We also did a mixed grill item (parrillada mixta) for $59, which came with skirt steak, languica (sausage), sirloin, pork belly, pork tenderloin, chicken and blood sausage. For non-discriminating meat lovers, this is totally the way to go.

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That green sauce is a cilantro based spread that specifically goes well with the pork and chicken.

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Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 10
This place regularly offers skirt, two strips (48oz bone in, and a 16oz), rib eye (22oz), two filets (8oz and 14oz), porterhouse for two, and a mixed grill for two. In addition, they also offer daily specials from the meat department. That’s a full blown 10. Plus all steaks are prime and grilled on an authentic plancha.

Portion Size & Plating: 10
Portions are large for the price. As you can see above, presentation is very nice as well. They’ve elevated the traditional steakhouse minimalist plating concept to something that pops.

Price: 10
Prices are really fair here, though slightly different in the restaurant than they are online (not by much). Most porterhouses for two are coming in at around $100 now, but here it is listed at $79. Also the massive 48oz sirloin steak for two is under $50, and the 22oz rib eye is listed at just $42. These are great deals if you’re on a budget but still want some good quality meat.

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Bar: 9
This bar is massive. It stretches almost the full length of the restaurant from front to back. While you do not have window seating, there is ample room and a beautiful decor to take in. Just take a look at that skull and horns center piece!

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There’s a great selection of Argentinian wines and some really nice cocktails as well.

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Specials and Other Meats: 9
There’s a 20oz double cut pork chop, Peruvian roasted chicken, and a mixed grill for two that comes with a host of tasty shit. As mentioned above, we ordered the special tomahawk chop that was offered. Amazing meat-centric place! Just missing lamb and veal.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8
We started with some empanadas, which were filled with prime beef, raisins, cilantro and aji amarillo aioli. These were perfectly crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside. Not too hot where you burn your mouth, and the flavors were really well balanced when eating with some of the pickled red onion.

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On the side we had the cauliflower mashed potatoes, which were creamy and flavorful. You’d never know you were eating a healthier version of the standard mashed potato dish.

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We also tried the sauteed yucca. These were a little dry and under-seasoned, but the crunchy texture was great.

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The brussels with bacon were perfect. Great char, good flavor. This is the ideal side for a meat eating extravaganza, because it comes with additional meat in the form of thick bacon. We actually didn’t order this: it was complimentary – nice surprise!

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Since we were busting-at-the-seams full, we all shared a dessert. Espresso flan. This had a nice even and smooth texture, with a very nice, not-too-sweet coffee flavor.

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Seafood Selection: 8
There’s cod, corvina and seabass in entree form, in addition to the apps of ceviche, grilled octo, calamari, mussels, shrimp and oysters. Really great showing! When I come back for the giant bone-in sirloin, I will be definitely giving the ceviche and octopus a try. Until then, I have to score this with a placeholder of eight. I’m sure it will be a higher score once I sink my teeth in to actually try the seafood.

Service: 10
Owner Tommy and waitress Maria were both fantastic. In fact all of the staff was warm and helpful. Maria offered great menu suggestions, and really knew her shit. It was interesting to learn from Tommy that his brother is the chef, and that they also own 1 2 3 Burger Shot Beer, just nearby, as well as a spot downtown. Our “doggie bag” was from there:

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I may as well mention it here: the table bread here is actually fried, flavored pasta! Really crunchy and good.

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Ambiance: 9
They’ve really made the best out of this typically narrow, storefront/brownstone location on 9th Avenue. They’ve done such a great job that this place easily contends with some of the gigantic, fancy steakhouses in midtown. The decor here is really classy and elegant. It’s Latin American/South American, but it’s not hitting you over the head with that fact. It’s subtle. The smaller size of this joint allows you to enjoy a more intimate or low key experience. However it’s great for dates as well as large groups, because once you get beyond the bar, the restaurant opens up to a wider dining space. Since the kitchen is a massive expanse down at the basement level, K*Rico takes full advantage of every square foot of space on the main dining floor. Very smart use of space.

K*RICO
772 9th Ave.
New York, NY 10019