Chimichurri Grill East

Vin and I were invited to a press dinner at Chimichurri Grill East, an Argentinian restaurant on the east side that used to house David Burke’s Townhouse.  The space was beautiful and classy with a lovely bar by the front entrance, a grand dining room in the back with high ceilings and artsy decor, and a separate dance floor/tango bar casually known as the “pink room” for Tuesday tango nights. This Argentinian steakhouse is a fancy “mom and pop store” per executive chef Carlos, but we thought it was quite a sophisticated and upscale restaurant. The chef and his wife, Alicia, also have another location on the West Side that Alicia mostly manages. I particularly love the backstory of how the restaurants came to be: Carlos was an art director and wanted to retire, but he met Alicia at a food event in Miami and voila… they opened up Chimichurri Grill 20 years ago on the West Side in NYC and opened the East Side location just over a year ago.


We had a set tasting menu paired with all Argentinian wines that Alicia hand selected for the meal. The first dish was Mollejas a la Provencal, or what I happily refer to as one of the most decadent and elegant potato chip bites I’ve ever had.  Hearty pieces of grilled veal heart sweetbreads were served atop a deep fried sweet Peruvian purple potato with a house made garlic, red pepper, wine and parsley Provencal sauce. First off, I loved that the chef kicked us off with offal.  It is so Argentinian and I’m so glad that this was highlighted.  People who say they’re “foodies” who don’t like these jewels of meat just never had pieces cooked by Chef Carlos.  The sweetbreads had been boiled and grilled and seasoned so well that every bit of the offal was creamy and meaty. The Provencal sauce smelled and tasted heavenly and the purple potato chip added a great crisp element to the bite.  This was paired with a Luca Pinot Noir with hints of berries, spice, and leather which brought out a smoky fruit flavor when eaten with the sweetbreads. Talk about starting a meal with a bang.

Beef tongue stew

The next course was Estofado de Lengua, which was a hearty stew with chunky beef tongue that is just what you need during these freezing NYC winters. The tongue was braised for six hours per Grandma Lolo’s recipe to come to a texture that still had a bit of a muscle and cartilage chew but was oh so soft and tender. The traditional stew was served in individual cast iron pots (lovely presentation) and had savory bits of potato, tomatoes, and peas. The pairing for the dish was a Vistalba Corte Meritage, a smooth blend of Malbec and Cabernet that balanced out the meal.  Just give me a glass of this wine and a little pot of this stew and I can brave the cold, no problem.

The bread came out with a red romesco sauce with paprika and green parsley chimichurri sauce.  Both sauces were garlicky and fresh and tasted great on almost everything.  We’ve made this realization a long time ago: 95% of the time, if there’s a green sauce, it’s going to be delicious =D

Ensalada Buenos Aires

Passion fruit sorbet

The third course was a “light” salad, Ensalada Buenos Aires, served with a glass of brisk and bright sauvignon blanc from Pulenta Estate.  The salad consisted of a lightly grilled romaine heart, slivers of red onion cooked in brown sugar, chunks of low sodium feta cheese, bits of Berkshire pork lardon for flavor, and a buttermilk and dill dressing. I really liked the fruity white wine; it was super easy to drink and would be perfect for summer. The touch of citrus in the wine really balanced out the creamy dressing and pieces of feta and pork.  The romaine had a nice char on it and really held up on the grill.  I would have lightheartedly called this tasty salad the palate cleanser, but then chef brought out the actual Intermezzo course of a refreshing and tart house-made passion fruit sorbet.  Wooooo, so much tanginess packed in such a little dish.  I would have liked a serving of this as dessert, too.

“Look to me in my eyeballuh” This prawn head pasta was perfect

Next, Chef Carlos brought us prawns on pasta (Tallarines con Frutas del Mar).  Even though Chimichurri Grill is a steakhouse, they also serve just as much delicious fish and pasta. The chef made a seafood broth from prawn heads, calamari, clams and mussels with fresh green herbs with house-made fettuccine. The prawn bodies were oh so lightly steamed over the broth to infuse some of the flavors so they were perfectly cooked and seasoned. I loved how the other seafood pieces were cooked, too.  The calamari baby tendrils were crunchy, the clams and mussels had a nice chew, and the prawns definitely sopped up the broth flavor.  This course was served with a glass of bold Luca Chardonnay, which nicely complemented the delicate pasta dish.

Rosemary rib eye steak

Now for the piece de resistance: the wet aged ribeye. This was a clearly an “eat with your eyes and inhaled with your nose first” kind of dish that highlighted Chef Carlos’ creative art background and his perfectionist cooking skills.  We smelled the intoxicating smoking rosemary and the seasoned meat before we even set eyes on the Ojo de Bife.  The grass-fed organic 32-day-aged ribeye looked marvelous with a sprig of rosemary over a piece hot Argentinian coal. There was a pile of sautéed sweet Vidalia onions and a large side of garlic herb fries. Vin sliced his piece in half and it was perfectly cooked. We were clearly in the presence of a great chef; he didn’t ask anyone how they wanted their steak and just automatically served everyone’s piece medium rare. I mean, look at that color.  The steak tasted just as delicious as it looked and smelled. Since it was from a grass-fed cow, it was leaner than we prefer, but it was still tender and flavorful. There was a wonderful char on the outside and the rosemary flavor was infused in every bit of the meat that the words “Christmas steak” came to mind.  And I was so happy there was a great amount of yummy fat cap on the steak. Yay! We tried the meat with a bit of the garlicky chimichurri sauce and the red sauce, which really complimented the steak.  This was served with a Malbec from O. Fournier Alfa Crux that really evened out the flavor.  I didn’t want to fill up on the French fries, but these were so tasty to snack on that we couldn’t stop eating them.  The chef said sometimes it’s on the bone and sometimes it’s boneless. I highly recommend asking for this off-menu item.

Smoking stacked steak

The dessert course was served with a sweet, sparkling Deseado Torrontes wine from Patagonia, Argentina. We were served a Dulce de Leche Creme Brulee made with caramelized milk.  The texture was extremely light, creamy, and smooth.  I really liked the chef’s take on traditional Argentinian dulce de leche and incorporated it into a dessert that wasn’t too sweet like most dulce de leche desserts.  The wine really was a superb pairing with this as it wasn’t too dry or sweet and the acidity balanced the dessert nicely.

Dulce de Leche Creme Brulee

This place was so nice that Vin already went back with a friend to try more exquisite meat.  Chef Carlos said that Alicia does wine tastings every so often, and we’d love to return to experience more deliciousness at Chimichurri Grill. You can tell how much attention to detail and passion Carlos and Alicia have put into their restaurant and how they’ve incorporated so many Argentinian ingredients and recipes to appeal to so many people without losing a grasp on tradition. The East Side location is conveniently located near my work and hosts Happy Hour Mondays through Thursdays from 4 pm to 8 pm, so I’m definitely looking forward to coming back.

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