Please note that the meal was complimentary. However, the opinions expressed in my blog are 100% my own!
This week I was invited to Chimichurri Grill East, the outpost of Chimichurri Grill West, located in Hell's Kitchen, opened more than 18 years ago by Chef Carlos Darquea and his wife Alicia Rodriguez, who is the General Manager and Wine Director. There, I had a great time with my fellow bloggers / influencers, tasting an amazing menu that I did not expect and enjoying the company of Chef Carlos who spoke about each dish and wine (yes, each dish was paired with a wine chosen by Alicia and it was not small glasses...).
Before talking about the food, I should mention the space that is incredible: its is located in a triplex townhouse, and has a succession of three main rooms. The first one is the Tango Bar, then the Pink Room with its fireplace, and last is the dining room where we were seated. And what a room! Elegant, spacious with its 17 foot high ceiling (it can seat up to 60 people), I liked the fact that tables are not too close to each other, decorated with an impressive crystal chandelier in the middle and photos of herbs and spices used in the chef’s Argentine dishes, as well as an Italian marble fireplace that adds even more cachet to the place.
Now, let's talk about the food. Chimichurri Grill serves Argentinian dishes, with the main focus being steaks, coming from South America and wet-aged for 32 days, but also always proposing the fresh fish of the day as well as pasta that are all homemade. They also propose a nice selection of dishes made with offal, that Europeans like me are so fond of. If you are vegetarian, there are very few dishes, but I guess that they would easily accommodate. So, we got to taste a 6-course meal (tasting portions) with wine pairing, all Argentinian wines by the way:
Mollejas a la Provenzal: grilled veal sweetbreads served with provenzal sauce and crispy potatoes. The provencal sauce was made with garlic, roasted pepper and parsley. I like sweetbreads, so I was really looking forward to try it and was not disappointed: it was quite good and I loved the fact that they used the potato like a tartine.
It was served with a Pino Noir Luca 2013 that, as they described had a "beautiful garnet color with aromas of wild strawberries, saddle leather and cola root".
The second course was Estofado de Lengua or a ragout made with braised beef tongue, potato, grape tomatoes, peas and basil. Looking rustic, this was a quite comforting dish, quite hearty. It was served with a nice wine (in fact 80% malbec and 20% cabernet), Meritage, Vistalba Cortec 2014 described as "smooth, rich, juicy, complex and balanced, dark inky-purple, with cherries in the palate and a smoky finish".
The third course was the Ensalada Buenos Aires, a delicious salad made with grilled romaine heart, crispy lardons and a French feta cheese, fresh dill and buttermilk dressing. That salad was very surprising: I admit that when I saw it on the menu, it did not look like a dish that would fit with the rest of the menu, but it did! It was fantastic: well, first I love bacon, so it was a big plus. But then, the taste of the grilled romaine was great as grilling it totally gives a different taste to it. Last was the dressing that was nice and not heavy, the use of the French feta was a good idea as it is less salty than the others. The salad was paired with a Sauvignon Blanc, Pulenta Estate 2016, described as "bright, yellow-green with great aromatic intensity of grapefruit and other citrus".
After that we got a succulent passion fruit sorbet as an intermezzo, to help us digest and clean our palate before what was coming...
The next dish was more branching out to Italy with a wonderful seafood pasta dish called Tallarines con frutas del mar. The pasta, homemade, was served in a light creamy chardonnay and basil sauce, with prawns, little neck clams, calamari, mussels and halibut. It was served with a Chardonnay, Luca 2015 (remember Luca Estate for the Pinot Noir?) that was described as "nice nose of flowers, stone fruit and lemons, slightly sweet peach and citrus flavors, soft balance finish".
The last entree was the high point of the meal and trust me: it was not a tasting portion! It was Ojo de bife Ancho or a 32 days wet-aged black angus ribeye served with caramelized vidalia onions and seasoned French fries. First, I should mention the wet-aging that took place during the travel of the meat from the purveyor in South America to the restaurant, wet-aging allowing the meat to stay juicy. And the meat, cooked medium, was indeed very juicy, tender and deliciously fatty. The presentation was impressive, with a piece of charcoal topped with rosemary, giving a bit of smoke and a sublime aroma. Needless to say that the charcoal was not edible...The fries were also great, like I like them: cooked all the way through and crispy on the outside, and the caramelized onions delightfully sweet. It was paired with a Malbec, O. Fournier Alfa Crux 2011, described as "massive wine, dominant cases and blackberry with cedar/oak/cigar notes, palate in plush and round finish".
At that point, I was definitely full, but could not resists having a bite at their creme brûlée de dulce de leche. Alright, it was more than a bite: I finished it. I mean, it was so good! Well set, it was not too sweet and a great idea to put such dessert on the menu. It was served with a dessert wine, a Deseado, Torrontes, N/V Patagonia that was "sweet, fresh and fruity on the nose, delicate aroma with flowery notes, natural sweetness and a zesty and refreshing acidity".
This was an incredible meal: good food in a stunning place. Chef Carlos showed a lot of passion talking about his food and the pairing of the wine by Alicia was on point, adding another dimension to each dish. I left full and glad to walk a bit, thinking about my next meal at Chimichurri Grill, but not in this location: it made me curious to see the one in Hell's Kitchen where I will be going soon with some friends. Stay tuned!
Enjoy (I did)!
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Chimichurri Grill East - 133 E 61st St, New York, NY 10065