Written by Marilyn Hansen and Hulda Lawrence
Chimichurri Grill, 606 Ninth Avenue near West 43rd Street, (212) 586-8655, is a newcomer this year. This classy, small-35 seats-Argentine restaurant is a real find. Snowy white tablecloths cover the tables and dark framed mirrors are hung with a slight tilt to better reflect the animated patrons' faces.
Chef-owner Jorge Rodriguez himself may greet you warmly. Jorge, who is Argentine by birth, has been cooking for years and finally realized his dream of opening his own place.
Order a drink (there's a small service bar) and then an appetizer. I recommend the small empanadas, fashioned from a rich, short dough filled with chopped beef, olives, raisins, and hardboiled egg, a very typical combination, is a winner. The "Tortilla de Lelela" is Jorge's grandmother's frittata filled with potatoes, Spanish chorizo and onions. It's a hearty dish, easily enough for two. The grilled baby calamari served with field greens are good also.
Pasta is enjoyed worldwide and Jorge makes his mother's homemade ravioli filled with spinach and ricotta served with a richly flavored chicken stock-based tomato sauce. There is a cannelloni of the day, with fillings such as swiss chard and shitake mushrooms, wild mushrooms and more. To experience the true essence of the Chimichurri Grill you should try one of the gutsy meat dishes. All the beef is from Argentina; for example the grilled short ribs, which you'll find flavorful, a little chewy, served with fabulous, julienne-cut fried zucchini; juicy, grilled skirt steak topped with grilled scallions, accompanied with mashed carrots and potatoes; my favorite grilled Argentine prime shell steak, served with a nest of fried leeks filled with roasted peppers. Ask for Chimichurri sauce, the national Argentine condiment, a mixture of parsley, garlic, oil and vinegar that adds additional pizazz to any savory dish. Of course there are other entrees other than beef; chicken, magret duck, rack of lamb, sweetbreads are a specialty, and Patagonian tooth fish, also known as Chilean sea bass are on the menu daily.
On the wine list is a commendable selection of moderately priced Argentine wines, vintages which go very well with the food. Ask for assistance in choosing if you need it.
Argentine love sweets and there are several authentic desserts: thin caramelized apple crepe served warm, thin crepe with dulce de leche, the thick caramel sauce; lavender scented flan and a flourless, intense chocolate cake served with white chocolate sauce. Pick anyone of these along with a cup of freshly brewed, strong coffee - maybe with a shot of brandy - and your meal will be complete.
Hours: Chimichurri Grill is open 6 days, closed on Monday. Lunch: Tuesday-Saturday, 12:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. Dinner: Tuesday-Thursday, 5:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. Dinner: Friday and Saturday, 5:00 p.m.-11:30 p.m. Dinner: Sunday, 1:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. Reservations: Recommended.
Credit cards: All major.
Dress: No code.
Wheelchair Accessibility: No
Parking: Parking garage on West 43rd Street, others in area.
Spotlight: Authentic Argentine regional food featuring Argentine beef.
The dollar sign indicates the approximate cost of dining for two persons, excluding beverages, tax and gratuity.