At South American restaurants where beef is king, many diners go for the meat and ignore the customary selection of pastas. This is a mistake, insists JH Jill, who’s still swooning over the transcendent chicken-and-spinach cannelloni she had at El Chivito d’Oro. At this Uruguayan-owned restaurant in Jackson Heights, you can order your canelones “a la Rossini” (with both red and white sauces) or topped with peceto, a round of tender stewed beef.
“This is a magnificent dish. The chicken adds another dimension, which I find preferable to spinach alone,” writes Jill. (La Fusta also makes a decent version. Other worthy Italian-inspired dishes at El Chivito d’Oro are gnocchi, lasagne with ham, and spinach ravioli with marinara sauce and peceto.)
Among the grilled meats, Jill recommends entraña (skirt steak), asado de tira (ribs), and vacío (flank steak). “I always order them medium, which is medium rare anywhere else, in my experience,” she adds. Also good: pickled tongue, mollejas (sweetbreads), and palmitos en salsa golf—hearts of palm with ham, hard-boiled egg, and a Thousand Island-like dressing. Chimichurri sauce is uneven, and the namesake chivito (platters or well-stuffed sandwiches of beef or chicken with bacon and cheese) gets mixed marks.
El Chivito d’Oro [Jackson Heights]
84-02 37th Avenue (at 84th Street), Jackson Heights, Queens