The demise of Pampa, once an Upper West Side favorite for Latin-style grilled meats, was a body blow for the neighborhood’s carnivores. They’ll get over it. Pampa was succeeded a month ago by another Argentine steakhouse called La Rural, which sounds just as worthy. “From the menu to the new design of the room, everything has improved or has been kept as good,” reports Daniel76, a recovering Pampa fan.
The main event, of course, is meat, which remains first-rate—no surprise to regulars who recognize the big guy from Pampa manning the grill. “Things come out cooked perfectly to order, with a lovely char and crispness,” Daniel writes. “What this man does with sweetbreads, is beyond good. ... Pampa’s were awesome, and these are even better. Served with a little lemon, or maybe some of [their] chimichurri sauce, oh baby.” Lamb is another winner, juicy and cooked to a perfect medium rare. So is chorizo, delicious and subtly spiced. dherbie recommends the parrillada, a festival of flesh comprising shell steak, skirt steak, short ribs, sweetbreads, chorizo, and blood sausage—enough food to fell two hungry eaters, maybe more, for $38.
Other highlights are nicely smoky melted provolone, with prosciutto and grilled sweet peppers, and—no kidding—some creditable vegetable options, including creamy cauliflower croquettes in tomato sauce and a fine platter of grilled eggplant, zucchini, butternut squash, and more, with a kick from mustard vinaigrette. “It is going to take us a long time to go through the whole menu which, we will happily do,” Daniel promises.
La Rural (formerly Pampa) [Upper West Side]
768 Amsterdam Avenue (between W. 97th and 98th streets), Manhattan