Last Friday I went to Carlitos Gardel (Argentinian, on Melrose just west of Fairfax in Hollywood). I've never seen a CG report on the board, so I figured I should weigh in b/c it was a great experience - definitely recommed for carnivores, dates, off beaten path excursions or any combo of the above. I do recommend a reservation, even if just for 2...all tables were filled and there was a wait. It's a small room, but they were able to accommodate a party of 12 @ 9:30pm with 24 hours notice.
We ordered a few bottles of wine from the Argentinian reds selection (we went by instinct as well as the advice of our waiter - all of them were great) and ordered a variety of empanadas (chicken, beef, spinach) for the table in addition to the bread they automatically brought with chimichurra. Chimichurra is a muy garlicky garnish that aparently goes with most things Argentinian.
Virtually everyone ordered steaks, which they boast as "flown in" from Argentina (as opposed to driving them in, I guess?). The steak entrees, including specials, were in the $16-$25 range; chicken, fish and veggie entrees were less. Portions were generous. My skirt steak with mozzarella and tomato sauce was heavenly - melt in your mouth soft and flavorful. It came with very bland mashed potatoes, but some other lucky souls got chimichurra frites with their entrees. I'd ask for a substitution next time - anything to get my hands on more chimichurra.
Everyone enjoyed their food, stuffed themselves silly and doggie bagged what they didn't eat. A couple people ordered a tasty enough flan for dessert...I'm not sure where they put it...I guess they stored it with all the wine in their hollow leg. Considering the amount of wine and food we all had, the bill + tip came out to a respectable $45 per person. You could absolutely have an app, entree and glass or two of wine for around $30-$35.
The ambiance of the restaurant was nicely "Old World" and romantic - they had a violinist who played tango music all night, the walls are decorated with old b&w photos, it's an intimate space. Our waiter was a prince among men: attentive, good food/wine recommendations, patient with the frustrations of dealing with a large party.
Would love to hear anyone else's thoughts/reports on the place!
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