Thanks to all who gave recommendations for my birthday shindig this weekend.
We started off at El Gaucho, which really was as good as I had hoped. Yes, the service was a bit spotty (it took 20 minutes for ANYONE to even greet our table... though we trickled in kind of slowly... it would have been nice to have some water at least), and yes, we took up 1/2 of the very small dining room, but for the most part, it was a great, affordable meal. We had the two house red wines, a malbec and a cabernet... I think the label said "It takes 2 2 Tango" which for $18 a bottle were damn fine.
A few of us started off with the Empanadas, which where hot, tender and spicy, everyone got salad (which was quite the disappointment I must say) which had two huge onion slices and a slice of an icky winter tomato on top of iceburg lettuce, which could have at least been dressed up a bit nicer if they had Extra virgin olive oil, instead of just olive oil on the table as a dressing (I really don't understand the idea of using tomatoes in winter... they just aren't good!). But whatever, that wasn't all that important. I had the sweetbreads to calm my constant craving for unique food. They were a first for me (and everyone else at the table) and were good, but not extraordinary... definitely something to try if you've never had them before.
The majority of people at my table had the flap steak, which is a cut unique to argentinan cuisine, something similar to a sirloin that is slow roasted over an open flame, sliced off in 2 1/2" - 3" pieces and then cooked to order, with your choice of mashed, roasted or french fried potatoes on the side. The Steak was fantastic. Very juicy, and cooked perfectly (though one MR steak came out looking closer to MW, which was promptly sent back and replaced) and flavorful, accompanied with a garlic oil sauce that added lots of flavor. The potatoes were not to die for my any means, but were good enough to eat. One person at the table ordered the deep fried steak with two fried eggs on top (which was pretty tasty, even for deep friend steak) and other person ordered the deep fried chicken, which was moist and juicy on the inside.
I'm wishing we had ordered the table top grill as another table did (though I think a few of them were actually Argetinian, giving them an insiders advantage) but we'll save that for next time, along with dessert.
All in all El Gaucho was an good experience for the price. There aren't a lot of places you can go to have an appetizer, steak and wine all for just around $25 a person. I will definitely be back.
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