Chimichurri Grill East is a stone’s throw away from Bloomingdale’s, but this peaceful stretch of 61st Street couldn’t feel farther away from the hustle and bustle of midtown shopping.
Soft lighting welcomes you into the bar at the base of this classic Upper East Side triplex townhouse, where you have the option of dining in one of three rooms: the tango bar, the pink room, and the main dining room.
The elegance of the high ceilings in the main dining room are enhanced by an elaborate chandelier straight out of The Phantom of the Opera. Close up photographs of herbs and spices, taken by Chef and Co-owner Carlos Darquea, line the walls, and showcase Mr. Darquea’s passion and commitment to his career as a restauranteur. It is clear that the time and energy put into renovating and decorating this space was truly a labor of love, one that is co-owned with his wife and head sommelier. The couple’s first location, Chimichurri Grill, is an intimate Argentinian restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen, a cozier venue serving the same delicious cuisine.
The menu at Chimichurri Grill East is quite impressive, and it’s easy to understand how Chimichurri Grill has lasted 19 years in the revolving door of New York City’s successful restaurants. Happy Hours are a constant feature at the intimate tango bar on Monday-Saturday from 4pm-8pm, and include bar bites, small plates, and Argentinian wine and beer. To keep things fresh, beginning on December 5th, the East Side location will now feature live tango dancing on Tuesday nights from 7pm-10pm. It’s evident that Chimichurri Grill is constantly evolving, and nowhere does that show more clearly then on the plate.
I had the wonderful opportunity to sample an array of dishes crafted by Mr. Darquea’s experienced hand. Each course was sincerely considered, artfully plated, and perfectly cooked.
The Argentinian-only wine pairings were chosen thoughtfully, and the overall experience articulated a loving, skillful approach to Argentinian dining.
Here were some of my favorite dishes:
Never one to gravitate towards cooked oysters, let alone one with cheese, this dish delighted me and was a wonderful way to start my meal. Lemon zest and fresh parsley gave it a nice brightness, and the regianito, an Argentine low salt cheese, gave a standard Oysters Rockefeller a run for its money.
If you’ve seen one Mediterranean Seabass, you’ve seen them all, am I right? Not so in this case. Darquea’s branzino is so light it practically dances into your mouth. Simply grilled, it was one of the most satisfying, no-frills seafood entrees I’ve had in a while.
These mini pouches of goodness didn’t seem very exciting until I broke one open. Steam rushed into the air, cheese ebbed out of the fried dough, and I had to force myself to wait a few seconds before burning my tongue. All variations of this (meat, veg, and cheese) were all excellent.
Baby Lamb Chops
Grass-fed and grilled, this dish once again showcases Chimichurri Grill East’s commitment to fresh, high quality ingredients. The accompanying fava mint puree and Syrah au-jus added just the right of pizazz without upstaging the lamb.