Far and away the restaurant's best cut of meat. The crust is a rich, purple-tinged mahogany, heavily dosed with salt; it gives way to a buttery, resoundingly beefy interior without a trace of chewiness. After all these years, I'm still impressed by how much the kitchen coaxes from this unassuming strip of diaphragm.
They default to cooking it medium rare, sometimes even when you request otherwise, but they're right in doing so—skirt steak walks a fine line between too-rare and inedibly chewy or overcooked and dry. El Gauchito nails it every time, a simply but beautifully grilled length of beef that almost overhangs the plate it's served on.
Those who prefer thicker steaks should order the flap steak, something of a cross between sirloin and flank. It's a 16-ounce cut a little over an inch thick and served at a slightly cooler medium rare than the skirt. It's even more buttery, with a richness approaching grilled short rib.
Slice it thinly against the grain and eat it with rice and beans, or better yet, let the naturally long fibers of the beef pull off in lobes as you cut your way through. Relish them like fine pulled pork, as flap steak's notorious chewiness is wholly absent here.
Parrillada Completa ($24.90 for one, $39.90 for two)
The full mixed grill comes with skirt steak, short ribs, chorizo, morcilla, sweetbreads, and kidney. It's the best variety for your buck, but you're best off sticking to the cuts of meat that play to the restaurant's strengths: that skirt and flap. The short ribs lack depth, the chorizo isn't too remarkable, and the offal is not the kitchen's strong suit.
Olive oil loaded with garlic, chili, and herbs, a steak sauce worth slathering over absolutely everything.
Rolls are served crusty and warm with a soft, plush crumb.
Thin slices of salami wrapped in provolone, topped with olive oil, oregano, and a touch of chili.
An Impromptu Sandwich
A makeshift antipasto sandwich with chimichurri kicks off the meal well.
Berenjenas (Eggplant) en Escabeche ($6.90)
The must-order side, thick-cut rounds of eggplant that are briefly boiled and then soused in a sharp, spicy vinegar-garlic sauce.
Spinach Croquettes ($6.75, two per order)
The spinach filling is soft but bright, fortified with a mineral backbone that takes especially well to the house chimichurri.
These thick, starchy fried plantains are fine if smothered in chimichurri, but unremarkable otherwise.
Provolone alla Parrilla ($7.90)
One of the few starters that doesn't pay off: frying robs the provolone of its tanginess, rendering the dish gooey but uninspired.
Camarones (Shrimp) Provencal ($15.90)
A seafood dish for conscientious steak objectors. The shrimp are crisp and tender, the thickened sauce enriched with garlic, the rice well cooked. But let's be real: you don't come here for the seafood.
These lacy, eggy crepes are stuffed with homemade dulce de leche and soaked in caramel sauce, surprisingly light and less sweet than you'd expect.
Thick squiggles of dulce de leche ride over fresh cinnamon-laced churros ($5.90), which are sometimes shatteringly crisp with plush interiors, other times less accomplished but still satisfying.
The dining room is lined with tiles and portraits of Latin American celebrities.