ARGENTINE DREAM GOOD, INEXPENSIVE DISHES HELP NORTHRIDGE GRILL TO A PROMISING START.Byline: Larry Lipson Restaurant Critic
THE SPRIGHTLY spright·ly
adj. spright·li·er, spright·li·est
Full of spirit and vitality; lively; brisk.
In a lively, animated manner.
spright Buenos Aires Buenos Aires (bwā`nəs ī`rēz, âr`ēz, Span. bwā`nōs ī`rās), city and federal district (1991 pop. Grill opens in Northridge in the spot left vacant by the ill-fated Mexico City-style cafe El Portal El Portal may refer to different places in the United States:
Buenos Aires has redone re·done
Past participle of redo. the interior, giving the solo dining room facility a freshness it hasn't had in years.
And as a very reasonably priced Argentine restaurant, Buenos Aires bakes its own bread and cakes, giving the place an extra dimension.
With almost everything under $10 except a couple of pizzas at $12.99 and a filet mignon steak at $11.99, it's difficult to be overly critical. But the meat was somewhat rubbery in the matambre a la pizza ($8.99) and spinach ravioli ``squares'' were a tad too al dente.
Better choices by far, churrasco Churrasco is a Spanish and Portuguese term referring to beef or grilled meat more generally, differing across Latin America but a primary dish in the countries of Argentina, Brazil, Nicaragua and other Central America countries. encebollado ($9.99) comes forth as a flavorful piece of sirloin - a little thin, perhaps - but topped with a generous helping of savory grilled onions, and the filet de merluza ($7.99), lightly battered Argentine whiting, delicately textured and thoroughly enjoyable.
With these and other entree items, diners may choose from three potato options, rice or two salads.
If you're hungry it makes sense to pick a potato offering - baked, mashed or french fried - and pay the extra $2.50 for a refreshing ensalada criolla, a greenless mix of tomatoes and onions in olive oil with a touch of oregano oregano (ərĕg`ənō), name for several herbs used for flavoring food. A plant of the family Labiatae (mint family), Origanum vulgare, .
An alternative would be to fill up on some of the tasty starters, curiously listed in the menu under pizza and along with salads.
Incidentally, none of these appetizer/snack items are tiny in size. Empanadas ($1.25 each), served crusty and hot, arrive nicely puffy, stuffed with five different savory fillings.
I particularly liked the cheese-and-onion and ham-and-cheese versions. Also good one day was the beef-and-sweet-pepper empanada em·pa·na·da
A Spanish or Latin-American turnover with a flaky crust and a spicy or sweet filling.
[Spanish, from past participle of empanar, to coat with breadcrumbs : en-, . Untried are the chicken and spinach renditions.
Additionally, the Buenos Aires kitchen bakes two excellent hors d'oeuvre-style tarts ($2.50 each), one called Pascualina, a surprisingly thick wedge displaying a rich, flavorful spinach, ricotta cheese, egg and parmesan cheese mix.
The other tart, a bit thinner, layered with ham and cheese, served warm, is just as tasty.
As favored in Argentina, ham-and-cheese combinations and cheese- and-onion pairings reappear in pizzas and sandwiches here.
Of course, the most familiar Argentine sandwich is the traditional chori- pan ($3.89), which, simply translated, stands for sausage (chorizo cho·ri·zo
n. pl. cho·ri·zos
A very spicy pork sausage seasoned especially with garlic.
Noun 1. ) and bread (pan).
The bread for these Argentine sandwiches is a good French roll. And many of them have mayonnaise, tomato, lettuce, a daub of oil and vinegar plus salt and pepper
The purist's chori-pan has no such adornments. It is simply a single split sausage on a bare roll.
The only addition evidently needed is that superb, addictive Argentine condiment known as chimichurri chim·i·chur·ri
A sauce made of chopped fresh parsley seasoned with garlic, pepper, and herbs and bound with oil and vinegar.
[American Spanish.] sauce, a container of which sits on the table, delivered with bread immediately following seating.
Chimichurri is usually a mixture of olive oil, vinegar, garlic, finely chopped parsley, onion, oregano, salt, and black and cayenne pepper.
Every Argentine cook sincerely believes his or her chimichurri to be the ultimate. You'll find some of them more garlicky gar·lick·y
Containing, tasting of, or smelling of garlic.
Adj. 1. garlicky - relating to or tasting or smelling of garlic; "garlicky sauce" , some more vinegary, some more peppery pep·per·y
1. Of, containing, or resembling pepper; sharp or pungent in flavor.
2. Vigorously sharp-tempered: a peppery sales clerk.
Here at Buenos Aires the menu already refers to its well-balanced chimichurri sauce as ``our famous.''
Perhaps it will be.
Meantime, there are several house-produced, delicious dessert triumphs available every day ($3 to $5). One day we reveled in both a generous slice of Uruguayan-style meringue cake and the formidable house flan.
Such good endings at Buenos Aires Grill hopefully will aid in a prolonged stay.
BUENOS AIRES GRILL
Food: Three stars. Wine: One star. Service: Two and one half stars.
Where: 8856 Corbin Ave., Northridge.
Hours: Open for lunch from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and for dinner from 4 to 10 p.m. daily.
Recommended items: Empanadas, Pascualina tart (spinach, egg and cheeses), ham and cheese tart, ensalada criolla (salad with tomatoes and onions), churrasco encebollado (top sirloin steak with grilled onions), filet de merluza (lightly battered Argentine whiting), Uruguayan meringue cake, flan.
How much: Starters and salads from $1.25 to $2.50, sandwiches and pizzas from $3.49 to $13, pastas and entrees from $6 to $12, desserts from $3 to $5. Beer and wine. All major credit cards.
Wine list: Minimal at present. Only a handful of Argentine wines, a couple of bottlings (under $12) very inexpensive.
Reservations: Suggested. Call (818) 772-5552.
no caption (no men in front of Buenos Aires Grill)