>> Tuesday, June 10, 2008
105-07 Metropolitan Avenue
Forest Hills, NY 11375
Coming home late one recent Friday night mean that some of the restaurants I wanted to hit up were either closed or about to close. Except for one rather busy exception. Pampas Argentinas was pretty close to full. Naturally, I had to know what was so good about the place. Or perhaps when you're the only game in town, everyone plays. Either way, I decided to check it out. With Bro, of course, since he's the only person I get to eat out with these days.
Bro and I decided to start with a a pitcher of sangria and a round of Chicken, Beef, and Vegetable Empanadas. All three were excellent, but the most excellent was, surprisingly, the vegetable (these would be the last vegetables I'd see this meal), followed by the beef and then the chicken. If you;ve had an empanada, you know how addicting these can be. Deep fried pockets of meat and/or vegetables. Toss on some hot sauce and you're in heaven. Then, I decided to try the Chicken Consomme, a brothy, creamy blend of pureed chicken and vegetables. It was decent, but not great. The soup was somewhat too salty and, while I certainly wouldn't complain about this specific dish, I don't see myself ordering it as a constant choice.
Pampas Argentinas is not cheap by any stretch of the imagination. The average entree is over $20 and finding one for under $20 is actually pretty hard, despite a rather large menu. My entree, which I will describe later broke past $30. By the way, the menu is quite extensive. I almost feel that it's unfair to review Pampas after only one visit... ah well.
Bro ordered the Salmon Pampas, a broiled and seasoned filet of salmon, served with lemon juice, eggplant, baby spinach, and a pesto sauce. I found the fish somewhat dry and bland. Bro pretty much mirrored my impression. He found it good, but not great. He wasn't asked how well he wanted the salmon cooked, and felt that it was a bit overcooked. The salmon came with a side salad that itself was quite large, and given the size of the entree, a lot of the food went to waste. No muy bien.
My choice was the Pampas Mixed Grill For One. This dish "for one" was easily big enough for two, maybe even three. It was huge, and like Bro's entree, much of it went to waste (this is my fault since I asked for the leftovers to be wrapped to go, and then completely forgot and walked out without it). The dish is served on a hot plate above burning coals and comes with five different meats and a side of french fries. I initially felt that this would give me a good insight into the other dish options, but in retrospect, maybe not. Anyway, it came with black sausage, sweetbreads, shortribs, skirt steak, sirloin brochette.
The black sausage, also known as blood pudding, is a bitter-sweet paste that you will either love or hate. Or maybe you're like me and were somewhere in the middle and feel that, while it might have been nice to try once, you just can't imagine eating it regularly. Sweetbreads, for those not in the know, are glands from the neck of cattle. They taste like a beefy chicken. While these two meats just weren't for me, the rest were quite good, with just the right about of searing, especially the skirt steak.
Three empanadas, a soup, and two entrees, and a pitcher of sangria broke $100 including tax and tip.