After a disappointing try at some ethnic food yesterday, I decided to try another latin american restaurant. I'd spotted this place a few weeks back when I was checking out Gino's Pizza across the street. From the outside it looks like a fairly large place, but inside it's very modest. There's a bar, with modest tables and chairs. Physically, it's a lot like other Latin Cafes in the area.
The atmosphere is different than some other latin cafes; there's a big TV that was off, and the music was cranking Lady Gaga's Bad Romance segued by Baby, I love your way. Better than the usual Spanish language soap operas you usually get at a place like this.
At 2:30 there's still a pretty good crowd at the Latin Bohemia Grill across the street, but I was the only one in this place. I ordered an iced tea and looked over the menu, which includes a lot of stuff you wouldn't expect on a latin-themed menu, like chicken francese. But I wanted to try something more ethnic, and I'm always up for a skirt steak. She brought my iced tea, which was murkier than the usual tea, and they serve it with lime instead of lemon in these places. I ordered the skirt medium rare. They give you 3 sides with entrees, and I was glad to see I could get something other than plantains, which I consider something better suited to slice over some corn flakes. I ordered rice, black beans and a salad. They dropped off some garlic bread in the meantime.
Salt & Pepper Chef Garlic Bread
Now I was expecting a little pile of greens on the plate with the steak, so I was surprised when a full salad came out. It came out without dressing. "Would you like some dressing?", she asked. "Sure". They didn't have blue cheese, but they did have ceasar, so I ordered some of that. It was a pretty good version. The salad was kind of rough cut, but it was a lot more than I expected.
Salt & Pepper Chef Salad
It wasn't elegant, but it was fine. Just as I was finished, they brought out the steak.
Salt & Pepper Chef Skirt Steak
Not a pretty looking thing, but it was big. The beans were not just the out of the can beans you get at some places; there were some peppers and bits of meat in them; and the steak was exactly medium rare. By itself there wasn't much evidence of significant marination, but the chimichurri included was very good. While it wasn't the garlic crazy stuff you get at some of the Argentinean places, this was deftly made with some heat; lots of red pepper flakes gave it some zing.
I ended up taking about 1/3 of the steak home. While this isn't the kind of place I'd take a date or clients; it's certainly good for a solid lunch. Better than that place across the street.