499 Grand Street at Union Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Dave and I had walked by this sharp little corner eatery several times. Once I asked Laurel about it, and she said it had just opened recently. When the opportunity arose to give Cafe Argentino a shot, we all were eager to find out what it had to offer us.
Since Dave and I arrived first, we picked out a booth-table hybrid towards the back. I should mention how there were hooks above my head for jackets and such, but they were inserted into the white-painted bricks so high that short guys and gals would have problems. The booth was low and the table was high, resulting in me slicing my meat near my neck. For a Saturday night, the place was not crushingly crowded, as I had noticed DuMont down the street being. Fine with me.
The drink menu featured lots of wine. Since I saw other tables with pitchers of sangria, I decided sangria might complement our meal nicely. Cafe Argentino also had pitchers of something which turned out to be basically sangria made with champagne; sadly I forgot the name. Laurel came up with the smart idea of asking for sangria samples since she read in some Yelp reviews that the sangria was too sugary. The nice waiter obliged. The white sangria mimicked a mimosa too much for me, but the red wasn’t too bad though I detected a slight bitterness from orange peels. Pitcher of red it is!
Eventually Dave and I settled on what we wanted. He ordered an appetizer of the caracoles ($7) which were essentially escargot in garlic butter sauce. Since I’m not one for snails, I dipped bread into the garlic butter sauce. Yum. We all tore our way through three baskets of bread. Free bread is good. Laurel and Ian shared some empanadas as their appetizer and liked them well enough I believe.
Here is/are the short ribs with a side of salad. They were fantastic! So flavorful, you didn’t need any sauce. Buttery almost, well-seasoned. Yay. This was a little under $20.
Here is the 16oz ribeye steak with a side of mashed potatoes (a little over $20). I enjoyed this cut of meat but maybe since I ate it after the short ribs, I was a little let down. Just didn’t seem as busting with flavor though adding the steak sauce helped.
The mashed potatoes were not high on anyone’s list. They tasted like they had been born out of an envelope: very instant. I like instant mashed potatoes, but I can buy them at the grocery store; that’s not what you want at a restaurant. The salad was fine: some lettuce, cut miniature tomatoes, red onions, with the house’s simple oil-based dressing.
Laurel and Ian split the mixed grill which was about $38. That was a crazy ton of meat. It says it’s for two people, but I’m sure that could comfortably accomodate three. If you like sweetbreads, Cafe Argentino is the place to be, I’ve learned. But what was not cool was that the mixed grill for two people comes with only one side (the aforementioned mashed potatoes or salad, also potato salad or fries are options). Silly. The mixed grill also had a black sausage which looked like a baby purple eggplant.
Later in the evening, a party of three came in and sat in the adjacent corner. I whispered to Dave that I wasn’t sure if one person was a man or a woman, and he had been thinking the same thing. His conclusion was that the person was a man dressed in somewhat women’s garb.
In conclusion, Cafe Argentino is reasonably priced and rather filling with friendly service though some of the foods are slightly spotty. I did not even want to look at the dessert menu; that’s how meat stuffed I was. Meat coma.