Pittsburgh Restaurant Scene
There are certain meals you just always remember. It could be because of the food, maybe the setting, even the company at your table. D and I have had maybe 5-7 meals that are just out of this world from start to finish (our first time at Cure, Legume or Cenacolo, our first Farm Dinner, a few dinners in Rome and Seattle). I would never call them “life altering” meals, but definitely something special that we will always remember. We had such a meal just the other day. It was just a typical Wednesday off in the Strip District(or so we thought), D and I were making our normal stops when hunger set in. There are many, many options in the Strip for lunch some ok, some good, some even GREAT. I can say as of now anyways that we have found our favorite restaurant in the Strip. Its name is Gaucho Parrilla, and it is incredible.
It was a rainy morning, but as lunchtime rolled around the skies cleared and the sun broke through. D and I were going back and forth about where we should go for some food (as we always do). Finally, I remembered hearing about Gaucho from a couple people on Facebook about this tiny little spot right next to the 16th Street Bridge that was all about their wood-fired grill. Since our debate of our old favorites was going nowhere we decided to try something new. After the typical struggle of finding a legal parking spot we turned around and BAM there it was. We walked in, the first thing you smell is the amazing wood-fired grill, take a deep breath and close your eyes. This could be what heaven may actually smell like. The space is cramped, chopped wood everywhere and a chalkboard menu. The butcher block in the middle of the “dining room” is a piece of art in itself. They bought the building space next door and plan on expanding and even obtaining a liquor license (very excited for all of that!), which should be completed in the next 4-5 months.
Don’t be scared if you have trouble saying the names of the menu items, the description of what each item is follows the traditional name. They have a couple apps, solid list of sandwiches, a few different cuts of steak, some chicken and seafood. The sandwiches and salads are one size, but the meat you can order as a small or large plate. The entrée plates are served with a small salad and grilled toast. They serve 4 different sauces, Chimmi Churri(fresh herbs and oil), Ajo(roasted garlic and herbs), Cebolla(caramelized onions and garlic), and Pimenton(charred peppers and garlic). Feel free to ask which sauce best goes with what; we dipped everything we had just to try them all. I highly recommend spreading the Ajo on the grilled toast, it’s the best garlic bread you will ever have!
We decided just to share a few different plates; we went with the Steak Empanadas, roasted potatoes, NY strip med-rare, and shrimp. I know that all of the food sounds like run of the mill stuff, but trust me, the wood grill changes the game! The wood adds that wonderful smoke flavor/smell and char, and then you dip the food in the fresh and vibrant sauces and that’s when you understand what it is all about. I love the plating of the food; its not fussy and all the serving dishes are wood, (notice a theme here?) The colors on the plates really pop out, especially when dining outside on the patio. We were pretty stuffed after this meal, which sucked because I really wanted to try more of the delicious grilled meats. Instead we just planned on coming back very soon.
We know there are tons of spots to eat in the Strip, everyone has their favorites, this is one of those times to branch out and go somewhere new. As of now the space is cramped, that will change after the expansion/remodel. It’s hard to really describe the food, it’s just cooked perfectly and tastes exactly how it should and not a lot of restaurants get that. Try it once and we think you will get it. Gaucho immediately is my #4 restaurant in the city (only eating here for the 1st time), right behind Cure, Legume and Cenacolo. For me that is very high praise, I would put those spots up against any other restaurants in the country. That is how much I enjoyed this lunch.
Gaucho Parrilla Argentina
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1607 Penn Ave
Pgh, PA 15222
Sunday and Monday- Closed
Tuesday thru Saturday- 11am-7pm