Due to some crazy travel-related expenses this month, my husband and I really had to tighten the ole wallets and reduce our normal restaurant-eating ways. It was a tough drought, but as the end of the month drew near, I looked at the July budget and saw we could have one last meal before August. Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but we are trying to be responsible. Anyway, we decided we wanted to eat somewhere new, and that we wanted the final bill to be moderate, and yet we still wanted to walk to our destination. With all that in mind, we came up with the Gaucho Grill.
Gaucho Grill is actually a small chain restaurant with seven locations in Los Angeles and Orange Counties that serves Argentinian food. Even though it’s a popular, well-known establishment, my husband and I never went because we are weary of chains, even the small ones. But, we walk past Gaucho often, and there are always people inside who seem to be enjoying their food, so we decided to go for it.
When we first walked inside, I instantly liked the decor. It’s very cavernous, with low lighting, brick-lined arches, and lots of mirrors. We were seated right away - while the place always looks full, it’s an illusion because everyone is seated near the windows. There were plenty of tables available in the back of this large space. The staff was very friendly, and they all seemed as if they had just moved here from South America - either that, or they all should get an Academy Award for Best Accent.
From the appetizers to the main courses, the menu is packed with flavor. I have never been to South America, but if Gaucho Grill’s menu is any indication, I think I would definitely enjoy a visit. The items had plenty of character, but the flavors are not as bold as what you would find at a Mexican or Asian restaurant. There is a strong European influence, and the menu feels like a wonderful blend of old and new worlds.
With our drink order (I had a glass of white wine, and the husband had an Argentine beer), we got a basket of fresh bread and a wonderful dipping olive oil. The olive oil was flavored with garlic and red pepper flakes and packed with parsley. This made it taste both bold and fresh at the same time, and was a lovely combination.
For our entrees, I had the small grilled salmon (also comes in regular size), and my husband had the Milanesa de Pollo. The small salmon was great for me, probably around six ounces of wild, Atlantic fish for $12. It was grilled perfectly - very crisp on the outside, and yet tender and juicy on the inside. It was topped with a caper sauce and served with Arroz Buenos Aires (Gaucho’s flavorful house rice) and sauteed spinach. My husband’s Milanesa de Pollo was an extremely flavorful, crisply breaded chicken breast pounded to less than a quarter inch in thickness. It was served with red skinned mashed potatoes and grilled zuccini. Both of our entrees were both delicious and reasonably priced.
At the end of the night, I was very glad that we decided to face our fear of chains. The Gaucho Grill is definitely not your typical chain restaurant. Our food was high quality for a moderate price. We will definitely go back to Gaucho again.
Gaucho Grill in Brentwood is located on San Vicente at 11754 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049
For other locations, full menu, and photos, please see their website.