GAUCHO PARRILLA ARGENTINA………………CULINARY ROCKSTARS
Hands down my new favorite place to eat is Gaucho Parrilla Argentina located in the Strip directly on the corner next to the 16th Street Bridge at 1607 Penn Avenue. Originally opening next door in 2013, in a very small space, (originally a small kitchen with a counter for taking orders, a couple bar stools, and some places to sit outside, weather permitting.) With the huge success of this small little restaurant, Anthony Falcon, Head Chef and Owner decided to double down in life and move into a newly renovated beautiful location, right next door. The restaurant is now double the size of its original dining room and includes more countertop seating as well as tables and chairs in the front and back dining rooms. Gaucho plans on adding a lounge in the back of the building once it secures a liquor license. For now, its BYOB with no corkage charge.
Gaucho has continually received rave reviews from food critics and foodies, which has built them an extremely loyal customer base. Yelp just recently named Gaucho Parrilla Argentia, Pittsburgh as one of the Top 100 Best Places to Eat in the U.S. and placed Gaucho in the Top Ten ranking them at Number 7 in the whole country. Congratulations for this well-deserved honor.
If you have not been to Gaucho then you need to get with the program and find out what you’ve been missing! Unless of course, you have something against the most succulent, tender, juicy, flavorful, wood fired meat in Pittsburgh. Then stay home, more delicious meat and delectable offerings for the rest of us. I’m just kidding, of course! Gaucho isn’t just meat; they offer something for everyone with grilled veggies, chicken, seafood, fish, salads and so much more. Plus, most menu entrees come with sides and are offered in sizes, small and large.
My favorite item on the menu is definitely the Bandiola Con Pan Pork Sandwich (I’ve tried to try other things when I’m ordering, but it’s so good it just begs to be ordered again and again.) Let’s start with the bread. Fire-toasted Ciabatta bread, just crispy enough to have that great sandwich crunch, and gets a little soft and stays crispy while soaking up all the delicious juice. You know you love it the savory taste of meat juices and it would be such a shame to waste them. Bandiola Con Pan is slow wood fired pork shoulder roasted with onions, carrots, and celery until it is literally so tender it falls apart. This tender, juicy succulent pork shoulder is piled high and then they add a nice layer of spicy Dijon mustard and caramelized onions. When you bite into it, it’s a flavor explosion of everything that makes Gaucho so successful. You can taste the passion in Anthony’s culinary art and this guy is a Culinary Rock Star. Creating a great menu is like creating a great piece of art. When you are passionate about something, it shows. You can tell that Anthony has put his heart and soul into Gaucho because his food is art you can eat. Absolute perfection! I have to tell you about the Mona Lisa of meat. The Gaucho Steak Burger. It’s not really a burger per say, but more a mountain of juicy, tender, perfectly seasoned wood grilled chopped steak. You get to pick two toppings for your 100% beef patty like provolone, bacon, asparagus, or mushrooms. It’s now my new favorite thing to eat at Gaucho. It used to be the Bandiola Pork Sandwich but after sampling the Gaucho Steak Burger I have to say this might be the best burger in Pittsburgh. I really don’t even eat burgers; however, I can really crush a Gaucho Steak Burger on command. That’s how seriously good it is.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention some of the other menu items, like the Camarones, (shrimp). Gaucho uses white tiger shrimp and grills them on a cast iron skillet with olive oil, fresh rosemary, salt, pepper, and grilled lemon. They smell as delicious as they taste. Don’t waste your time trying to go to the market, clean the shrimp, prepping to try and replicate this amazing dish, just go to Gaucho for shrimp that will make you come back for more.. Perfection, that’s Gaucho’s secret.
Gaucho also offers delectable sides like Gaucho Papas, or roasted potatoes ($3) it’s the right side dish to accompany any of their great meals. Papas are roasted with a blend of fresh rosemary, thyme, garlic, salt, pepper, and paprika. These same potatoes make up the Papas Cuna (Ku-na) which is an Argentinian style potato salad. It’s mixed with fresh oregano, feta, mayo, and pickled red onion. Served chilled, it’s a definite must try side. Other sides include, saffron yellow rice ($3), maiz (roasted corn on the cob, $2), grilled vegetables (zucchini, peppers, onions, tomatoes, portobello and grass ($7 small – $11 large) plus many other daily offerings. I have to mention the Provoletta Pequeños which takes an Argentine approach to grilled cheese. They grill sharp, dry aged provolone with fresh oregano, and serve it on tostado (grilled toast) topped with fresh arugula, lemon, olive oil, and Kalamata olive. It’s addicting, just like everything I’ve tried at Gaucho Parrilla Argentina.
The menu is hand scrawled daily on chalkboards. Offerings are sectioned into categories; small plates like empanadas, grilled potatoes and sides; meats that include five cuts of steak: ribeye, skirt, flank, New York strip and filet mignon; pig (pork), lamb, chicken; sandwiches that feature chorizo (sausage) and seafood, mussels, shrimp, clams, calamari and fish; salads to which you can add any meat if desired are always available. Gaucho also offers larger plates for those with big appetites, like a sampler platter consisting of all five cuts of steak, enough for 5 or one meat loving man or woman!
Each dish can be enhanced by the condiments featured on the wood-block table in the center of the indoor dining space. All four sauces — the Chimmi Churri, Pimenton, Ajo and Cebolla — are olive-oil based. Fresh herbs and notes of garlic, charred pepper and vinegar differentiate between the four sauces. Be sure and sample some of each to determine your favorite. Trust me, that could prove to be a real challenge… picking just one!
Anthony told us that he feels the context of eating out is changing, it’s becoming about going to a small, little restaurant, having high-quality food cooked by high-quality cooks, without the pretentiousness of a dining room table, silverware, and chandeliers. It’s cutting-edge.
Gaucho is definitely top-notch and the food is perfection… so based upon or experience and its recent prestigious award, we vote Gaucho Parrilla Argentina the Number One place in Pittsburgh to dine! For rock star food, service and overall experience it’s Gaucho hands down. This is definitely a must dine at restaurant!
Gaucho Parrilla Argentina is located at 1607 Penn Ave on the corner of 16th and Penn Avenue in the Strip, open Tuesday thru Saturday 11am-7pm. www.eatgaucho.com