2628 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90403
Category: Lunch, Dinner, Happy Hour, Dessert
Company: Dates, Friends, Business Meals
Cost: Yelp says it's a $$$
Quickie: The best Argentine steak house in Santa Monica.
OTC Tip: Happy Hour is M-F, 4-7pm and includes discounted tapas and drinks!
While each and every moment should be enjoyed, there are few that come close to being as savory and delightful as the ones spent eating. There is nothing quite like being seduced by food, and when I come across a restaurant that does just that, I promise to do what I won’t do when I’m eating there -which is share.
For the third of three restaurants from Argentine entrepreneurs Pablo Alcorta, Javier Pardini and Luciano Alcorta (but the first in Santa Monica), restaurateur Javier Pardini has big plans and bright eyes for Ushuaia. “We’re waiting on the photographs from Patagonia (southern region of Argentina and Chile)….” He explains as he gestures at the naked brick walls, and continues to talk as I nod and slyly pull the appetizer of Mollejas a la Parilla (veal-heart sweetbreads alongside a light lettuce salad of bibb, tomato, onion, avocado, salsa criolla and lemon vinaigrette) closer to my place setting and proceed to devour the entire thing. He seems happy that I’m now an advocate for sweetbreads, “The replacement for everyone who’s going to miss foie gras!” and smiles even though there’s none left for him.
In perfect timing our steak to split arrives flanked by two triumvirates of sauce because Javier has heard that I’m obsessed with dip. Our talk slows to silence, and then low nonsensical murmurs join our table as swallowing and swooning takes over.
|Pimenton: naturally the color of fire|
Half way through I sit back. In the middle of the breather a side of Humita (creamy corn and bacon) is deposited on the countering side of my placemat and it’s golden, steamy, and practically beaming in yellow glory. If a food could smile, Humita would grin.
Just as I begin to inquire, an opulent sundae glass presents itself. Donning long spoons we dig in, and suddenly I realize what he meant. The Don Pedro, which is chocolate and vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate and caramel sauce, walnuts, and a splash (or shot) of whiskey, is the perfect adult dessert that evokes fond memories of childhood without being too cloying or sweet.
If you’ve ever wondered how an interview becomes a meal, and how a 2.5 hour lunch becomes a moment, visit Ushuaia. Where steaks are cooked medium-rare and the staff is incredibly good looking, while the food isn’t cheap and none of it is zero-calories, when it comes to being full, happy, and impressed, it only takes one word to summarize why this is the best Argentinian restaurant in Santa Monica: Priceless.