Palermo Argentinian Bistro is inspired by the neighborhood of Palermo in Buenos Aries. In that spirit, Owner Orhan Cakir, also proprietor of Pierre Loti—a Mediterranean tapas and wine bar with several locations throughout the city and expanding—has joined forces with longtime friend Executive Chef Carlos Barroz (formerly of La Pulperia) to bring this concept to Restaurant Row.
Set in a three-story brownstone that was built in 1894, the bi-level restaurant will bring the Argentinian tradition of barbecue and specialty cuts of steaks, sourced from the nearby century-old Piccinini Brothers butcher shop, served at an approachable price point to New York City.
Chef Carlos was born in Argentina and grew up in a family of restaurateurs learning how to cook from his mother, sisters, and uncles, as well as the craft of butchery from his grandfather. He left his home country for New York in 2001, working with every type of cuisine the city has to offer, from French and Italian, to Peruvian and Mexican. Palermo Argentinian Bistro is a love letter from Chef Carlos to the cuisine of his home country as indulging in steak and barbecue is an Argentinian tradition. The menu is rife with dishes representative of those he grew up eating and expertly displays the Italian and Spanish influences on Argentinian cuisine.
Appetizers highlight: Mollejas, lightly battered and fried sweetbreads served with butternut squash purée and salsa criolla; Humita en Olla, a creamy mixture of fresh summer yellow corn, onions, roasted red peppers, butternut squash, mozzarella cheese, and pimentón de la vera—similar to an Argentinian take on Italian polenta made with fresh corn in place of dried corn—to which diners can add short rib; and Tortilla de Papas, a traditional Spanish omelet filled with potatoes and onions served sliced into quarters will dollops of píquillo pepper aioli.
Also available is a well-selected Raw Bar which features: Oysters, with beausoleil-yuzu mignonette, cocktail sauce, and lemon; and Tuna Crudo, with preserved lemons, rocoto ponzu, tomatillo avocado mousse, black garlic purée, green plantain chips.
Two types of Empanadas with llajua sauce are served as well: Corn, filled with yellow sweet corn, butternut squash, red pepper, and gouda cheese; and Beef, hand cut beef, hard boiled eggs, olives scallions, and cumin.
The best way to experience Argentinian barbecue is by ordering the Parrillada for Two, a traditional Argentinian dish that consists of an assortment of asado meats and offal hand selected by Chef Carlos. The platter is comprised of skirt steak, sirloin, short ribs, sweetbread, chicken, chorizo, and blood sausage, served with chimichurri, salsa criolla, and choice of two sides like Grilled Asparagus with saffron aioli or Humita, onions, pimentón de la vera, mozzarella cheese.
Entrees include NY Strip Milanese, an Argentinian classic that substitutes the traditional pork or chicken for a cut of NY Strip Steak dotted with saffron aioli, served with a green salad and mashed potatoes; Half Murray’s Chicken, served with roasted Jerusalem artichokes, pearl onions, broccolini, and an orange cilantro caper sauce; and Tagliatelle Bolognese, house made tagliatelle in Bolognese sauce made from braised short rib, topped with grated grana Padano cheese, and accompanied by broccoli rabe.
Also available are a selection of steaks, served with chimichurri or salsa criolla and a choice of a side, including: a 28-ounce T-Bone, 16-ounce Ribeye, and a Tomahawk for Two.
Desserts are Churros, with dulce de leche and hazelnut, and Crepas filled with caramelized apples and topped with vanilla ice cream.
The Wine Program was curated by Owner Orhan Cakir who received his formal wine training through the Sommelier Society of America and earned a Certificate in Restaurant Management from NYU. He has built a 20-year career in wine and hospitality, acting as a an ambassador for Turkish wines in the United States, and is producing his own Turkish wine, Bullseye a red made from Öküzgözü grapes that are indigenous to Eastern Turkey.
For Palermo Argentinian Bistro, Orhan has designed a wine list that he will consistently update based on sales and the availability of varietals. While the individual wines may change, the program will consist of 30 red wines, 20 white wines, and eight selections of Champagne and sparkling wine, by the bottle along with a reserve list composed of bottles from his own personal collection. There will also be a wine by the glass program, all sourced from Argentina, Spain, Italy, France and California.
Beverage Director Daniel Villanueva, who is also a part of the La Pulperia team, has designed a cocktail program based on the classics with an Argentinian twist like Sazerac, Absinth, Sazerac 6 Years, Courvoisier Vsop, Peychaud’s Bitters, and Angostura Bitters; Paper Plane, Nonino Amaro, Aperol, Rabbit Hole Rye, and fresh lime; and a Moscow Mule, Van Gogh Vodka, fresh lime juice, pineapple, Chile Morita syrup, and ginger beer.
The interior was designed by Orhan’s brother Osman Cakir, owner of Turks and Frogs and Orient Express in the West Village. He was inspired by the space, which reminded him of traditional family-owned restaurants in Buenos Aires. The narrow rectangular dining room is bathed in royal blue and white-accented walls and tablecloths representative of the Argentinian flag. The various shelves and bar tops were cut from salvaged butcher blocks that Osman found hidden in a friend’s warehouse in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The chandeliers on the first floor are vintage country style and exposed brick walls are decorated with two antique Champagne holders from a wine cellar in France. The second level dining room has a cocktail bar with restored green industrial lights hanging overhead and seats for six, designed in a similar aesthetic that provides a more intimate dining experience.
Palermo Argentinian Bistro is located at 373 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036. Hours of operation are Wednesday – Saturday 5 pm to 10 pm.