Charrúa: Uruguayan Cuisine
Between Argentina, Brazil, and Rio de la Plata lies the country of Uruguay, which is the home of over 3 million people. I recently experienced Uruguayan food for the first time at Charrúa in the Lower East Side and was impressed by my experience. I learned that Uruguayan cuisine is heavily influenced by Spain, Italy, Portugal, and France, which explains why empanadas, gnocchi, and flan are common items.
Charrúa inhabits a small space that has a homey feel and plenty of natural lighting. Once the sun decides to retire the ambiance is set with the perfect amount of candle lighting and a few tables outside for dining al fresco. Their menu is broken into tapas & appetizers, salads, mains, pasta, and Chivitos sandwiches. Chivito is the national dish of Uruguay, so they have several options for this popular dish on their menu. Typically a Chivito includes steak, ham, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, and mayo. On Charrúa’s menu, they include steak, chicken, chorizo, and a veggie version. While at Charrúa, I had the opportunity to try Morcilla, which is blood sausage. I know what you are thinking and I am firm believer in giving everything a try ONCE. Morcilla is sausage that is cooked with blood and then cooled down until it solidifies itself with the meat and it wasn’t that bad. Because of the process, it will be a darker color than your standard chorizo. The skirt steak definitely steals the show and will have you thinking about well in the week following your visit.
Chaurra's level of service was exceptional, and they did a great job of explaining the different menu items. You can catch them for brunch or dinner; might I had they have a killer deal for brunch as well that includes 2 hours of bottomless for only an additional $16.
My dining experience was comped, but this review showcases my own opinions.