In a nondescript area of the famed Melrose Avenue tucked between a lingerie shop called Agent Provacateur and a clothing boutique called Lotta, is Carlitos Gardel restaurant. From its location and simple black awning, one might anticipate an interesting throwback night club upon entering. What you'll find instead is chicly designed Argentinean Steakhouse appealing to plenty of 'eye candy' and youthful meat enthusiasts, as well as those seeking to impress their dates with their culinary prowess.
Now, don't confuse Argentinean with Brazilian (something I did originally when my friends mentioned it) for this is not a churrascaria. This is menu-based, but believe me, it won't disappoint.
To say the meat in this place is fantastic is really understating its case. But no one leaps right in and starts with the entree, so I started my dining experience with their special buratta appetizer wrapped in prosciutto. I openly admit to becoming a burrata snob, and having ordered that cheese countless times in many different places, rarely do I find the dish to be both aesthetically and palatably pleasing. Not only was the prosciutto so finely sliced and wrapped that it melted in your mouth, it could hardly encapsulate the delicate buratta so that it would not leak out. The tender white cheese was mouth-watering to look at and impossible to enjoy slowly, as each bite required an added taste in what became a mouth-spoiling starter.
Their 14 oz rib-eye served as my main course. Cooked medium rare and dabbed with chimichurri sauce, it was as tasty a steak as I could remember, cooked flawlessly. Yet I was more amazed when I tasted my friend's skirt steak. Usually skirt steaks are so thin they end up either overcooked or flavorless. This was not only moist and tender, but the juices flowed so freely I felt my mouth filling with the excess as I bit into it. Everyone at the table concurred that this was an unexpected surprise. The filet mignon in a mushroom wine sauce seemed to hit the spot for my other friend as well.
We deferred to our own wine tastes and the only drawback to that is their $30 corkage fee, which I found to be a bit extreme. The ambiance is quaint and friendly, but not for people who are seeking a quiet hole-in-the-wall, something this restaurant might appear to be from the outside. You certainly will hear your neighbors and will find your friends snugly planted next to you.
For dessert, we tried both a chocolate torte with dulce de leche creme and another cake which offered some apples layered into a sweet dulce de leche icing. Along with coffees, the entire bill for six people including our one bottle of wine, came to approximiately $480, tip included.
If you want to get into the mood before hand check out their website, a noirish, 1940's throwback webpage with South American music to boot. http://www.carlitosgardel.com/. If you're in Los Angeles, and want to experience a terrific steakhouse without breaking the bank, try Carlitos Gardel. It's a fulfilling and delicious culinary experience.
If you own or manage Carlitos Gardel, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.