Fork and Spoon love steak. At times we CRAVE steak. One of the places this craving is satiated – and extremely well – is La Portena Restaurant located in Jackson Heights, Queens.
This unassuming storefront in the heart of Jackson Heights, gives way to a to a wonderfully noisy, family run, fun restaurant. Sometimes in our adventures it is necessary to bring our other halves along – if for no other reason that to be able to try more dishes!! In this case though, it was just for more company as we all ate the same thing!
There is nothing pretentious or fancy about this neighborhood restaurant. The tablecloths are covered in white paper because this is serious eating and serious Argentinian BBQ!
Bottomless iced tea and soda, fantastic sangria, fresh bread and their freshly made CHIMICHURRI sauce. Now, I wanted a steak, and their delicious salad and empanadas, but the chimichurri and bread is some serious eating. I put it on everything – the emapnadas, steak, potatoes, bread – everything but the salad!
We started our field trip with the La Portena salad especial and empanadas.
I dream about this salad. All of the ingredients are very, very cold, salty, and dressed in a tangy, citrus vinaigrette. Watercress, tomatoes, hearts of palm, broad beans, hard boiled eggs, and this time avocado. You just can’t stop eating it.
The empanadas are in a light flaky dough and filled with beef or chicken. Not being able to decide which we would prefer, we ordered two of each. (And so good with the chimichurri)
The potatoes Spanish style – thinly sliced and fried with lots of garlic (everyone had to eat them otherwise we would not have been able to continue speaking to each other!) and parsley are so good they could be a meal unto themselves! We were virtually fighting over the last bits of them! So much so that we ordered a second plate of them! (And so good with the chimichurri!)
All having a craving for steak we all had the same entree, the Entrana, skirt steak. Beautifully grilled and so big that it hangs off the sides of the plate. Skirt steak if not treated right can get stringy and chewy. This was tender and perfect. And such a good accompaniment to the chimichurri!
Now, those of you who have visited before all know we cannot have an adventure without dessert and with four people the possibilities were even better. Sadly the ‘others’ do not like to play share and are not exactly adventurous so we had Peach Sherbet in a peach, Tartufo, and for the Spoon and I, Sweet Caramel Crepe. The crepes were great! Then again, anything filled with Dulce de Leche can’t possibly be bad!!
The chimichurri sauce is now sold in bottles! I know people who have spent years trying to achieve the same balance of sweet, garlic, parslied perfection. Thank goodness I can just take it home with me!! You want to dip everything in it! You want to eat more just to dip more!
La Portena, for the past 14 years, has been located at 74-25 37th Avenue, Jackson Heights, Queens, New York.
Want a great steak? This place is a MUST!!