Cuartito Azul – El Paso’s Hidden Argentinean Gem
Cuartito Azul – El Paso’s Hidden Argentinean GemOct 01
Sitting humbly on a quiet block of Thorn Avenue on El Paso’s West Side, Cuartito Azul may just be the Sun City’s hidden gem. Run by the Brandi Family of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Cuartito Azul and its sister restaurant of the same name across the border in Juarez, Mexico, offer bold, authentic Argentinean cuisine at incredibly reasonable prices. The El Paso location of El Cuartito Azul, or “The Little Blue Room,” is quaint, cozy and unassuming, putting all the attention on its best feature – its food. The menu’s star is surely the Argentinean style steaks, but they have recently added several pasta dishes to their list of poultry and seafood entrees. The highly attentive and knowledgeable staff seal the deal, ensuring you have a truly enjoyable night out.
Each meal starts with warm baked bread, fresh black olives and marinated white beans, but I absolutely recommend also ordering one of the traditional appetizers like the flaky homemade empanadas served with homemade chimichurri ($2.75 each or $9 for 4), Chorizo Argentino served with marinated tomatoes ($5.50), or the rich Provoleta, a thick slice of provolone cheese marinated in olive oil and oregano and grilled Napolitana style with tomato sauce and sweet basil ($6.50), and of course a bottle of Argentinean wine. The recently added pasta courses shy are more Italian than Argentinean, but are equally enjoyable. The homemade gnocchi has a distinctly bright and fresh pesto made from walnuts and basil and is a hefty portion for a modest $9.50.
As entrees go, I have yet to sample one of the poultry or seafood selections because the Argentinean steaks are just too tempting. I recommend the traditional Argentinean Churrasco, a 12 ounce top sirloin served with potato salad ($15.50), or Grilled Filet Mignon ($17.50), and don’t forget to ask for some more homemade chimichurri to enjoy with both! While some elements of the dishes were a bit heavy handed on the vinegar (the salad dressing, chimichurri), the ingredients are noticeably fresh and are allowed to shine in the simplicity of the dishes. Our meal ended with a much appreciated complimentary surprise Tres Leches Cake from the kitchen (mmm…delicious!) and I couldn’t have been more satisfied. I know I just gushed about my affinity for Cuartito Azul, but as El Paso’s “hidden gem,” let’s just keep this our little secret, ok?
El Cuartito Azul
500 Thorn Avenue
El Paso, Texas