Restaurants come and go. It is a tough business and even establishments that have been around for years can find themselves closing up shop. This was the case with the local Santa Monica favorite Drago, which closed its doors over 18 months ago. In its stead has risen a very promising new haven, USHUAIA Argentinean Steakhouse (www.ushuaissteakhouse.com) on Wilshire near 26th Street. Now that the rains have finally arrived in Southern California, there is a chance to enjoy excellent fish and meats with an Argentinean twist that will make it a pleasure to spend some time indoors.
The atmosphere has been renovated to give it more of a prime-rib-eye-feel, with exposed brick and smokey glass. The bar is still a central focus, surrounded by bottles of all kinds of wines and spirits, just enough to cheer up any rainy day blues. The wine list is varied and there are several excellent Argentinean choices that will work well with any dish.
Sharing is the best way to experience this restaurant, starting with tapas plates like tuna tartare followed by the burrata, prosciutto and poached pears. This dish alongside a medley of red beets invites you to plow in and mix and match. Served with a smooth Malbec you cannot miss. With USHUAIA, it is wise to pick something off the meat menu since this is what they are known for and it will not disappoint. Try the succulent set of lamb chops in a rich wine sauce nestled between sauteed collard greens, bacon and well cooked polenta. All the dishes are so easy to share that you can feel as though you have ventured to the Southern Hemisphere while trying the empanadas and planning your next adventure.
If you have any room left, make sure to partake in the Panqueques de Dulce de Leche with a creamy caramel sauce and creme brulee style topping. Then go ahead and ask yourself, when was the last time you broke the top of a pancake?