El Gaucho Meat Market is an unassuming store in a shopping plaza in Redondo Beach. Walking in, however, you first notice the meat counter, filled with fresh meats and sausages made in-house. As you look around, you will notice the emphasis is on foods from Central and South America. Fresh produce and sodas from Brazil and Argentina fill the coolers. If the word “Gaucho” didn't give you a hint, by the time you get to the back of El Gaucho Meat Market, the hot food counter certainly will. Tables face a flat-screen TV showing any game of soccer that Argentina plays in.
The menu at the counter seals the deal with the origins of the food. Empanadas are available fresh-baked and hot, filled with beef, chicken or spinach. Containers of fresh made chimichurri sauce, the Argentine condiment used on just about everything, are ready to use. The sauce, with olive oil, fresh parsley, oregano, wine vinegar and garlic, adds a great zing to whatever it is used on. The empanadas in particular benefit from a little of the sauce put on each bite. The freshness of the herbs really adds to the flavor.
A good sandwich to get is the choripan sausage sandwich. The sausages are made by El Gaucho, split and grilled to order. It is a very flavorful sausage, not spicy but full of herbs, spices and a wonderful porky flavor. Again, a spoon of the chimichurri sauce on the sandwich just before eating adds a splash of flavor. The sandwich, like all sandwiches at El Gaucho, comes with lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise on the French roll.
Another good choice is the milanesa sandwich which can be purchased in either beef or chicken versions. The beef version is a thin piece of steak, pounded slightly for tenderness, then breaded and deep-fried. The meat sticks quite a ways out of the French roll, tempting you to nibble the edges before attacking the main part of the sandwich. This is a delicious sandwich that pays homage to the Argentinian people's love of beef. Other sandwiches are also on the menu, featuring grilled skirt steak, ribeye steak, grilled chicken, various cold sandwiches such as subs and even a vegetarian sandwich. Other popular items are the Argentine-style pizza and the Peruvian-style tamales.
You can certainly take out your food from El Gaucho Meat Market, but it is fun to sit at one of the small tables there. At the right time, you'll hear other tables talking, ex-pats from Argentina and other South American countries who use El Gaucho as a social gathering place for their countrymen. It just adds to the flavor of the food, letting you visualize yourself at a small market near the pampas, enjoying a true Argentine meal.
El Gaucho Meat Market
2715 Manhattan Beach Boulevard
Redondo Beach, CA 90278