In the old Drago space come Ushuaia, an Argentinean restaurant that from the looks of lunch might not be long for. There are approximately twenty-five tables. There is The Monster and ghosts having lunch.
The simple, unadorned space of wood floors, brick walls is done up in browns and beige. It’s going for simple yet comes off as spare and lonely.
The Monster is hungry so to start he opts for the Cazuela del sur, a seafood tomato broth with Spanish saffron, scallops, shrimp, mussels, calamari, clams and baby octopus. For his main the choice is Suprema, chicken breast Milanese, arugula, red onion, avocado and tomato.
You might like veal sweetbreads served with lemon, Boston lettuce, tomato, avocado and red onion as an appetizer or try the Entrana al Chimichurri Norteno, a grilled skirt steak with spicy chimichurri and grilled vegetables.
The good news is the soup is loaded with seafood. And salt. That’s not good news. At $15 it teeters right on the edge of being overpriced.
As for the Milanese? It’s a touch dry even as covered with salad and dressing and then drenched with the accompanying sauce and its skimpy portion. A large piece of chicken requires more than a teaspoon of sauce. And at $16 it’s no deal either.
In a city filled with good Brazilian, the fear is an upscale Argentinean offering similar food at a higher tariff without being exponentially better will end up just as Ushuaia is: empty. Perhaps beef eaters will fair better and the space may be more suited for dinner but from the ghost town that was this meal come while you can. Because a $40 lunch for one needs be better than what The Monster experienced.
Service proves efficient but it’s dispiriting working in a large space sans customers. But The Monster never wanted for water or attention so a thumbs up for that.
Why go? You’re a loner.
Monster rating: 2½/5 Monsters
2628 Wilshire Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90403