I don’t know about you, but I have mixed feelings about “Meatless Mondays.” The start of an intense work week is hardly the time that I want to be skimping on heme iron, primarily available through non-plant proteins, natch. Also helpful is a glass (or two) of wine to smooth out the rough edges of the reality that it won’t be the weekend again for approximately 100 hours. Yikes.
Well, if you, too, want to say ‘screw you’ to vegetarianism and vino abstention on Mondays this summer, Sal y Pimienta is here to help. From now until August 1, the restaurant is offering a three-course prix-fixe menu every Monday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The cost for two people: $99 plus tax and gratuity. ‘Not bad,’ you say? Guess what? That also includes a bottle of wine. And not just the house
swill stuff either—diners may choose from over a dozen quality varietals, including a terrific Argentinian Pago Cimera Reserva Malbec and a very refreshing Bodegas Uruguayan Garzon Sauvignon Blanc.
Don’t spend too much time deciding on your bottle while noshing on Sal y Piementa’s addictive house-made, thick-cut potato chips as there’s more tough deliberation ahead. The first course is a choice of ceviche or empanadas; having tried both, I recommend…both.
Go for the empanadas if deep-fried pockets of dough stuffed with seasoned ground beef and sealed with a hand-braided crust is your idea of a perfect prelude to a steak. Alternatively, if surf before turf is your fancy, you will be thrilled with the beautifully constructed ceviche featuring jumbo shrimp diadem, large pieces of flounder redolent of citrus and pepper and fanned avocado slices.
Now, here’s the rub and my only criticism of the prix-fixe menu. There is just one option (albeit a great one) for your second course: Each diner receives an eight-ounce filet mignon of Uruguayan grass-fed beef cooked exactly (and I mean, exactly) to his or her liking and dressed with a piquant chimichurri sauce. While I appreciate eradicating the tyranny that can be choice, I would suggest adding at least one other protein option.
Any minor irritation from that quibble is readily mitigated by the time you reach the dessert. Shareable selections include the quattro leches, panna cotta, and “Passion of Chocolate.” Although I am deeply passionate about chocolate, I actually found myself favoring the quattro leches. Our shared bottle of wine meant I could have one more glass than I would usually, so why not one more leche?