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Argentinean Steakhouse Replaces Drago

Three young native Argentine entrepreneurs open the steakhouse, Ushuaia, serving divine steaks and a smaller sampling of pastas and seafood.

It was sad to see the, but its disappearance hasn’t left a hole on Wilshire Boulevard. There is a new arrival of Argentinean delights.

Ushuaia, named after the southern most city in Argentina, is the third restaurant installment helmed by the talents of three young native Argentine entrepreneurs.All versed in different areas, I can see why this place is going to be a hit. Business and aesthetics have fused into a nice upscale blend of food and atmosphere.

Pablo Alcorta, Javier Pardini and Luciano Alcorta were each born and raised in Argentina. Pablo, who is in charge of all things culinary, and his younger brother Luciano hail from the province of Chubut in the Patagonia region of southern Argentina.

Luciano has a background in film, and came to Hollywood to stake his claim. That didn’t work out, so he gravitated toward luxury homes and high-end restaurant design including Dolce Ristorante in Los Angeles and Geisha House in Hollywood.

Pablo hails from an impressive culinary background, having studied at Argentina's renowned Instituto Argentino del Gastronomia. After moving to the United States after a severe economic crisis in 2002 in his homeland, he eventually became the corporate chef at the Gaucho Grill, where he met Javier.

Javier came from Cordoba at 15. He majored in business at California State University of Northridge, and since then, he’s done a bit of everything in the restaurant business, from bussing and hosting at the Gaucho Grill, to eventually becoming its general manager. His amicable demeanor and green eyes make for a nice way to start a dining experience.

These guys have a real recipe for success with this concept. Although meat dishes prevail on the menu, there is a fair sampling of pasta, fish and seafood dishes that will assuage any appetite.

Not much has changed inside the restaurant. The vibe is still very upscale, with the architectural bones of Drago still prominent. Well-heeled Santa Monica residents punctuated the dining room, along with some trendsetters anxious to try the inventive cuisine.

Starters began with the Empanadas ($9 for two). Ours included the chicken and beef, both of which were dense with protein, sided with a tangy tomato garlic salsa.

The next delight was Mollejas a la parrilla ($18), grilled veal-heart sweetbreads, braced with a tomato salsa avocado, and a side salad of buttery Boston lettuce. Let the games begin. This one was so succulent, the side salad giving a nice zingy distraction to the protein.

Seafood lovers will enjoy the Duo Patagonia appetizer ($15), an ample medley of shrimp and scallops in a smoky Pimenton sauce. I’m a seafood junkie, so this one sent me over the top.

Vegetarians should try the Raviolis de espinaca al Roquefort ($21), a sensuous blend of packed pockets of spinach with a creamy cheese sauce. This dish is a fine distraction from all the protein.

And although I’m not a huge carnivore, we quickly devoured the Entrana al la parrilla ($27), a grilled skirt steak. It was one of the best steaks I’ve had in years. All the beef at the restaurant is natural, and you can taste the difference.

I might add that all the wines come from Argentina. Those we sampled included a Malbec Michel Torino ($50 bottle), and the Domingo Molina Salta ($11 glass/40 bottle). Both were divine. Ask your server for some suggested wine parings to make your dining experience even more memorable.

Go to Ushuia soon, before word gets out.

Ushuaia Argentinean Steakhouse is at 2628 Wilshire Blvd. For more information, call (310) 315-5487 or visit ushuaiasteakhouse.com.

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