Chimichurri blends Argentina, Italian cuisine

In Argentina, beef tends to be the star of local menus, but there's also a strong Italian influence there and several examples reveal themselves at Chimichurri, a new Argentinian restaurant in Pilsen.

August 9, 2013 8:39:34 PM PDT
Usually it's the beef that Argentina is known for, but at the tiny new, no-frills Chimichurri in Pilsen, there is as much emphasis on the influential Italian immigrant population as there is on the Latin side. Of course everything comes with the namesake sauce, consisting of parsley, crushed red pepper, vinegar, olive oil and garlic.

"Chimichurri is a sauce in Argentina. It's the sauce that we put in the steak and choripan," said owner Mario Lobos.

That choripan is essentially what every soccer fan eats during games. It begins with a homemade sausage, fired on the grill.

"80 percent pork and 20 percent meat," said Lobos.

It's split in half, then jammed between toasted loaves of bread, topped with both the chimichurri, as well as an assertive salsa containing peppers and onions.

Empanadas are made throughout the day in four flavors: chicken, spinach and cheese or ham and cheese.

And speaking of ham and cheese, check out the double crust pizzas. Made in the traditional style, topped with a mound of white onions and just a drizzle of fresh tomato sauce, the fugazzetta rellena is definitely unique among Chicago's myriad pizza styles.

"Usually this pizza - fugazzetta rellena - it's something similar to focaccia. In Argentina, the food comes in like evolution," said Lobos.

Do not pass up a chance to try one of their homemade gelatos. Flavors like dulce de leche, almond and quinoto with a touch of whisky, combine the best of Argentina with solid Italian gelato-making skills.

"They're rich in cream and very good taste," he said.

1454 W. 18th St.