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Address: 1664 Park Ave (117th St)
City: New York, NY
Zip: 10035
Phone: (212) 289-1343
Map: Map
Cuisine: Argentinean
2nd Cuisine: Steakhouses
Area: Harlem


At its heart, Caminito is the perfect neighborhood restaurant, offering satisfying, simple food at everyday-gentle prices. The only drawback is the neighborhood itself, an almost barren stretch of Park Avenue in East Harlem that hardly lends itself to fine dining. Yet, owner-chef Fabian Manca -- who cooked at Pampa, another less-than-ideal location -- might just overcome the odds. He’s smartly transformed a former barber shop into a cozy, brick-walled eatery, complete with an attractively decorated bar. And with almost everything on the menu at under $20, one can easily afford a cab ride to and from the restaurant. Caminito is named after one of Manca’s favorite restaurants in Buenos Aries, Argentina, and the menu is full of that country’s culinary favorites. Oversized empanadas, made of surprisingly flaky pastry filled with a choice of ground beef and olive, nicely spiced chicken, or spinach and cheese, are a particularly delicious way to start the meal. The perfectly done sautéed sweetbreads in a white wine sauce are worth the trip for almost anywhere. Other starters include grilled provolone cheese, blood sausage, and a variety of appealing sounding salads. Not surprisingly, beef is Caminito’s raison d’etre -- notably grass-fed Uruguayan cuts of meat such as skirt steak, shell steak, and filet mignon, simply grilled and accompanied by an excellent chimichurri. (The filet can also be ordered with a superb three-peppercorn sauce.) For non-steak fans, there’s veal milanese, a variety of chicken dishes, not to mention freshly made French fries practically slathered with garlic and parsley. Desserts, such as a pair of crepes stuffed to the gills with dulce de leche and an intensely dense bread pudding, are of the hearty variety, so splitting them might be the best option. Or make it a point to come back and try another one.

Review By: Brian Scott Lipton