Those crafty Argentines have taken over the former Drago space in Santa Monica and stuffed it full of those wood-grilled steaks they (and we, and probably you) adore. With nary a nip nor a tuck to the space, Ushuaia Steakhouse replaced the Italian in record time and is now serving the Westside with natural beef grilled, asado-style, over a wood fire, with choices of chimichurri, salsa mia, and salsa criolla on the side of servings of skirt steak, lomo, bife, and bife ancho, priced between $24-38 (many times the price of all that subsidized steak in Argentina, but hey...). An additional two-dollar supplement is needed to indulge in a selection of sauces such as the restaurant's compote of oyster mushrooms, onion, and Roquefort and a reduction of Malbec. What else is on the menu?
The rest of the selection sounds promisingly authentic for an upscale traditional Argentine dining room, with two pasta dishes (a thin noodle paired with shellfish is cited as bearing Patagonian influence), bacon-wrapped filet mignon, starters of veal sweetbreads, morcilla, lomo carpaccio, chorizo, matambre, cured meats, and flame-melted provoleta with ham and peppers, all mostly priced around ten bucks.
In addition, expect dressed-up entrees like a Jidori chicken "del campo," plates of salmon and a Mediterranean dressing of sole. Named for the central city of Tierra del Fuego, Ushuaia is now open from 11:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M. weekdays, 5:00 to 10:30 P.M. come weekends.
Ushuaia, 2628 Wilshire Blvd. Santa Monica. 310-315-5457.