Pampas Argentine Grill
A few weeks ago, I met CP for lunch and since he had a 1pm meeting, we decided to stay close to the Kearny Mesa area. However, neither of us really wanted fast food and CP just had sushi the day before, so we racked our brains of where to dine. It was CP who came up with the brilliant suggestion: “Why don’t we go to Pampas?”
I had never been to Pampas, but I absolutely LOVE empanadas so you can guess my reaction. I believe it was somewhat along the lines of: “OH H*LL YES!”
We arrived at the restaurant off of Aero Dr just before the lunch rush. In fact, there was only 2 tables at the bar at the time and so we were seated immediately.
I took a browse through the menu and I knew I wanted nothing more than empanadas! Since I was not starving, I decided to get some empanadas to share with CP. We ordered 2 different empanadas: chicken and spinach. CP got one of the chicken and I got the other plus the spinach.
The empanadas were encased in a flaky pastry shell that were fried baked to order (Updated: I was kindly corrected by the restaurant and this actually explains the lack of oil when eating these pastries!). I enjoyed looking at how empanada makers differentiate the pastries by how they crimp the edges. The spinach edge looked like it was sealed with a fork, while the chicken was folded over to create waves.
The spinach empanadas were filled with a mixture of spinach (duh), onions, and parmesan cheese. It was FILLED with lots of spinach and I felt stronger from all that iron! *FLEX* I think this was the winner between the two pastries.
The chicken empanada was filled with shredded, spiced chicken and onions. It too was good, but the meat was not as flavorful as some empanadas I have had. The chimichurri at Pampas was quite good. Their version looked and tasted like a mix of parsley, garlic, cilantro lemon juice (or vinegar), olive oil and probably a couple spices. Perfect companion to our little fried babies.
In addition to my fried lunch, I ordered the mixed salad to make myself feel like I had a balanced meal. The salad was a simple mixed greens with red onions and tomatoes. The dressing tasted like a shallot vinaigrette that made this very simple salad taste so good! I would order this salad again just for the dressing.
CP ordered the Choripan sandwich. The grilled choripan (Argentine beef and port sausage) was sliced in half and put between a French loaf. The sandwich had the standard romaine lettuce, tomato, and red onions that were all topped with a health dose of the chimichurri. I had a nibble of the sandwich and it was good, especially the bread soaked with chimichurri. I don’t eat beef, so I let CP tell me how it tasted and he gave it 2 thumbs up!
The sandwiches come with a choice of a side and CP had the “Argentine” fries. My first question to him was: “What’s this ‘Argentine’ fries? Do they have some sort of special potato for these fries?” It turns out what made these fries “Argentine” was that they were sprinkled with parsley and garlic. Now of course my next comment would have to be: “Aren’t these just garlic fries then?”
Overall, I really enjoyed the food here. The service was somewhat lacking since for some reason, it took them forever to get the sandwich out. My thoughts are that the kitchen wasn’t ready when we had come in. Yet, when we had arrived, it was about quarter to noon, so that would not make much sense. Other than this, I enjoyed my time at Pampas, but just remember to leave yourself enough time for a long lunch here.
Pampas Argentine Grill
8690 Aero Drive Suite 105
San Diego, CA 92123