By W.A. Muller
Located on the Lower East Side of New York City on Stanton Street sits Balvanera, an Argentine steakhouse named after a barrio in Buenos Aires, where the creative types of the city come to mingle.The service here is attitude-free, in a neighborhood where you’ll often encounter a pretentious wait staff. It’s a cozy spot, with its rustic dining room featuring adapted elements of Spanish and Italian cooking, filled with a downtown crowd.
The menu strays from straight-up Argentine cuisine, although there are expertly grilled meats, traditional flaky empanadas, house-made chorizo and a chimichurri sauce that transports you to Buenos Aires. While, obviously, meats are the highlight here, including their dry-aged, grilled bone-in rib eye, the restaurant is not just about steak, and vegetarians and pescatarians will enjoy many facets of the menu. including fresh burrata with peaches and almonds, octopus and pasta. There is gnocchi special on the 29th day of each month, an Argentine tradition where everyone typically eats pasta on that specific day of the month.
The restaurant is the first project of Argentine Chef Fernando Navas (with stints at El Bulli and Nobu) representing the cuisine and spirit of Buenos Aires. The wine list is curated in collaboration with Argentine Wine Consultant, Sebastian Koncurat. As you would suspect, there are many noteworthy selections of Argentine wine, available by the glass, carafe or bottle; but not to be missed is their Sangria de la Casa.
As you enter the space, you’ll be welcomed by an elegance and charm that invokes the Buenos Aires vibe. There are two full sides of French doors drenched with sunshine during the day. At night, the lights dim and the action begins with a mixed soundtrack of everything from classic rock and jazz to funk and soul. There is, of course, Argentine music sprinkled within the rotation.
The restaurant serves brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 11am-4:30pm, and offers happy hour Monday through Thursday from 4pm-7pm with table seating; and Friday through Sunday 4pm-7pm with bar seating. On Monday evenings from 5:30-11pm there is a BYOB option, with no corkage fee!
To sum it up, Balvanera is an excellent choice for a night out in Manhattan. From the tapas style starter plates of octopus, anchovies and savory pastries to the main plates of grass-fed beef, pasta and fish, you’ll enjoy a fabulous evening of quality wines and attentive service for a meal to remember.
152 Stanton Street
New York, NY