Parrilla Peña is a small place with closely spaced small tables covered with white clothes and napkins. Windows look out on to the street but have drapes to partially cover them. The menu is large and most plates are enough for two. It accepts only VISA or cash. The staff are friendly and helpful but the English is limited. Wines line the upper parts of the walls and they have a long pole to grab yours and bring it down. You enter into an area that separates the kitchen by a low bar and looks like a takeout area. The other end of the kitchen is open to the back part of the dining room. It lent a small amount of noise to the dining room but mostly it was banter of the regular customers. This place felt “old school” serving simple but real local flavors, in huge portions. It is not creative or the best but a perfect example of what you might eat on a regular basis if you lived here. It was good, satisfying and an overall fun experience.
Everyone starts their meal with a complimentary empanada and a couple of salsas. The empanada was very good with a tasty crust and filling. The filling was a ground meat and not too herbed up or spicy but very tender. It was good with either of the salsas or just by itself. The salsa that was vegetables in oil seemed to work better with our cheese course whereas the red/brown salsa was better with the empanada.
The Provoleta al Orégano was made with an Provolone cheese. It was cooked on a grill with herbs (mostly oregano) and the bottom portion turns into something like a crust. It was mildly sharp flavored and not as gooey in texture as I expected but it was good and fun to eat. It came in a round and the waiter served up each of us half. There were a lot of textures, which kept changing as it cooled, that made it interesting to eat. You didn’t spread it on bread you just ate pieces of it. As I said earlier the salsas were good to eat with it.
Papas Fritas (French fries) were dusted with parsley and raw garlic. The inside was nice creamy potato with a slight crisp on the outside. They were not blistered on the outside and were a wide cut piece.
Bife de Lomo was ribeye cap beef. It was moist and juicy and tender. Parts of the piece were a little drier than others but it was also cooked more to a medium than a rare state. The salsa with the vegetables was my preferred garnish with it. There was a fairly good beefiness to the meat.
For dessert the waiter recommended the Flan/Creme Caramel that came with Crema o Dulce (cream and caramel). It was a round flan with a mound of caramel on one side and a pile of whipped cream on the other. The cream was freshly made, not out of a can and was delicious. The caramel was generous and thick but not overly buttery. It was a total sweet fix and one serving was more than two could eat.