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Futura – A Stylish Newcomer in the South Slope

  • b

If you live in the south Slope you should be happy about Futura. It offers a pleasant mix of good food and attractive prices in a relaxed yet sophisticated atmosphere.

Last Friday I was part of a group of 4 (three CH posters and one fellow traveler) making a first visit to the restaurant. Futura is Argentinean – that means a combination of grilled meats and Italian dishes that reflect Argentina’s substantial Italian population.

We started with empanadas, nicely executed but just a touch bland. (Maybe I’ve been eating too much Szechuan food lately.) At any rate I’d certainly order them again. My partner had the seafood skewers (shrimp, calamari, and scallops) and she liked them very much. “Gently cooked and juicy.”

Two of our party split the Argentine mixed grill (aka parrillada) which consists of short ribs, skirt steak, sweet breads, and pork and black sausage. Both were very happy with the dish. My friend’s wife had the risotto which seemed to please her as well.

I had the grilled ribeye and was glad I did. I believe it was marinated but I’m not entirely sure of that. At any rate it was tender and delicious. A number of the main courses come with carrot infused mashed potatoes as a side dish. I’m not a fan of this although you might like it fine. With each mouthful I kept thinking “this would be really good if only the carrot wasn’t there.”

We finished by splitting an unusual chocolate semifreddo which had a pepper component which kicked in about 15 seconds after each swallow. Maybe I could learn to like this but I’m not sure. The opinion of my companions was divided as well.

The portions were substantial without being overwhelming and the prices were certainly fair. The parrillada for 2 was $32 and my steak was $21. There are a number of other mains in the $12 – $19 range so cost shouldn’t be an issue.

The owner was on hand and he made us feel very welcome throughout the meal. While we were making our way through the wine list he suggested an Argentinean Malbec which was outstanding. At $28 it was one of the cheaper wines on the list. Imagine that – an owner who doesn’t try to upsell!

The room itself is stylish in an almost glossy way. I had looked at the pictures on Futura’s website with a jaundiced eye. I’m sure we’ve all been taken in by attractive photographs only to find the reality to be disappointing. In this case however the space was every bit as nice as the pictures.

They have both a back yard and a roof deck. I am really looking forward to coming back during warmer weather. (See the picture below.)

Futura is at 287 9th Street about halfway down the block from 5th Avenue. This is the type of place that South Slopers have been waiting for.

(A special thanks to Steve R. for suggesting the restaurant.)

Link: http://www.futurabm.com/index.htm

Image: http://www.futurabm.com/photogallery/...

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  1. Can you draw any comparisons to "SUR" (Smith Street)...the true (for a period of time, anyway) Argentinian steak at SUR was fantastic but the beef threw me for an allergic loop, as I suspect they "marinate" or treat the meat with sulfurous tenderizing or artificial smoke stuff.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Mike R.
      b
      Bob Martinez

      I've never been to Sur so I can't compare them. Certainly there was no artificial smoke used at Futura - that stuff jumps right out at you.

      I thought the steak compared favorably to that at Azul, another Argentine place on the lower east side. Why not try Futura and order something other than the steak while sampling a bit of someone elses' entree? That way you can do a low risk test.

      1. re: Bob Martinez

        An excellent idea...any "offal" on the menu to recommend?

        BTW, at the original SUR you could actually taste the vegetative ("grass-fed") quality in the beef!

      2. re: Mike R.

        I havent been to Sur since it moved across the street. However, having been there for several dinners previously, I do think that Sur used (uses?) more MSG (or its equivalent) than most places, including Futura. A shame, since Sur's meat was, I believe, of a higher quality than Futura when I went (actually, Sur was of a higher quality than most places, meat wise -- at least back then). But the service's incompetence + attitude drove us out. Too bad, since I wanted to like it.

        In my opinion, Futura's mixed grill was above average, with the 2 black sausages thick and flavorful (and homemade, according to the owner). The sweetbreads were only okay (too bad, since I was looking forward to them), but the skirt steak and short ribs were very solid. As Bob said, we all liked the place and will definitely go back. If the risotto is any indication of the quality of the Italian side of the menu, this will be a regular place on the rotation come outdoor eating weather. It was very well made & held up as a leftover the next night.

      3. I wrote a post a few weeks ago about Futura, nothing nearly as detailed as yours. I have been twice and would agree with most everything you said. For work I go to Argentina reguarly, and can say that it does as good a job as you can here in NY getting the Buenos A feel. Funky location adds to the charm. I always find it odd eating a big high end meal and being spit out into the night with a Mcdonalds flashing in my face.

        1. Do you know if they are using grass fed Argentine beef?

          9 Replies
          1. re: josh L

            The menu doesn't mention that. I would think that would be a selling point if indeed they were importing their beef so I suspect they're serving plain old American meat.

            1. re: Bob Martinez

              If the steak is not grass fed, then it is not an Argentine steak house. corn fed steak has a totally different taste and flavor.

              1. re: josh L

                "If the steak is not grass fed, then it is not an Argentine steak house."

                Nowhere in my original post or on their website does anyone claim that they are an Argentine steak house. In fact althought steak is on their menu they aren't a steak house at all. Futura is just a good restaurant serving affordable food in a neighborhood that really needs more venues like this one.

                1. re: Bob Martinez

                  "Futura is just a good restaurant serving affordable food in a neighborhood that really needs more venues like this one."

                  I agree with you one hundred percent but if they call it an "Argentine mixed grill" it should be grass fed beef; all beef in Argentina is grass fed. It's like calling a slice "New York style pizza" and using swiss cheese.

                  Either way, good report Bob.

                  1. re: josh L

                    I recall reading something about it being illegal to import - I can't remember which - either grass fed or argentine beef. That sounds stupid, but isn't there some reason why it is so hard to find argentine and/or grass fed beef?

                    1. re: chowgal

                      Their beef was ilegal to import for awhile due to cases of hoof and mouth disease in Argentina. This has since been eradicated and imports are legal.

                      More detail here:
                      http://www.iadb.org/idbamerica/archiv...

                      The Argentine Pavillion, in Manhattan, serves (you guessed it) Argentine beef.

                      Link: http://www.argentinepavillion.com/eng...

                      1. re: chowgal

                        It’s more important that the beef is grass fed then where it’s from. Grass fed beef has a completely different taste and texture then corn fed beef.

                        1. re: josh L

                          Yesterday's NYPost food section confirmed that USDA ban is still in effect for "Argentine Beef"...as a sub-story to beluga caviar feature.

                          1. re: josh L

                            Josh

                            You've made your point. The loudest, most insistent voice doesn't "win" on Chowhound. Please add your piece of the puzzle and then stand back and allow others their say.

              2. Thanks for the report. Looking forward to trying it.

                Link: http://www.eatingforbrooklyn.blogspot...

                1. I have to say that I respectfully disagree with the favorable reviews of Futura Bistro Modern. I went last weekend with a group of friends, anticipating an exciting meal based on the kind feedback from fellow Chowhounders.

                  The evening started off decently. It was a full house, but we were given the cozy front area to relax and sip wine while we waited. Upon opening the bottle of (red) wine, the host/waiter sprayed me. He was apologetic and offered two glasses of wine on the house.

                  Once seated, we began to peruse the menu. The three vegetarians in tow were focused on the pasta entrees. I am not a vegetarian, but the host/waiter recommended the pesto highly, so I went with that. Two of the vegetarians ordered the gnocchi, and one ordered the special: ravioli with truffle oil. Our meatiest eater went with the grilled ribeye.

                  The host/waiter returned a few minutes later reporting that they were out of both the pesto and the gnocchi. Bummer (and it was pretty early in the night for them to be out of two entrees). I went with the ribeye, one vegetarian went with the penne in vodka sauce, and the other went with the special ravioli.

                  On a positive note, the bread was great: chewy and freshly baked. Although when we asked for more, we were told it was in the oven and on its way. After asking twice more to no avail, we gave up.

                  The entrees arrived to mixed reviews. The ribeye was nicely seasoned and perfectly grilled, but the carrot mashed potatoes on the side were cold. The penne in vodka sauce was a bit plain, but decent. The ravioli, on the other hand, had not a trace of truffle oil. As that was the selling point for those who ordered it, they were disappointed.

                  All of this was forgivable – until we received the check. The wine was not only incorrectly priced (more expensively of course), but not discounted as promised after the spill. The ravioli specials were also incorrectly priced (you guessed it, higher than the menu).

                  I approached the host/waiter and pointed out the errors. I also mentioned nicely that two glasses of wine were not deducted as he said they would be. He took the check back and returned it with the prices adjusted to match the menu, but no free wine!

                  We are usually very generous tippers. We left the smallest tip our consciences would allow and will not return.