Review w/pics:Los Chilenos Restaurant-the community gathering
I love Chilean slang, which I'm only recently discovering.Ciao pescado! Literally, goodbye fish, is the Chilean equivalent of "See you later alligator".Chileans have alot of style and so does their food.
I made a couple of trips to Los Chilenos for an eye opening experience, cachai?(you know)My Chileno friend recommended this place as did others in the Chilean community here in LA. They preferred it to Rincon Chileno, the most well known of the few restaurants presenting this great yet unsung cuisine of South America.I tended to lump Paraguay, Uruguay and Chile together as presumably less hearty and substantial than Argentine or less creative and exciting than Brazilian or Peruvian.That was before my recent studies on this diverse cuisine, and visits to Los Chilenos.
There were some items on the menu that I recognized from the many Argentine restaurants I've frequented like the steak cuts and milanesa(pan-Latin), but the menu at Los Chilenos soon revealed the treasures and pleasures of Chile.Pastel del choclo, locos mayo,completos,paila marina,cazuelas,congrio margarita,pastas, salads,ceviche,congrio margarita,humitas,carnes,chacarero, and a list of daily specials.
empanadas-just like the Argentinos, Chilenos bake their empanadas with fillings of seafood, beef,cheese, and chicken.There are also small empanadas of seafood and srimp and cheese, not typically offered at Argentine service.These emapanadas were soft to the bite yielding a pleasurable blend of filling and dough.
Pastel de choclo-the glorious corn and meat pie is one of the best comfort foods I've experienced.I'd never tried one before but Chilenos rave about this dish, and they are correct to do so.This and all the other appetizers on their menu are not cheap, but of the highest quality ingredients and an ample amout.Locos mayos are fresh abulone in mayo with a potato salad.Oh, yes, the Chilenos do love their mayonaisse!The humita with a salad is the Chilean home-style corn tamale with a salad, and is large enough to be your entree.These are dishes to share.They also have arrollado(rolled stuffed pork) and ensalada Rusa(Chilean potato salad).
We were all given mixed salads which were beautiful, simple, and so fresh.They claim quality ingredients on their website and these are substantiated.On another visit I had palta con camaron(stuffed avocado with shrimp), a salad with split avocados in a thousand island like sauce, a dollop of mayo, and filled with succulent shrimp.This was brilliant.Ensalada de la casa, consists of chopped celery, avocado, and hearts of palm in olive oil.Great salads.
Paila Marina-The Chilean style seafood hot soup cooked in white wine was my entree the first visit, an unforgetable light yet densly flavored broth with a bounty of seafood and herbs.
Cazuela-The house soup of the day was non other than this famous dish, similar to a cozido, with vegetables and beef.Chile is known for its tantalizing soups, and Los Chilenos delivers superior flavor and execution in this area. I had cazuelas at the now closed El Parron which was given positive reviews for its cazuelas, these are better.
Congrio Margarita-King klip fillet in white sauce with shrimp, mussels, scallop & clams.I didn't get to try this, but a member of our party left no trace on their plate.The presentation was a nice touch.
On Friday night I stopped by with a craving for a completo, the Chilean style hot dog with sauerkraut , chopped tomatoes, mayonnaise & mustard.The ingredients of the dog are packed into the bun and then sealed by an ample spread of mayo, served with nice fries.It packs a mound of texture and felicity in every bite.South Americans know hot dogs, I wish they had these at the movie theater.After the avocado and shrimp salad and the Chilean hot dog I was "completo".I tried but couldn't finish.
My entertainment this weekend was an Argentine tango musician, singer, and comedian named Pepe doing his one man show called, La Peña de Pepe. A peña is a community cultural meeting place.Pepe was telling jokes, singing classics like "Volver" from the great Carlos Gardel, interracting with the expatriate crowd of 40-70 somethings, and even invited a woman from the crowd to sing the tango "Uno".The entertainment menu consisted of the shared beef and chicken dishes between Argentine and Chilean cultures like entraña, and milanesa de pollo but also asado Chilena and the Argentine milanesa pollo Napolitana.I asked for the completo, a worthy spectator eat to enjoy this intimate show.A nearby couple in their 70's, or 80's sat so low in their chairs I could hardly notice, but they looked 30 years younger with twinkling eyes when "Uno" was sung so passionately.It's a kick, and even if you can't follow along you will delight in the laughter, smiling, and interplay.
Los Chilenos has Peruvian beer,can't get the Chilean, and a nice selection of Argentine and Chilean wines.We shared a bottle the first dinner I had there which was inexpensive and fabulous, a cabernet from Chile.
The pastel del choclo is worthy of a return trip alone, but everything I had on both visits were Bakan! Quando tenemos los dientes largos(when we are hungry), Los Chilenos is a place to dine with friends in a comfortable and hospitable setting.
Palta con camaron
Pastel de choclo
8406 Topanga Canyon Blvd
Canoga Park, CA - 91304
Tel : (818) 716 -4169
Fax : (818) 716 -4169
Yes sir.Rincon Chileno and the now closed El Parron are the only other two I know of at this time.I had been to El Parron several times and remember a great review about the place by J. Gold.Rincon Chileno also is good, although at times it is inconsistent.I would have no problem going to either of our existing Chilean restaurants now, but Los Chilenos is the best.Many of my Chileno friends have said the same.Their menus are slightly different, so there are reasons to go to both, and Rincon Chileno also has the next door deli which is a major plus.