By Arielle and Megan
Black leather-like placemats, their corners embossed with the letters S-U-R and the silhouetted face of a cow, rest on white table cloths. The chairs are of a dark mahogany color and the steak knives are large. The water glasses are not cylindrical like the traditional American ones; they are inverted cones on thick stems.
Huntington village’s Sur Argentinian Steakhouse – a relatively new village establishment, having arrived in February 2014 after the departure of Canterbury Ales – is what co-owner Juan Reartes called “an authentic Argentinian place.”
As an Argentina native, who came to the United States about a decade and a half ago, he can say that.
The food is amazing – in the truest sense of the word, as it was used before it was overused and lost all colloquial significance.
The Camarones Al Ajillo ($9) – shrimp in garlic sauce, topped with a bruchetta-like square of herb toast – is an appetizer as bold in flavor as it is in color.
The Muzzarela Fresca y Tomates ($11) is a tower of pure white and vibrant red, flecked with green and flagged with a full basil leaf, set in a pool of extra virgin olive oil.
The Empanadas ($3 each) are perfectly cooked and available in several varieties. The Spinach and Feta Cheese Empanada is particularly impressive.
Our waitress, Josephine, was proof that a good waitress can bring a dining experience from great to incredible. The best waitress either of us has ever encountered, she was attentive without hovering and seemed to know what we needed even before we did. We agreed that she would probably make just as great a friend.
When we were finished with our appetizers, she brought our three massive entrees.
Josephine comes to the restaurant on her day off for the Pollo Provolone – it’s that good. Sauteed chicken breast decorated with provolone cheese and spinach, the Pollo Provolone ($24) is served in a shallot and broccoli cream sauce. Garnished with a sprig of Rosemary, the dish looks like a layered mountain of stacked chicken, cheese and greens.
One of the night’s specials, a 32-oz. Porter House steak ($42) with a side of Shrimp Scampi, is beautiful. The four shrimp sit in an orange-hued sauce that wraps around the steak on the square plate. The steak is marked with a rosemary garnish, as well.
The Canelones Mixtos ($19) are a colorful conglomerate of corn, spinach and ricotta cheese in a tomato and béchamel sauce, rolled into two crepes. A lasagna-esque dish, the Canelones are an option for those not as fond of steak, chicken and fish.
Sur offers an extensive dessert menu, including such traditional options and elements as flan and dulce de leche. The Chaja ($9) – a sponge cake filled with layers of whipped cream, peaches, dulce de leche and walnuts – is dressed in an apparent avalanche of crumbled merengue.
The Panqueques de Manzana ($12) brings to the table a waiter named Davis, who pours a small flute of rum onto a crepe lined with circular apple slices and sets it on fire. Davis then adds two scoops of vanilla ice cream to the center of the plate. The alcohol burns out, but the taste of the rum remains strong.
Some of Sur’s menu was imported from another restaurant under the ownership of part of the trio that owns Sur: Tango Argentinian Steakhouse in Central Islip. But the menu items are prepared differently here, Reartes said. Everything at Sur is made with fresh vegetables, no frozen produce, and Reartes created dishes like Sur’s rack of lamb specifically for the restaurant.
The menu allows diners what Reartes says is the same sort of meal they would get in Argentina – a “big piece of meat,” Chimichurri sauce, a glass of wine.
“It’s amazing how many paellas, skirt steak, and shrimp with garlic sauce we sell,” he said, citing the three as the most popular dishes on the menu.
Though dinner options are pricey, lunch options are not. Sur offers a $10 lunch special Monday through Saturday, from 12-4 p.m., with such menu items as garlic shrimp with pasta, an 11-oz. shell steak, grilled salmon and ravioli.
Reartes, who also worked as a chef at Tango, now owns Sur with business partners Nicolas Kalaitzis and Osvaldo Sanchez.
In order to keep the food’s flavor and decoration consistent, Reartes spends much of his time in the kitchen.
“I’m behind the line doing everything,” he said. “We just opened; I cannot leave the kitchen… I need to try everything, I need to see everything.”
Sur Argentinian Steakhouse
314 New York Avenue
Huntington, NY 11743
Atmosphere: Upscale, sleek, sophisticated
Cuisine: authentic Argentinian
Hours: Monday-Wednesday: 12-10 p.m.; Thursday: 12-11p.m.; Friday-Saturday: 12 p.m.-12 a.m.; Sunday: 12-10 p.m.