Argentinian Steaks + Empandas At Buenos Aires | East Village, NYC

Cheap meats at Buenos Aires are the real deal

Eating at a quality steakhouse no longer requires having an expense account. If your company is tightening the purse strings, head to the East Village's Buenos Aires for a casual, affordable alternative to the highfalutin spots uptown.

Generously cuts steaks and value-priced Malbec draw a chatty, mostly South American crowd to the restaurant every night. Determined to re-create the standards of Argentina's myriad parillas, the owners (both natives of the restaurant's namesake city) procure grass-fed beef from farms in Uruguay and Nebraska. The cow's natural diet makes for meat high in omega-3s and lower in fat than traditional American grain-fed cattle.

Start with fresh-baked beef empanadas ($6) before diving into the luscious, platter-filling steaks. Charred on the outside and buttery on the inside, one can easily feed two people, especially when complemented by thick-cut garlic-and-parsley fries ($6) and the vinegary chimichurri found on every table. Though Argentineans prefer the chewier vacio, or flap, cut ($8), we like the shell, or bife de chorizo (pictured, $25), which saves our jaws a workout. For fans of lean meat, the entraƱa, or skirt steak ($24), is a ridiculously long cut worth sharing.

Order everything a punto (medium; grass-fed beef is best at this temperature) and wash it down with a bottle of the spiced cherry-flavored 2007 Bodegas Altos Las Hormigas Malbec ($32), a serious steal.

Buenos Aires, 513 E. Sixth St. (between aves. A and B); 212-228-2775 or