I will give up what I think is the best little Argentine Grill in Glendale and how I found it. Back in the day when I was a cube dweller housed in a cube at Lexington and Brand I lived to escape at lunch. Glendale as a ton of great places for lunch, some have even better dinner service. My boss at the time loved to eat out and we could always con “ET” to taking us somewhere. He introduced me to El Morfi in 1994. I have been a regular customer ever since.
I have never had a bad meal there. Argentine cuisine is heavily influenced by the Italian and Portuguese immigrants that settled there. The flavors are intense and “green” with just the right amount of heat. Argentina is pretty renowned for its beef and El Morfi really has what it takes to quell your red meat desires when they arise.
Chimichurri is the condiment of choice in Argentina. It is garlicky, very green with just a little hint of heat from some red pepper. It is used as a dipping sauce, marinade or straight up condiment on grilled meat, chicken (and in my house at least, fish). El Morfi does the best chimichurri I have found. I have yet to find a recipe to duplicate it, which is fine as they will sell you a jar to take home. I never leave without bringing a jar home.
Price…this can be a deal breaker for someone on a budget. The lunch specials are competitive with everyone else on Brand Blvd. Speed for most items will fit within “lunch hour”. Dinner prices are moderate, certainly won’t break the bank. The term value comes to mind when you combine price, friendly service, great food and their charming brick covered wall atmosphere.
Dinner out Saturday with the fam after the Artists Reception at the Brand Library brought us to El Morfi. With a family this place has enough variety on the “Italian Side” to keep the picky eaters happy and not break the bank. My boys opted for the pizza.
They swore it is the second best they have ever had. (Their favorite still requires a passport stamp and I’m not falling for that trick). I have to admit it is a really good pizza. The crust is a good cross between thin and “regular” where you get good crispy bits with a little chew still left. Not overly sauced, and full of Herby things in the cheese. Not a kids fast food style at all, certainly a grown up pizza that we both can agree on.
I went for the Churassco steak and fries. It is a simply and lightly marinated then grilled NY strip with roasted bell pepper and pepperconcini on top for a garnish. On the side they have this wonderful garlic/onion/mushroom marinade bit to cut through the richness of the beef. Of course I alternate bites with some dipped in the chimichurri they keep filled for you table-side just to make sure I get a compete fix.
My wife had the chicken filled ravioli. (No pic as she has this thing about not having her food shot, no matter the reason). She liked it…said it tasted like mild chicken sausage in the filling. It was served on top of a healthy smear of marinara sauce and topped with an Alfredo sauce.
All told adding in an appetizer for the boys, a half carafe of wine, soft drinks, a jar of chimichurri for the road and tip we walked out for $85. Not bad for a family of 4.
I hope I have whet your appetites…head out to El Morfi at lunch and enjoy yourself. (Certainly beats having to wait forever for a table or try to find parking at Americana or the Galleria).
DETAILS: El Morfi 241 N Brand Blvd, Glendale CA 91204 818/547-4420. They validate parking for the “Orange Garage” behind the Restaurant at Orange and California Ave.
pics by me, they don’t get bigger but you can find the huge version on flickr.