The only ingredient chimichurri and kimchi have in common is garlic. But these two condiments — chimichurri from Argentina and kimchi from Korea — come together perfectly on the menu at the year-old Chimi and Kimchi Grill in Coral Springs.
Owners Cesar and Mia Warley are originally from Buenos Aires. Her family immigrated to Argentina from Korea when she was a child, but they never forgot the food of their homeland. Mia Warley is a master of both cuisines, and despite the name of the restaurant, Argentine and Korean are mostly kept separate. Both are exceptional.
The Chimi side of the menu starts, of course, with delicious beef or chicken empanadas ($2.25), as well as provoleta, grilled provolone cheese topped with tomato and oregano. It's perfect with the basket of bread.
Crispy breaded beef steak or chicken breast ($11.95) is served with chimichurri and a choice of side: fries, mashed potatoes, white rice, green salad or kimchi. Order the same dish in true Argentine style with two fried eggs on top — a caballo ($13.50).
The best way to try the Argentine side of menu is with the parrillada sampler ($16.95), a huge collection of grilled meats. The restaurant uses only Angus beef. The platter includes a short rib, skirt steak, chorizo, blood sausage and sweetbread. You can substitute a chicken breast of pork chop for any of the other meats. The blood sausage — morcilla, as the Argentines call it — was particularly tasty, and didn't seem to contain much in the way of rice filler.
From the Kimchi side of the menu, we ordered mandoo ($7.95), nine pan-fried dumplings filled with pork, beef, tofu, cabbage and onions. I wish the filling had a bit more garlic. Presentation is particularly important on the Asian side of the menu, and here the dumplings are served on a white plate decorated with flowers made of radishes and scallions.
Two of us ordered Korean food, and we were delighted when a big selection of banchan arrived. Banchan are the small bowls of vegetables that accompany every Korean meal. We got bean-sprout salad, cabbage kimchi, radish kimchi, fish cake, cucumbers and sweet beans. Cesar Warley, our server, kept on asking if we wanted refills of each dish as we finished them. You will not leave here hungry.
Bulgogi ($14.95), made with flap meat, was a tender, oversize serving of beef in rich, soy-based sauce. It was presented in an interesting, round, white serving dish with a long handle. Spicy squid ($14.95), stir-fried and served with vegetables and spicy sauce, was just as good as the beef. Squid can be tough, but not at Chimi and Kimchi.
Desserts are made in house, and I heartily recommend the vanilla flan ($3.95) and bread pudding ($3.95).
At this point in its life, Chimi and Kimchi is very much a mom-and-pop operation, with the wife (Mia) doing the cooking and the husband (Cesar) doing the greeting and waiting on tables. It's a small enough restaurant that it works. With that in mind, be sure to make a reservation so that the Warleys know whom to expect.
10334 W. Sample Road, Coral Springs
Hours: Lunch and dinner Tuesday-Saturday
Credit cards: All major
Bar: Beer and wine
Sound level: Conversational
Outside smoking: No
For kids: Highchairs
Wheelchair accessible: Yes
Parking: Free lot