Sunday, April 18, 2010

Rex, La Barra, Uruguay

After a few days of fine dining in Uruguay, including our sublime lunch at El Garzon as well as excellent whole grilled fish on the beach at La Huella in José Ignacio where we were staying, we decided that our final dinner in the country would be a meal of chivitos, a regional steak-based sandwich. A quintessentially Uruguayan dish, the chivito is the national riff on the universal idea of packing carbs and protein into a meal that fits in your hand.

On the recommendation of our hotel staff, we made the short drive from José Ignacio to La Barra to go to Rex, a diner whose marquee promised us "The Best Chivitos in Town." Keeping things simple, we both ordered the Chivito Completo, which somehow crams five different forms of protein into a single dish. When our plates arrived, we were able to enjoy the architectural assembly of our sandwiches.

Each starts with a solid base of churrasco, a thin cut of steak grilled until juicy and tender, before being layered with two forms of pork (both pancetta and ham, in case omitting one or the other would be negligent). A generous layer of melted provolone binds the three meats together, and a fried egg tops them off. A few slices of lettuce and tomato, a dollop of mayo, and a sesame seed bun round out Rex's version of this national dish.

We washed our meal down with a large frosty bottle of Patricia, a decent Uruguayan lager which complemented our salty meal nicely. Were they the best chivitos in town? Well, they were the only ones we tried, and judging by our empty plates and happy faces, they earned our stamp of approval.

Rex is located on the main drag of Ruta 10 at km 161 in La Barra, Uruguay. You can call them at 00598-42-771504 or visit their website for more information.

Locals, how did we do? Is there a better chivito in the area? Where do you go for the best chivito in Uruguay?