The steak sandwich: straightforward yet flavorful and incredibly satisfying, a winning combination created simply by marrying a piece of perfectly cooked steak with bread. In Miami, we find the cheese steak, the Cuban palomilla sandwich, the more complex Uruguayan chivito, and the Argentine steak sandwich, among others. For today's face-off, we compare the steak sandwiches at two Argentine bakeries/markets in Coral Gables.
On one side is old-timer Graziano's Market. On the other, a relative newcomer to Graziano's downtown Gables turf: Patagonia. While Graziano's is bigger and has a much larger selection of wines and prepared foods, Patagonia holds prime real estate on Miracle Mile and seems to be doing well since it opened some three months ago. So let's get to it.
Graziano's Market Steak Sandwich ($8.99)
French bread, steak, lettuce, tomato
Pros: The French bread encasing the cuadril (tri-tip) in this generously sized sandwich is nicely crisp and seems to be heated on the grill. The heap of accompanying fries is a nice bonus.
Cons: Steak cooked well-done makes for a dry sandwich, particularly when it's served on bare bread. Though the lettuce and tomato create some contrasting textures, the sandwich could use a little extra something for moisture and flavor. Next time, I'll specify the cooking temperature.
Patagonia Steak Sandwich ($7.99)
French bread, steak, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise
Pros: The entraña (skirt steak) is infused with that right-off-the-grill flavor. A just-right amount of mayo on the bread runs in with the steak's juices and the tomato in each bite. Cooked medium, the thinner cut of meat is tender and juicy.
Cons: The bread could've been crisper. Though the sandwich is a good size, it's slightly smaller than at Graziano's and it's also served solo.
Verdict: We're giving this one to the new kid on the block. Patagonia's steak sandwich, while smaller, is big on flavor thanks to meat cooked to the right temperature and a touch of mayo. To be fair, having a choice in the cut of meat at Patagonia is an advantage, but Graziano's could have fared better had its steak not been so well-done.
2301 Galiano St., Coral Gables
244 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables
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