Cuisine With Claire: Spectacular Steak in Northampton
By Claire Jen '10, Staff Writer

Just down the street from Paul and Elizabeth’s (reviewed last week) in Northampton is Caminito, a brilliant Argentinean steakhouse. Everything about the place gives me the same warm, tingly feeling you get from having a sip of nice red wine (which they have plenty of). The floors are checkered black and white, the walls dark red, and on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays you dine to the tune of acoustic Spanish guitar. Located in Northampton, it makes for a great date spot — as nice as Chez Albert or Carmelina’s, but not as cliché. The space is pretty small, however, and on peak nights it gets pretty loud with full tables (speaking to the place’s popularity).

I’ve been there a few times, and each time the food has been better than the last. The first time, I made the fatal error of ordering chicken at a steakhouse, and while the pechuguitas al champignon (chicken with some sort of cream sauce and potatoes) was decent, it didn’t have the x factor that every steak I have ever ordered or sampled from their kitchen does. Each steak is grilled on their wood-fired grill, and comes out so juicy the meat literally melts in your mouth. My personal favorite, the “El Gaucho,” is a 16-ounce, thick-cut ribeye served with mashed potatoes and their veggie of the day. A close second favorite is the nine-ounce filet mignon.

Their wine list is a great accompaniment to the great steak. Most of the menu is Malbec, a specific grape native to Argentina, but I personally liked the Carmenere, a Chilean wine (granted, I know little to nothing about wine, but I do know what I like).

The entire eating experience at Caminito is wonderful, not just the steak. Of the appetizers, the esparrago con prosciutto (asparagus wrapped in prosciutto) is a great traditional item, but the brochette de camarones is the clear winner in this category. These shrimp skewers served with spicy chimmichuri sauce are also grilled on the wood-fire grill and are especially delicious over their massive Caesar salad. The Caesar salad is sized for at least two (or even better, three), with the perfect light amount of dressing and is the best way to fill up just enough to slowly enjoy your steak.

Finally, I can’t forget to mention the unique bread starter Caminito offers every table. The little bread morsels are buttery like croissants, but heavy like dinner rolls. They’re served super hot, and I’ve actually beasted through three baskets of them before sadly ruining my appetite for anything else.

Caminito is truly one of my favorite places in the Valley, and I recommend it to anyone wanting to impress a (potential) significant other or parent. Especially if you like steak, this place is definitely for you.

Issue 23, Submitted 2010-04-26 07:47:00