The bottom is ringed with a half-dozen slices of grilled carrot, squash and zucchini displayed in an alternating orange, yellow and green-tinged array. At the top of the plate rests a thick squat tower of rice with a few flecks of parsley; next to it is a row of plump, roasted potatoes. In the center, running the entire length of the plate, is the thin, often rectangular entraña, a dark-brown cut of the outside skirt steak crisscrossed with darker grill marks and topped with a nearly addictive, rustic-style chimicurri sauce, oil, bits of garlic, parsley leaves and short stems and the odd red pepper flake dot the meat. A puddle of bloody juice gathers under the vegetables and potatoes.
Imbued with expert skill at the grill, years of steakhouse experience, and a deep tradition of beef and grilling from their native Uruguay, the steaks at Saldivia’s are serious business. The entraña is the signature cut. It is the rather humble outside skirt steak – which comes from the plate section, below the rib and between the brisket and flank and whose fat has been trimmed off by the restaurant – that is always cooked to perfection, typically medium-rare. It remains juicy and remarkably tender for the cut, while being extremely flavorful, rich and beefy. If you like steak, you will love the entraña at Saldivia’s. Though no assist is necessary, the oily and garlicky house-made chimichurri sauce is an excellent accompaniment.
Additional chimichurri is available on the tables. This goes well with the tasty vegetables and potatoes, and also the crusty, airy rolls, which are complementary. It is remarkable that the 12-ounce entraña entrée is just $25.95. It remains an excellent deal. You will be hard-pressed to find many steaks as flavorful for under $50 in Houston. And, unlike the big steakhouses, the entraña here comes with sides.
In concert with the pricing for the entraña, you can find a well-made bottle of red wine – a near necessity with the steak – for under $40 at the restaurant. The wine list highlights Tannant, the star varietal of Uruguay that happens to go very well with the entraña, or any of the other steaks on the menu, for that matter.
Saldivia’s South American Grill
10850 Westheimer (between Walnut Bend and Westheimer), Houston, 77042, (713) 782-9494