“Skirt steak, sweetbreads, chicken, matambre,” the server intoned as my eyes glazed over while she recited a roster of sandwiches. “What about chivito?” I inquired after the Uruguayan national sandwich. “Yes, we have, it’s really good, you can get it with chicken or vacio,” she replied adding that the flap steak is butterflied.
“Para mi, vacio,” I replied wondering what sort of joyless individual would possibly disgrace the country’s national sandwich by ordering it with poultry. While I waited for lunch I perused the menu of El Chivito De Oro noting that the national sandwich was nowhere to be found. Secret sandwiches are catnip to a certain type of food writer, and I am that type. I was pretty hungry, so I was quite pleased to see that the rosy colored beef was topped with ham, mozzarella, bacon, and a fried egg, all cradled in a puffy brioche style bun that held a base layer of lettuce and tomato.
“I should probably take my watch and ring off,” I thought to myself as I removed the toothpick and went in for a bite. It was salty, juicy, beefy, smoky, and slightly sweet thanks to the bun. I could easily see how the chivito could fuel an empire, a neighborhood, or at least a food coma. It even inspired a book “Chivito: The King of Steak Sandwiches.” I only wish it were served in more restaurants in Queens and New York City.
Even though I am well aware that chivo means kid goat in Spanish for some reason I’ve had it in my head for at least a decade that El Chivito De Oro meant “little golden piggie. It turns out that it means “little golden goat.” You can read it more about the story behind the name in this excellent article from Explore Parts Unknown. As for me, I’m going to go split some wood, so I can get ready for my next chivito.
El Chivito De Oro, 84-02 37th Ave., Jackson Heights, 718-424-0600