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Restaurant Review: Choripan Argentine Grill

Miriam Bowers Abbott Miriam Bowers Abbott Restaurant Review: Choripan Argentine GrillChoripan Argentine Grill offers gluten-free cuisine featuring empanadas, sandwiches and more - All photos by Susan Post
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Choripan Argentine Grill had a quiet opening on the northwest side. As its name suggests, Argentinian fare is on the menu, and it’s not just Argentinian: Choripan is a health-conscious establishment, too. It serves from a menu that is all gluten-free. 

Gluten-free Argentinian is quite a distinctive combo. It might be easy for a restaurant to be gluten-free if it served only salads or kebabs, or even rice-based dishes. But Choripan devotes big sections of its menu to sandwiches and empanadas. Wheat flour (a primary gluten source) is typically a required ingredient for both sandwich bread and empanada pastry. But not at Choripan.

The welcoming proprietor-host at the smallish cafe divulges that tapioca flour is his reliable go-to, and he bakes his own bread. His recipe makes a light, airy bun for the house Choripan sandwich ($9.99), which features house-made chorizo. It probably shouldn’t be a surprise to learn that someplace that bakes its own bread also makes its own sausage. You can tell the quality from the first bite. It’s more than a fatty slab; it’s savory sustenance. In the sandwich, the sausage is teamed with a chimichurri sauce that takes a backseat along with with lettuce, onions and tomato.

The Choripan Sandwich

The Suprema ($9.99) is a sandwich that holds a chicken breast that’s been breaded in a magical gluten-free shell too. The crackling coating makes for a nice, golden sweater around a flattened piece of poultry. The shell doesn’t seem quite as crispy-crunchy as a conventional coating, but the chicken inside has a natural, juicy quality. The sandwich is amped up with a chipotle sauce that tastes something like a fiery, vengeful cocktail sauce. It’s okay, but nowhere as nice as the house Choripan sandwich. 

The Suprema Sandwich

The empanada scene has earned lots of raves from guests. There’s a reason for that. While the gluten-free pockets are maybe more tender but less flakey than conventional versions, they retain all the fried goodness expected from a classic empanada. The thing that carries them over-the-top for anybody – not just the gluten-free crowd – is the fillings. Quality-wise, the empanada guts are just generally top-notch at Choripan, in a thoughtful, generous fashion. 

So consider the Carne Empanada ($3.49). Inside the nicely-sized, fresh-fried shell, is a mix of coarse ground meat. It’s not that mealy, long-stewing, indiscernible stuff you might have elsewhere: it’s beefy beef, seasoned with oregano, paprika and garlic, and accented with bits of soft onion and potato. 

Carne Empanada

The Chorizo version ($3.49) delivered more of the aforementioned lean housemade sausage, this time teamed with soft sweet potatoes, scallions and garlic. 

Chorizo Empanada

A Tuna Empanada ($3.49) was ordered, just out of curiosity. It sounds… well, awful. The fact that it was actually terrific was such a shock that it is now the official favorite empanada. The menu description mentioned peppers and hard boiled egg in the mix, so the expectation was for some sort of mayo-heavy tuna salad mess. In fact, the empanada was packed with dense, flaky tuna laden with chunks of egg and veggies. It comes across as surprisingly likable. 

Tuna Empanada

Bone Broth ($5.99) makes an appearance on the menu, along with kombucha and yerba mate tea. The broth has been trending in the health-oriented community. According to the internet, it’s supposed to do a lot of things for you, possibly to reduce inflammation. A cup is nice, warm. It tastes like a natural beef broth, not too salty, not too strong. It hits a comforting note. 

Bone Broth

You’ll find Choripan Argentine Grill at 5927 Karric Square Dr. in Dublin. For more information, visit choripan.co.

All photos by Susan Post

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