La Rural, an Argentine bistro named for the annual livestock show in Buenos Aires, looks a lot like its predecessor, Pampa. Same imported Argentine grill (where flames never touch the meat). Same long room with candles leading to a romantically glowing garden. It’s quiet on Monday—the new incarnation awaiting discovery—and we’re sharing just-baked empanadas, two big half-moons to a portion. The corn version and one oozing mozzarella caprese are the favorites. We’re slightly miffed the advertised sweetbreads are missing from the $45 parrillada for two (grilled sausages, fabulous skirt steak, wonderful blood sausage, chorizo, and really tough shell steak, as it often is in Buenos Aires), which comes heaped on a hibachi-like warming pan. We’ll barely make a dent. It comes with iceberg-lettuce salad and a side of our choice; the cauliflower croquettes make us wish we’d skipped the empanadas. The Road Food Warrior is pleased with a meaty $21 rib eye and excellent fries ($5). Tomato, eggplant, and olives make a lively chorus for halibut, the fish of the day. But how about some less-pricey wines to go with these gently priced offerings? Bread pudding with dulce de leche ice cream definitely does not need a puddle of sweet sauce. So what’s new? Modish cocktails. More salads and pastas. Plus, on the 29th of each month only, gnocchi plus half an hour of professional tango. No need to bring cash anymore if you have Amex.
768 Amsterdam Ave., nr. 97th St.; 212-749-2929