I finally made it to El Tango, the Argentine-style steakhouse that opened in July in Great Neck. In terms of calories from meat per dollar, this place is a winner. But it lacks finesse: The decor is perfunctory, the service haphazard.
The dishes we ordered were big but, for the most part, undistinguished. A starter of grilled provolone with prosciutto turned out to be a shallow bowl filled with molten cheese concealing shards of ham. This would have been a nice filling for a grilled-cheese sandwich; I didn't know what to make of it as an appetizer.
My friend ordered the pork chops ($12.95), pounded thin and tasting mostly of salt (not an entirely bad thing). I had the "Mixed Grill American Style," an enormous array of grilled meats served on a little tabletop brazier, warmed by a candle ($26.50). The skirt steak and "boneless chicken leg" were quite good, the short ribs and sausage OK, the lamb chop and chicken breast criminally overcooked. Fries had no taste; mashed potatoes very nice.
The meal was somewhat redeemed by dessert, panqueques de dulce de leche. I love to order "panqueques," because it's only when you say it aloud—PAN CAKE CAYS—that you realize what they are. These crepes had been rolled round dulce de leche (caramel spread) and then sprinkled with sugar and brulee-ed. Because of all the meat I'd consumed, I wasn't able to finish the panqueques, which is a real shame.
El Tango Steakhouse is located at 66 Middle Neck Rd., Great Neck, 516-466-0556.