Sunday, May 29, 2011

Restaurant Review: Texas de Brazil

Tonight, Stacey and I celebrated our wedding anniversary by dining at one of our favorite restaurants - Texas de Brazil. The following is a review of the restaurant and a "how to" approach to dining at a Brazilian churrascaria.

The Ambiance
As you enter the restaurant you pass an outdoor statue-torch with a vibrant flame flowing out of it. You enter the waiting area to leather seats and are greeted by an attractive, presumably Brazilian, hostess. You are then seated by one of the managers in a dimly, but adequately, lit dining room. Immediately you see the gauchos walking about with skewers of meat. Below is a photo of one the gauchos holding the signature special - picanha.

The Dining Experience
Texas de Brazil is more than style it has substantial substance. They boast no less than fourteen different types of meat. All of which the gauchos bring to your table on a sword-like skewer. Additionally, they have a well stocked salad bar ranging from grilled mushrooms to sushi and other specialty items. They also have an extensive wine list ranging in price from very affordable to what I would call "once in a lifetime" wines. You are waited on by a team of wait staff including the gauchos. All the beef is generally cooked over flames to a medium rare. The chicken and pork are cooked through, but not dry.

How to Eat at a Churrascaria
A churrascaria, or Brazilian steakhouse, like Texas de Brazil is essentially an all you can eat dining experience. My first piece of advice is to eat a normal breakfast and lunch. Do not think that you will starve yourself all day and be able to consume more meat. It doesn't work.

The table will have a circular tab, red on one side and green on the other. This is your signal to the gauchos that yes (green) you want more meat or no (red) you are taking a break.
Pace yourself. This is a marathon and not a race. On your first visit you should try at least one of everything to get a feel for it. You definitely have to have at least three slices of the picanha. This cut of meat has a salty, garlicy flavor that just melts in your mouth. I liked it so much I passed on dessert to have one more serving.

Don't over indulge on the salad bar. Unless you are a vegetarian or vegan ( to which I have to ask why you chose to go in the first place) do NOT load up on the salad bar. This is all about the meat! Be the carnivore you were meant to be.
At some point you are going to be overwhelmed by the offers for more meat. Don't give in. Instead, simply turn the tab over to red and pace yourself. You will not insult the gaucho if you say no. If you find a meat you like more than the others tell the wait staff and they will alert the gauchos to take care of you. Tonight our waitress alerted the picanha gaucho that I was wanting more and he even came by when my tab was red.

Our Experience
We had a great time. We paired our meal with a Peter Lehman 2008 Shiraz. We also had the garlic mashed potatoes and fried bananas. Needless to say tonight was not a night to count points. I ended the night with a Fuente made Hemingway Short Story paired with a tumbler of Pyrat rum while enjoying the late Spring breeze while on my deck while Calvin and Hobbes played.

I have to conclude by pointing out that this dinner experience was made possible by the Christmas gift card given to us by my brother and sister-in-law, Thor and Cindy. To them a hearty thanks!

To you, happy dining!

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