The Vegetarian is Dead: Churrascaria

Last night I was treated to a culinary adventure I have never experienced- and the foodie in me was rolling her eyes and noshing with delight. Brazilian barbecue , folks– also known as churrascaria. Now maybe this is old hat to some of you, but this a whole new world to me– and it was spectacular.

Churrascaria is simply a Brazilian steakhouse or barbecue, but its also a wonderland of new world of tastes and smells and spices and the adventure of having countless waiters drop by your table with enormous skewers of sizzling, spicy meat, that they slice right onto your waiting plate. You have this little tower at your table with a green side and a red side, and when you have the green up, the parade of skewers beings, and when you need a break, you tip it to red. When you’re hungry again? Back to green. I guarantee, you are not leaving a churrascaria hungry. Also- you will have a ball. On top the that, imagine the biggest, best antipasto bar you’ve ever seen, and then go help yourself– cheeses, cold sausages, eggplant, mushrooms, artichokes, a dozen other vegetables, sauces, pickled garlic and spices, beans, fragrant rices- and bacon! Lots of bacon! I couldn’t even begin to make room to taste everything.

The part that was most surprising and delicious what how unctuous the meats were- it must be due to the open mesquite roasting on skewers until its all falling apart and melting in your mouth. Is this normal, people? Is this was all you carnivores have been keeping from me all these years? Seriously, I don’t necessarily want to know what pernil de ovelha or alcataro no alho is, but the tender, thin slices that fell on my plate were some of the finest, best seasoned food I’ve ever enjoyed. Go find one!

15 thoughts on “The Vegetarian is Dead: Churrascaria

  1. Not sure if this will make you mad or sad, but in Brazil, you can eat one of these awesome meals for about $5-6 US. Viva la meat!

  2. $5-6?! I’m moving to Brazil. Except…I’m as pale as the moon, and kind of a wimp when it comes to heat and humidity, so maybe not.

    But I do like their tiny little slices of heaven!

  3. They have one of these places in Chicago called Fogo de Chao, and I’ve been there several times. The first time was a revelation!

    We had a work event there, and I sat next to a firm partner who was a vegetarian. I mentioned that this probably wasn’t her idea of a place to go, but she was enthusiastic about the stellar salad bar, which was huge and had everything non-meat one could hope for.

    There’s also one (I forget the name) in Trolley Square in SLC. Wonderful stuff!

  4. I served my mission in Brazil and love Churrascaria!! You have to plan ahead and not eat for about 24 hours before entering the restaurant. Other faves besides the meat – beans, beans, beans, the little cheese bread puff they serve as appetisers and the fruit juices – try the passion fruit, it is amazing!!

  5. Kevin – you are so right. Fogo de Chao, although I have only eaten at the one in Beverly Hills on many occasions, it is the best, the absolute best!

  6. Tracy, I’m glad you discovered this. So fun, right? I had it for the first time when I was on vacation in Brazil, and you know what my favorite was? Chicken hearts! I know, but in a Churrascaria, they’re delicious. I had a friend replicate this at a bar-b-q later, and I think the seasoning is just lots of salt and pureed garlic.

    An embarrassing end note, one of the restaurants in brazil didn’t have the little wooden towers, instead they had these paper “coins” with a picture of a pig on them that you turned upside down when you didn’t want anymore. I took the paper pig coin with me and the security guards at the airport found it and made fun of me in the metal detector line….

  7. We have a Fogo de Chao in Dallas! Yum! It’s my husbands favorite resturaunt- why he couldn’t pick a favorite place we could afford to eat at more often is beyond me- but it’s worth it! Even if it is only once a year, maybe!

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