Meat on Swords, Franchise Edition
Brazilian BBQ Review: Texas de Brazil
[Locations in Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Illinois, Colorado, Nevada etc.]
Texas de Brazil does not hide its intent. Whether it’s the walk-in, all-glass wine cellar, the room devoted to the salad bar, or the ridiculous nomenclature formed by a brutal, half-translated collision of the world’s two most meat-centric cultures, a diner knows what they are climbing into: a hot tub full of meat. This chain represents the ultimate in indulgence, making the best type of meat there is (rare, salty, on a sword) and then letting you eat as much as you possibly can without so much as shifting in your seat. In order to cut their losses, they try and stuff the salad bar full of tasty sushi, cheese and (surprisingly) salad, but the true pro knows how to pace him- or herself. And, of course, you must avoid the $12 martinis, because, let’s face it, after a good two pounds of meat you won’t be feeling that martini even if it was 95% Patron Silver.
It occurs to me that I need to write a primer on Brazilian BBQ: how it works, why it is special among meat venues, and why it is somewhat dangerous to live close to one. But to go over the basics quickly: you get to eat as much meat as you want. The meat is delivered to you on huge skewers by masterful carvers. And there is a single price. At Texas de Brazil, it’s high: about $50 per person for dinner. But I’ve been to some very good Brazillian BBQ’s that only charged $20 or so, albeit with much more limited salad bars and slower meat turnaround.
The food never disappoints at Texas de Brazil. Top Sirloin is the specialty, and it delivers a heavenly and salty zing. The other steaks are tasty, including the filet. The standard is medium rare, so get ready to have some blood on your plate. I’m a fiend for lamb (ever since my time in australia), so the chops did not disappoint. Spicy chicken legs and turkey-wrapped bacon round out the other Brazilian BBQ classics, and every one is worth putting on your plate.
The best part is the service – the swordsmen listen to you. If they bring a top sirloin that’s medium rare, don’t be afraid to ask for rare. A crimson-stained sabre will quickly find its way to you. Having somehow missed them for several rounds, I demanded sausage, and soon was greeted with not one but two frank-wielding servers. Sometimes, depending on when you go, things will not be available, including the ribs and the fish cart. The former is a big loss, the latter, not so much. But get there at 8:30 on a Saturday night and you won’t have to worry about missing anything.
What’s most American about this place is that they’ve franchised a small cultural form of gluttony, magnifying it into a plastic behemoth, the ultimate extension of Chili’s, Ponderosa, Bob Evans, Cici’s Pizza. It’s what we dreamed of, and frankly, it makes me question our imagination somewhat. But I can’t argue with the meat, and if you only go once every 18 months or so, it’s sure to be one of the highlights of your carnivorous calendar without inflicting too much damage. After all, you probably eat as much terrible crap by dipping your Awesome Blossom into Chili’s Queso Dip… not that I’ve ever done that.