Dining

Review: Texas de Brazil

This place is a meat lover’s heaven. No fewer than a dozen premium meats are served to diners in sequence and carved at the table. It’s a typical Brazilian churrascaria (shi-has-ka-ree-a), where servers (gauchos) visit each table carrying a large skewer of meat to slice. Diners are equipped with small tongs to catch the slices as they are carved off. Churrascarias also include magnificent salad bars, where everything from fresh veggies to classic Brazilian fish specialties are served.

As you might have guessed, it’s an all-you-can-eat concept, and a great value for those with a healthy appetite. The price tag is $43.95 for adults, and half that for kids and salad bar-only guests. Texas de Brazil is part of a chain, with nearly half of its three dozen or so spots in Texas and Florida. In decor, it’s quite attractive, done up in Rio reds and black with large chandeliers and possibly the biggest floral arrangement you’ll ever see on the salad bar.

While the succulent, fat-laced meats are definitely the stars of the show here, don’t make the 50-item salad bar an afterthought. There are some big winners offered, including the traditional Brazilian cod dish, moqueca (mo-kek-ah). The chunks of tender fish come swimming in a broth of coconut milk, butter, onion, tomatoes and cilantro delicious, especially over rice. Another must-eat is the feijoada (fay-zhwadah), a pork and black bean stew over rice; you’ll have to dig into the pot for some of the stew meat.

Those were my faves, but if you think you can indulge in more and still have room for your money’s worth of meat, pick up a few slices of caramelized pineapple; the large medallions are heated in sugar and cut paper-thin. The smoked salmon here also was remarkably tasty, as were the buttery mushroom caps and tangy, marinated caper berries.

As for the meats, you should say yes to a piece of everything because it is all worthy of indulging. That may be due, in part, to a coating of rock salt before grilling—and to the high fat content of the cuts. While some of the meats are naturally lean, like sirloin, everything that came off the skewers was glistening with fatty flavor. I still have my top picks, though.

The classic Brazilian picanha (pe-kan-yah) was stellar. This cut of meat is known as the sirloin cap, and here, it’s folded over and looks like a giant ‘C’ on the skewer, from which it is sliced and served medium to medium rare, as most meats here are. Also deserving a shout out are the brisket (plain and barbecued), the filet (plain and bacon wrapped) and the beef ribs, which are boneless and cut from the uber-fatty and flavorful short rib meat.

Among the pork dishes, my favorite was the bone-in rib, and among the lamb cuts, the baby lamb chops (although they were a little overdone for my taste). This may surprise you, but ranking right up there with the red meats are the Parmesan Drumettes, deliciously breaded drumsticks coated in parmesan that were fat and succulent.

There is a tempting dessert tray, which is not included in the price. And if you strategize your churrascaria experience correctly, you shouldn’t have room for another thing. Plus, a few delicious sides on the table are constantly replenished for you to enjoy with the meal: garlic mashed potatoes, fried plantains and scrumptious, cheesy tapioca puffs. Bon appetit!

amuse bouche 
the scene | Elegant Brazilian specialty restaurant
the prices |$43.95 for all-you-can-eat buffet and carved meats; $22 for children and buffet-only
the chef | Jarvis Putman
the favorites | Smoked Salmon, Moqueca, Feijoada, Picanha, Parmesan Drumettes, Pork Ribs, Barbecue Brisket, Beef Short Ribs, Flank Steak

food • ŏ • lō • gy
picanha | The popular ‘Brazilian steak’ is hard to find here because butchers incorporate this section of the sirloin into other cuts.
caper berries | Hailing from the caper bush, these are the fruit, while capers are the unopened buds. Both are served pickled.
rock salt | Salt that comes from underground mines. For use in food, it must be purified.

1137 st. louis galleria st. | 314.352.8800

Pictured above: Brazilian picanha with imported heart of palm, jasmine rice, feijoada, farofa, in-house dressings and chimichurri

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