For the past several years, my friends and I have gathered to go to a Brazilian steakhouse to celebrate Meat Fest. We have varied the venue, as there are several in town. Starting before we went to Magical Dining venues, we changed it to this time of year and found it easier to kill two birds this way. Ironically, we chose this location because someone, who did not show, wanted to go there. Either way, it was fun and filling, and then I was sick the next day.
This year I planned. I ate very little earlier in the day. I got my salad bar items to eat with the meat that arrived, as opposed to all at once beforehand. I got a bowl of mushrooms to go with the fare to tame the salt content. I did not consume as much meat this year as I have in the past. I even made sure to eat the palate cleansers. Yet, I was still ill the next day.
I can safely say, I did get the meat sweats, but I did not have the meat shakes.
So, Texas de Brazil, like all the churrascaria (Brazilian steakhouse) I have been to, gives you access to their salad bar with many unique options. They also have some hot dishes that you can get, such as au gratin potatoes and lobster bisque, both of which were highly complimented by the people in my party that had them. As I mentioned, I got a bowl of hot mushrooms in au jus to accompany my meats.
What they do here that they do not do at all churrascaria is give you Brazilian cheese bread. Here, they are basically cheese puffs that have a more bread exterior than pastry and are filled with a denser cheese. This is one of my favorite reasons to go to this location because they are flavorful, but not filling. A great way to start the meal. They also place dishes of caramelized bananas and garlic mashed potatoes. I will get back to those because they seem to be underutilized and they do serve a purpose.
I arrived and met my party early, and it turned out a last-minute addition was not able to make it. We went on a Saturday night, so it was bound to be busy. When the time for our reservation arrived, we were just over 50% and they seated us anyway. In the past, they have made us wait until our entire party showed. Once we were seated, three more members arrived, and we all sat comfortably. The restaurant was a bit noisy, but this is expected of an open-aired room that size with nothing to absorb the sound. Usually, I would be upset at the noise level, but I was able to hear everyone without issue and held several conversations without asking anyone to repeat themselves.
The cheese bread was placed, drinks were ordered, and we waited. I would like to note at this point that soft drinks are Coke products in 8.5 oz. aluminum bottles (the average can is 12 oz.). I ordered an Arnold Palmer… again. Once the drinks arrived, several people started going to the salad bar. Three of us stayed behind to wait for the last two in our party. As the rest of the party was stuck in traffic, and we waited a long time, the few remaining that didn’t go yet went to the bar to gather our accompaniments. When we returned to our seat, the last members of our 11-person party had arrived. By this point, they brought the palate cleansers in a few dishes scattered across our extended table.
For those that have never been, I will explain the process, and it should make sense of how I got the meat sweats. They use a colored-disk system. Red means stop (how the disk is initially presented on the table) and green means go. You leave the disk on green until you want to take a break and then flip to red. Simple system. When you have many people at your table, if there is one green showing, they will keep coming and ask if anyone wants anything. Once the green shows on the table, there is a non-stop barrage of meats that are served by Gauchos. They have long skewers of beef, chicken, pork, or lamb in many different cuts and styles. As they circle the tables, carrying their large, almost sword-length knives, they ask how many cuts you want or the temperature of the meat. If they slice a particular cut, you are supposed to assist them in getting the meat to your plate with a pair of tongs each person receives as part of their utensils. If the meat does not need to be sliced, like the lamb chops, they drop them directly on your plate. The other thing to consider is all the meat is heavily salted.
This time around, not only did we all not get individual disks, but they didn’t arrive as often as usual. One of my friends is on a keto diet and was only eating the meats. He waited, and waited, and waited some more for someone to stop. He even had a fresh skewer of sausages pass him by with two green disks next to him. I was amused by this and started slapping, which got the attention of one of the floor managers, and he got someone to our table instantly. We also had issues with getting water refills after some time. Mind you, this was towards the winding down portion of our meal, but it was still a bit unsettling.
Remember how I mentioned the size of the soft drinks, well, you get charged per bottle, and they are small, and the salt is plenty. My beverage, unbeknownst to me, had free refills. I was happy to drink the water though, and this was one of the few times I needed it.
The only other thing I noticed was a lack of certain meats not showing. I wasn’t sure what they were, but there were a few missing from our cycle. Not sure if they were not serving that day or if it just went by us. Either way, I ate just enough, and any more would have been a bad idea. I did get two lamb chops (my favorite) and a slice of mutton (sheep leg). The meat was so fatty on the outside, though, that I only got one bite out of the slab. It was good, but a large plate hog. I also got a rare piece of flank steak that was so tender, I had a hard time getting it to stay on my fork. The pork tenderloin, which I warned my friend would be dry before I got it, was precisely what I expected. Moist for what it was, it was still too dry to eat in my opinion. I was eating items off my addition plate I filled with salad bar items through the course of my meal, but most of those were also salted. At this point, I decided to try the intermezzos. I alternated between the bananas and potatoes because that was what they were there for. If you are eating nothing except meats, you need a break, and if that break is also salted, you need another alternative. The palate cleansers did precisely what they were supposed to, complimenting the meal perfectly.
As a recap of what we did get, there was the following:
Picanha – If this came out, I did not see it, as it looks just like the garlic version.
Garlic Picanha – a much better way to go than the plain. One of my favorites.
Alcatra – I did not see this at all so I cannot speak for it in any other way.
Brazilian Sausage – I was told there was a spicy kick to this. I didn’t think so. It was very flavorful and better than in the past.
Leg of Lamb – Again, mine was fatty, but the meat under there was good. Had I any more, I would have gotten sick. It is a greasy cut of meat.
Lamb Chops – My favorite of all the cuts. I can only eat two before calling it quits. I debated the second one but got it anyway.
Chicken Breast Wrapped in Bacon – The only thing the bacon does it keep the chicken moist.
Parmesan Drumettes – Love these, but they are a pain to eat without using your fingers.
Braised Beef Ribs – I did not see these. Wasn’t sure if I could eat them, after seeing it on the menu. Pretty sure I could.
Barbecued Pork Ribs – Could not eat these because of the sauce. The Gaucho came back with some without sauce but mentioned it probably had tomato power on it.
Herb-Marinated Pork Loin – Dry. That is all I can say. Avoid.
Parmesan-Crusted Pork Loin – I did not see this. Usually, it is good.
Filet Mignon – With all the options, this is rather boring, in my opinion.
Filet Mignon Wrapped in Bacon – Worth it. Better than the plain.
Flank Steak – My favorite cut of the beef. Juicy and seasoned with enough salt that my mouth is watering now.
After the last of us finished with the meat (keto man was holding us up – J/K), we were offered the option of two desserts, key lime pie or bananas Foster pie. As I am not a fan of key lime pie, I went with the bananas Foster pie. It was good. Unexpectedly so. Apparently, this is the year of Fosters. Not as good as the one at The Grill, but it is a convenient packaging and easy to eat. It did not have as much alcohol as the one at The Grill, but it was worth getting. Several of my friends were not impressed with the selection, and I kept mentioning the other options they usually had. In the past, I have said I would go there just for the dessert. When we walked out, we passed the dessert platter, and I recalled the ones we could not get without an additional order. Thinking about it, I should have got one to go. They have a Brazilian cheesecake, which is topped with caramel. There is a carrot cake that makes me like carrot cakes. Finally (they have more, but these were the only ones I cared about), they have a multilayered chocolate cake that is rich, moist, and chocolatey and not chalky.
Overall, I was pleased with the food and the service. Just remember, this is a game. It is your stomach vs. their meats. Drink lots of water. Don’t bother with the soft drinks. Make sure to get stuff from the salad bar that you typically would not have. They have a lot of exotic items, many of which are quite good, but beware of the salt in there as well. Do not fill up on the salad bar, but sample only. Try the cheese bread when it is warm. It is worth it. Make sure you eat either one of both intermezzos, bananas, and sugar will get rid of the salty flavor as will the garlic mashed potatoes. If you are there for Magical Dining, I can’t recommend a dessert because it seems to be a personal preference based on what I saw. If you go during a regular dining moment, I highly recommend one of the three desserts I mentioned (Carrot or chocolate cake, or the Brazilian cheesecake).