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THE BEST: Rodizios/Churrascarias in NYC

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  • 2 years later...

Porçao is my favorite, though friends of mine who have lived/worked in Brazil say the ones there are better (they still treat the one on Park Avenue South as their go-to option when in NYC).

I like Brasilia Grill on Ferry Street in Newark, NJ as well, although getting to the Ironbound from NY can be a bit of a pain. Nice family atmosphere, though, and ridiculously cheap compared to the high-end NYC places.

[EDIT: Porcao has a nice, fun atmosphere, and while I hate Park Avenue South as a rule, the crowd seems generally OK, so that might work nicely for your b'day dinner!]

Edited by Mayur (log)
Mayur Subbarao, aka "Mayur"
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I like Brasilia Grill on Ferry Street in Newark, NJ as well, although getting to the Ironbound from NY can be a bit of a pain. Nice family atmosphere, though, and ridiculously cheap compared to the high-end NYC places.

Brazilia Grill has moved from its second floor Ferry Street location to a ground floor location around the corner to 99 Monroe Street just off Ferry. Food is still terrific and it's a much larger space. They have a lower price meat only option that dispenses with the salad bar and also have a higher price option whereby they only bring the top cuts to the table and dispense with the rotation through chicken, sausage ribs etc.

Last time I was at Brazilia - less than two years ago - it was about half the price of Plataforma (or possibly even a bit less than that).

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Just out of curiosity -- has anyone been to Churrascaria Girassol in Astoria lately? It was reviewed in the NYT a few years ago, and I managed to go a couple of times, but I haven't been in years.

I'll add my vote to Plataforma. The meats and all of the other garnishes at Plataforma are the highest quality I sampled, at least if you're comparing to Porcao and Green Field. Can't speak for Newark places...yet.

It's busy and chaotic, but I wouldn't blame that so much on Times Square as on the parade of skewered meats and hordes of eager carnivores!

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  • 5 months later...

Sadly, Girassol closed a year or two ago--I found out when I tried to go one evening and it was closed for business, but full of guys gutting and remodeling the place (into something obviously quite different). It if has re-opened elsewhere, I haven't heard about it (I don't think it has).

Plataforma has gotten so expensive I simply cannot bring myself to go there any more.

Of the Newark places, Seabra's has the consistently best quality, I've found. But the big Brasilia location on Madison is a real party--much more fun, if you're in the mood, and practically as good.

The rodizio with the highest quality grilled meats that I know of in the area these days is Churrasqueira Bairrada in Mineola. It's a Portuguese, as opposed to Brazilian, restaurant, and the variety of meats is somewhat limited compared to a place like Plataforma, but what they do, they do very well... these people really understand grilled meat on a deep level. All of their meat offerings are top notch, and the picanha is the best I've had anywhere. It's super-popular and they don't take reservations so there's almost always a wait for a table, but it's worth the trouble.

My restaurant blog: Mahlzeit!

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  • 6 months later...

Well, since this seems to be the Churrascaria Plataforma thread, I have to report that we ate there tonight pre-theater for convenience. I had been there some years ago and wasn't that impressed.

But in the 4 since I posted above and asked about the "Texas de Brazil" chain, I've eaten more than a dozen meals at them (probably way more) because they're in the two places I go a lot in Florida (Orlando and Miami) and they're really good. Every time I eat at one, which includes meals at the new Miami Beach location as recently as this past May, July, and September, I'm reminded how delicious the meats are - truly high quality stuff!

And I was curious to see how Plataforma compared, and the answer is: terribly. All of the meats paled in comparison to Texas de Brazil. In fact, we wound up just picking at them, since none of them was especially good, though they were uniform in their mediocrity.

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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Yes but if you're taking the slices from the interior you're getting the, how should I put it, whitey experience. The crust and seasoning are the fucking point, people.

So then that would be the... authentic experience?

Most Brasilians tend to like their meat served "ao ponto" - which means something like "just at that point", implying there is a perfect place for it to be. My guess is that it falls closest to what we call medium here, maybe a touch towards medium rare.

Despite the admittedly charred exterior (in all cases), you accomplish getting a piece that is "ao ponto" by angling the knife so that it cut's across the corner of the larger block, giving you interior red meat while still keeping the cut thin enough to keep the meat somewhat tender. It's important that it remain thin, since the traditional cuts in all cases come from the front (fraldinha) or the back (picanha, alcatra) of the cow (the cheap areas). All servers in the city will readily comply with a request for meat "ao ponto". BTW, as mentioned, the picanha is considered the "prized" cut due almost entirely to the fat cap that surrounds it, lending the meat added flavor.

The next step IMO is to add both "farofa" and "vinaigrette" to the meat. Farofa is manioc flour that's been cooked in a pan with pork renderings and little pork chunks until brown, which you then sprinkle over the meat. "vinaigrette" (not the restaurant stuff you find on your heirloom tomato salad) is basically vinegar, onions, tomatoes and peppers that you spoon over the meat. The combination of these two helps make the meat even tastier (the only cut I don't do this for is the garlic beef, cause it's just so delicious on its own).

BTW, I think you'd be hard pressed to find a brasilian that tastes a NY Strip side by side with a picanha steak (if they made one) and says "hey, the picanha is much better than the strip!" - it's not. But a single strip steak costs the same as a 3+lb chunk of picanha, and the general populace - nor the rodizios - can afford to buy/serve it. So the rodizio was born somewhat out of economic necessity, as a means to serve the best of the cheap cuts in a tasty manner.

This is also why you see such elaborate salad bars and table snacks btw - cause veggies are infinitely cheaper in brasil than meat, so they would love you to fill up on that. The irony is that in the end, the steak house is probably the best possible place for a vegetarian to eat when in Brasil!

Someone else also asked whether they intentionally bring the cheaper stuff at the beginning of the meal. I would say its traditional, and expected, that you start your evening off with a linguica (pork sausage). Personally I decline anything until the linguica guy comes around, which is usually pretty quickly anyways. In brasil the linguica guy sometimes carries around a spit of chicken hearts, which are also consumed at the start. Here it seems they are pairing up the linguica with regular chicken, which I just pass on.

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  • 1 year later...

The last and only time I was in nyc about 3 years ago, we had a meal at the Plataforma near Times Square. I must have been lurking around the forum and read this thread otherwise I would never have even considered it. Having never come across anything like this in the UK at the time we booked ahead and waited in greedy anticipation.

It didn't disappoint, I remember being amazed by the whole set-up, the deliciousness and sheer variety of the freshly charred meat. It brings a smile to my lips when I think about how fast the "chicken and sausage boy", I use the term affectionately, arrived when the counter was flipped over. They must get the fittest, youngest, eagle-eyed carver they have to man those skewers. "Cheekin n sorsage?" he enquired and before my wife could finish saying "yes", he'd whipped them onto her plate. From counter flip to plate faster than Usain Bolt. Faster even than a Hong Kong taxi driver to honk his horn at the car in front when the light turns green. Or in this case when the counter turned green! Sure the suckling pig man must feel like he's everyone's favourite uncle when he wheels his trolley round but props to the Chicken and sausage dude :smile:

Anyways, I'm rambling, what I've revived this thread for really is that we are back holidaying in nyca and we are looking for REVENGE! You see last time we didn't get our money's worth; having booked an earylish dinner slot around 6:30 we decided to have lunch at one the diners in Grand Central station. Foolishly I put away a reuben sandwich combo and the wife had a chicken caesar salad. I say foolishly because on our first visit to the States we were unaccustomed to the portion sizes. You have a sandwich or a salad for lunch here in the UK and you definitely still have room for a big meal later. We couldn't do it justice that evening and we swore meaty vengeance on our return to nyc.

So question is before I go ahead and book the Plataforma again are there any other Churrascarias (preferably Manhattan) that I should consider? Or is the whole scene just so passé and moribund and it's all about Uruguayan grill now?!

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Well, yes it's passe but so what? And I think that Plataforma is probably still the best of its kind. Although it's not as big a salad bar, I've always preferred their branch in Tribecca (West Broadway)to the midtown one unless there are theater tickets involved. Remember to bring your Lipitor (or whatever the English equivalent is).

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