Bite Off More Than You Can Chew: Churrasca

My parents and I were fortunate enough to be invited to the family and friends, soft opening at Churrasca IMG_6982Brazilian Steak House in October. That experience was amazing, but I always like to have a go at a new restaurant after it is officially open before writing a review…lucky for me, my older brother came to town, and I got to eat myself into a food coma once again!

First of all, let me set the stage for you…most of us have been to Fogo de Chao or Texas de Brazil or a place of that kind at one time or another. Don’t get me wrong, those places are great, but they don’t hold a candle to the quality of food, the service, and the atmosphere at Churrasca.

The Salad Bar: My brothers and I have fought for years over whether or not it was sacrilegious to visit the salad bar at such an establishment–I love a big, fat, juicy steak more than just about anyone, but, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m also big on getting my veggies. So you can guess where I stand on visiting said salad bar. What I’m not big on are carby things–bread, rice, potatoes, etc. do nothing for me…so why is it that I wanted a second helping of their potato salad?? It’s like nothing I’ve ever had before, and I really had to make myself not go back for more! They also had some of the best smoked salmon, most delectable varieties of cheeses, and an array of fresh vegetables (including these small peppers that had been marinated in I don’t know what, but they were heavenly)! It also included your usual options, like tossed salad and fancy meats, but I didn’t want to waste my time with something I could get every day. The tabouli left a bit to be desired, but when you have my mom as a mom, it’s kind of tough not to be a snob about anything Middle Eastern/Mediterranean. My recommendation: while it may be tempting to fill up on the salad bar, resist the temptation! It is absolutely delicious, and you should try just a little bit of each…but remember, the best is yet to come!!

The Service: Call me old fashioned, but I love it when I’ve been somewhere enough that the staff has paid attention to what I like and dislike. The weight staff at Churrasca is not only friendly, but all of their IMG_0542servers figured out exactly how I like my meat (medium rare if anyone cares to know!) in just a couple of trips to our table–and I wasn’t sitting at a table where everyone liked their meat the same, but they figured it out quickly. Another welcomed contrast between Churrasca and some of the other similar restaurants I have frequented was the timing–there’s nothing worse than having a mound of food on your plate that gets cold because it’s just not possible to eat fast enough. The weight staff cut reasonable portions of everything asked for and seem to have their circulation timing down to an art. My glass was never empty, and they periodically checked back with us to see if there was a specific cut we wanted. After having had a less than pleasurable experience at a chain restaurant in Lubbock just a couple of nights before, this kind of attention and service was greatly appreciated.

The “Main Course”: After returning from the salad bar, there was a basket of cheese rolls waiting for us. IMG_0050Remember what I said about not being too keen on starchy, carby things?? Well, that too goes out the window! I’m also not sure how these things are made, but I’m fairly certain I ate an entire basket of these crispy on the outside, cheesy and gooey on the inside little gems–and I’m not sorry about it! They also had servings of fried plantains and mashed potatoes ready for us on the table. SIDE NOTE: I learned something new during the soft opening…you are supposed to combine a bite of the meat with a bite of the plantain for an authentic Brazilian treat–it may sound weird, but trust me; it’s a surprisingly wonderful combination. Back to the meat…when my brothers and I were younger, we turned everything into a competition, including eating. When we would go to a Brazilian steakhouse, the rules were simple–we would start the timer as soon as we received our first serving, and whoever could eat the longest without stopping won. I would like to say we have matured since those days, but I would be lying…I’d also like to say that I won, but that too would be a lie. Despite my failure to out-eat my older brother, I feel like I still held my own! It wasn’t too difficult though because every cut of meat was more extraordinary than the one that came out before. My favorite cut is the rib eye, but if you asked me to pick one from Churrasca, I honestly couldn’t do it–the top sirloin, bottom sirloin, filet, beef ribs, and garlic steak were flavored and seared to perfection. Then there were the pork ribs, bacon wrapped chicken, lamb chops, sausage, leg of lamb, and the marinated chicken legs that couldn’t have been more juicy and expertly created.

I could go on and on, but instead I’ll just leave you with this…if you live in Lubbock or are planning a visit, Churrasca is a must!

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