Texas de Brazil was one of those who stepped up after the Vegas Tragedy and proved itself to be a strong and forceful member of the community as it supported and provided for the first responders. It has always had a supportive attitude towards all responders, including police, EMS, firefighters, members of the military, etc.
Is it okay to call Texas de Brazil a real mensch?
As much as I’d like to talk about their stepping up when the first responders needed help and the blood donors needed sustenance, this post is all about me. And the incredible dinner I was fortunate enough to enjoy last week.
When I was invited to bring a companion and enjoy an evening of food and wine, I did not let on to the fact that I already knew the quality of the restaurant. Everyone I know who has been there has raved about the food.
Here’s the difference.
If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time, you know that one of my favorite cooking methods is Sous Vide. Sous Vide duck breast that’s been seared skin-side down drizzled with a light wine sauce and served with homemade pasta and some veggies (health, you know) and a glass of Pinot Noir is as close to heaven as you can imagine.
I’ve been following a YouTube channel, SousVide Everything that’s run by a group of Brazilian guys who extol the wonders of “Picanha,” an allegedly superior cut of beef that overshadows all others.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, the description of the dining experience that’s located on their website is pretty much spot on. Here it is in part:
Texas de Brazil is carving a new experience in dining. The restaurant is an authentic Brazilian-American “Churrascaria”, or steakhouse, that combines the cuisines of Southern Brazil with the generous spirit of Texas.
Treat yourself to our 50-60 item seasonal salad area that includes appetizers, gourmet vegetables, soups, and salads. Turn your place card to green and prepare to be swarmed by a troop of carvers generously serving various cuts of seasoned beef, lamb, pork, chicken, and Brazilian sausage, all accompanied by traditional side items and house-baked Brazilian cheese bread.
As you dine endlessly on Brazilian fare, let one of our in-house wine connoisseurs select the perfect pairing from our extensive, award-winning wine lists, or sip on a freshly-made signature cocktail — the Caipirinha.
I arrived a little earlier than our 7:30 reservation time and took the time to order a glass of wine. I took note of the entryway which was impressive. The host bar is onyx; it’s very similar to the tasting bar at the award-winning DAOU Vineyards in Paso Robles. Deep red walls decorate the inside of the restaurant, and several lighted onyx pillars stand at sentry.
My friend Shannon arrived a few minutes later and we were escorted to a table. The wine I was enjoying, by the way, was their private label Central Valley Chilean Sauvignon Blanc. I enjoyed it while we filled our plates from the vegetable/appetizer table. (You have GOT to try the cucumbers! No joke!)
The first, most important impression for me was that Texas de Brazil passed the smell test. My smell test – taught to me by my mentor, The Wineaux Guy™, is pretty simple. Along with the smell of food, the restaurant should smell clean. It doesn’t have to reek of potpourri, but it shouldn’t stink of unwashed dishes, safety compromised food or garbage bags that have been kept around a little too long. It should just smell clean. I always compare the smell of a clean restaurant to clean laundry. You may not know exactly how it’s supposed to smell, but you know it when it’s there.
Texas de Brazil has a little different method of serving food. As previously mentioned, the vegetables and appetizers are self-serve from a separate, buffet-like table. Then you sit and enjoy.
Our first course was a basket of gluten-free cheese bread rolls which I dubbed “little nuggets of golden deliciousness,” because they were. To tell the truth, I was happy with the wine, the bread, and the delicious vegetables. A vegetarian would be quite at home at that point. Vegans, not so much. There were cheeses, charcuterie, creamy sauces, beautifully macerated raw and steamed veggies and more.
There’s a little printed paper circle that’s left at your place at the table. The red side means that you’re not interested in the meat dishes, the green side means bring it on. Feed my not-so-inner carnivore.
Young men (there may have been women – I didn’t notice) bring around wicked looking sabers that have meat skewered on them. They slice the meat of your choice and using a small set of tongs, you catch each slice as it falls. Leg of lamb, Parmesan chicken, sausages, lamb chops, several types of beef, and I think there was more.
Shannon and I tried several, and we each ordered a glass of their private label Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon as accompaniment. One young man came around with what they called “top sirloin,” and I took a couple of slices. After popping the first slice in my mouth, i stopped and looked down at my plate. Shannon looked at me inquiringly because I stopped mid-conversation and focused on the meat.
I told her to try a slice, and she had the same response. Delicious, juicy, tender, and filled with complexity and nuances of flavor.
“What is this??”
The next time the young man stopped by at our table, we launched into questions.
“What cut of beef is this?”
“What seasonings did they use?”
“How is this cooked?”
The answers? Sirloin cap, top sirloin, or Picahna, salt, smoke.
“No, no,” said Shannon, “you don’t understand. What kind of rub was used on this? It’s delicious!”
I’m certain that Shannon’s expression mirrored mine. My jaw was open as I held a fork poised over my plate, a small piece of meat still dangling.
Fran, our waitress, stopped by our table and in heavily-accented English, smilingly told us about Brazil, Picahna, and how Texas de Brazil does not use commodity beef. That is, this beef has never seen the inside of a grocery store.
Or probably any common wholesaler, for that matter.
Our evening wrapped up because there was just No. More. Room. While the crême brulée that we had for dessert was good, it paled in comparison to the rest of the dinner. People who know me know that I’m a bit of a crême brulée snob anyway.
Thanks to Texas de Brazil for the invitation, although paying the $49.00 Prix Fixe for dinner would have been more than worth it. I can totally recommend it, especially if you can do more honor to the food than we did. Will I be back? You can bank on it.
My recommendation? Go. Now. Make reservations if you don’t want to wait. Be very hungry. And be prepared to be pampered and to enjoy some of the most delicious food you’ve ever had. While vegetarians will certainly find some dishes from the buffet table that they’d enjoy, it really is a carnivore’s dream. Vegans need not apply.