So for Father’s Day this year Dear Wife and B.T. put their heads together to come up with ideas, and thought it would be fun to take to a restaurant the likes of which I have never been to before.
Before I go on, I should mention in the interest of full disclosure that I am a fan of eating meat. So if you are of such a persuasion as eating meat may offend your diet sensibilities, I fear this post may make you a tad queasy – but in words only for I did not think to take pictures.
So, with a huge assist from Dear Wife, B.T. decided it would be a brilliant idea to take me to a Brazilian Steakhouse for Father’s Day, because in fact I had never been to such a restaurant before. More to the point, I didn’t even recall what a Brazilian Steakhouse even was.
The proper term, apparently, is churrascaria, but the restaurant concept stateside seems to go by the moniker of “Brazilian Steakhouse”, and I think there’s a subtle difference between the two: a churrascaria is simply a restaurant serving South American-style rotisserie barbecue. That, by itself, would have been fine and undoubtedly delicious. But “Brazilian Steakhouse” seems to refer to a style of service. I will shortly elaborate.
When we first arrived at the restaurant, however, I was somewhat bemused. Dear Wife had suggested that dinner would be a surprise, and had warned me to bring my appetite, but had said little else. I had the day to ponder what epicurean delights might await me. Pizza is my favorite food, so a nice pizza joint was not out of the question – but we eat pizza frequently (and Dear Wife and I have gotten quite good at our own full-on, made-from-scratch pizza at home). Burgers or Barbecue is a rarer thing for dinner in the Casa Chez Watkins, so that struck me as entirely more probable. When we arrived at the actual dinner destination, however, I was not expecting what I took, initially, to be an upscale Mexican-style restaurant (although I do love Mexican). In my linguistic defense, the name of the restaurant, “Sal Grosso”, was not evidently Portuguese-sounding to me, and the “Brazilian Steakhouse” moniker was in a significantly smaller font. Even if I had noticed it was a Brazilian steakhouse and not a Mexican place at all, it is still unlikely I would have exhibited any excitement, because I was fairly unfamiliar with what that meant.
When we were seated at our tables, however, no menus were handed to us. (Well, there was a wine menu, but neither Dear Wife nor I drink alcohol so this was of little use to us.) This is, apparently, because there are a grand total of two options from which to choose, so a printed menu is rather a waste of paper. Instead, on the table were little cards, one side red the other green – the red side reading something like “Não, obrigado” or “No, thank you” and the green side “Sim, por favor” or “Yes, please”. What did this mysterious card refer to? Yes or no to what?
If you’ve been to a Brazilian Steakhouse before, you already know the punchline. But for me all of this was a new experience. Heck, being a father is still something of a new experience – this was only my second Father’s Day from this side of the fence. So here’s the punchline, for those of us who are new to this:
The first option was the salad bar. It’s like a salad bar at any non-Brazilian restaurant, except different. And heads-and-shoulders better. Dear Wife is not the world’s biggest fan of salad bars – she loves a good salad, but salad bars are another matter, as they are often dirty or the home for the dregs and lesser offerings of a restaurant. This salad bar, Dear Wife enthused, was without question the best salad bar she’d ever partaken of. I can’t really disagree. The offerings were unique and tasty.
The second option is inclusive of the salad bar, but more. You see, roaming around the restaurant were these men with swords. You have to duel them for your dinner, while quipping wittily a la The Man in Black vs. Inigo Montoya.
Okay, no, they weren’t swords, and there is no duel. But don’t look so crestfallen: what there is is nearly as cool. The men roaming the restaurant have skewers (which look nearly like swords, for the size of these skewers) on which they have hunks of cooked meat. Many different kinds of meat with many cuts and methods of preparation – 15 varieties in all, at this particular restaurant. They go from table to table offering a slice of this meat or that. You have but to say “Yes” or “No” – ah, there’s what the cards are for – and use the conveniently-provided tongs to grab the slice as the server cuts it away from the hunk of meat on his skewer. And you, the customer, can have as much of any of these meats as you want, as the servers with the different meats are in constant rotation.
Let me tell you… this was an experience. And one quite unlike anything I’ve ever done before.
So, if you’re into grilling, or meat, or stuff like that… I’d highly recommend the experience. The food was good and it was fun. It’s a bit pricey, to be sure – but it’s worth it for the razzle dazzle, at least once.
And it made for a great Father’s Day – especially for your stereotypically carnivorous dad.