Though churrasca restaurants are popping up everywhere, Ivan Utrera is generally recognized as the first bold soul to open a Brazilian steakhouse in America, bringing family recipes from his native city of Sao Paulo. For nearly 20 years, Rodizio Grill's teams of gauchos have presented three-foot skewers of rotisserie-grilled meats tableside, giving guests the opportunity to sample as much as they can shake their fork at. The selection of seasoned meats includes picanha com parmesao—sirloin encrusted with parmesan—and frango agri-doce, chicken glazed in a sweet and spicy sauce. The gauchos also present skewered fruits and vegetables, including Rodizio's signature grilled pineapple.
The menu keeps it simple with only a few other embellishments, but they certainly share the spotlight with the churrasca. Unlimited appetizers include polenta and banana poppers, and a gourmet salad bar features whipped potatoes, Brazilian black-bean stew, and grilled veggies with parmesan cheese. Everything is homemade, including the desserts and the specialty limeades concocted from fresh limes and sweet cream. Because the menu is centered on meat and vegetables, 90% of the restaurant's dishes are gluten-free and wouldn't know the first thing about how to approach a carb at a dance party.
If its name doesn't tip them off, visitors to Campanale's Restaurant need only glance at the menu to realize this place is Italian to its core. More than 10 specialty pizzas take up but a small slice of real estate on the menu and include the chicken fradiavlo loaded with hot cherry peppers and onions. The rest of the menu features familiar Italian favorites, including marsala and parmigiana, alongside dishes that are a bit harder to come by such as grilled swordfish and sirloin pizziola–a 16-ounce sirloin topped with mozzarella and spicy marinara sauce. For added convenience, Campanale's also has a gluten-free spread packed with many of its regular dishes.
Whipping up hand-kneaded dough and an extensive list of toothsome toppings, Schoolhouse Pizza equips omnivorous academics with PhD's in Pizzaology. Peruse the menu while dinner DJs spin up circular comestibles with each personalized neapolitan thin-crust pie (12", $8+). Select from more than three dozen tasty toppings that range from traditional pepperoni and mushrooms to luxurious Italian edibles such as sopressata, pesto, and slivers of Da Vinci's grated-cheese sculptures. Keep stomachs from howling all night long with specialty pizzas such as the headmaster, featuring truffle-infused prosciutto and porcinis ($15+), or the CPA with tasty artichoke and grilled chicken ($11+). Schoolhouse Pizza also offers a bevy of savory paninis that are suitable for lunchtime munching, stoking stomach fires, or luring hungry longtime boyfriends into wedding chapels.
Cool-hued modern art roosts above the sleek leather couches that line Blue Pointe Bistro's interior, overseeing a seasonal parade of delicate starters and inventive entrees. The bistro's menu puts a variety of imaginative twists on time-tested American classics, easing diners into culinary creativity with award-winning appetizers such as pork spring rolls bundled with seasoned vegetables beneath a spicy mustard drizzle ($8). The masterful wait staff, voted best in the area by South Shore Living, ramps up dining drama by delivering show-stealing inner monologues and entrees, such as the pasta with chicken and sausage ($17) or the portobello melt ($8). Neptunian noshers delight as sautéed cod splashes ashore on a beach of crispy garlic and mashed potatoes ($18); sautéed crab cakes bask on the sunny surface of blue rice and veggies ($18).
One of South Shore Living's "10 Influential People You Should Know" in 2010, Jimmy Liang evenly divides his time among his five Boston-area restaurants. At Fuji 1546 Restaurant & Bar, his culinary crew whips up contemporary Japanese dishes with a focus on maki, sushi, and sashimi. The sushi selection ranges from eel-filled caterpillar rolls to sweet-potato maki to the BLT roll, which guests must order without using any vowels. The menu also includes traditional eats such as gyoza, sweet-and-sour crab-meat balls, and filet mignon cooked in a housemade lime-soy marinade. Diners also entertain one another during karaoke sessions that go until 12:30 a.m. on Tuesday and Saturday night.
Wrapped in the aromatic embrace of Zona Sul Churrascaria’s smoldering barbecue pit, up to four friends gather over unending portions of Brazilian meats, rice, and vegetables. Diners pile thick slices of meat onto their plates as they gaze in wonder at the crackling sirloin steaks and pork sausages skewered on spits over the flames. Beef ribs line up in rows as foursomes hammer out xylophonic bossa nova songs with their forks, and chicken thighs strut to samba beats on palate dance floors. A bountiful salad bar complements the orchestra of sizzling proteins with rice, green vegetables, and whole onions painted to resemble soccer balls.