Restaurateur Frank Reider began to delve into the ruby depths of wine at his friend's wine soirees while living in Rio de Janeiro. His growing ardor for South American vintages inspired him to open Gol!, a churrascaria with a wine list that earned the restaurant Wine Spectator's Award of Excellence for several years.
Gaucho waiters arrive at each chair offering up skewers of shrimp, salmon, and meat grilled rare in the traditional style. Patrons flip a disk between red and green to indicate whether they'd like more meat or to clear up traffic jams among the waitstaff. A salad bar remains stocked with fresh vegetables and soups as an alternative to the traditional barrage of meat.
Reider found a home for Gol! in a building erected circa 1925. It was originally dubbed the Arcade Building, gaining notoriety in the 1930s as the Arcade and Tap Room. Behind the fully restored façade, cypress-wood ceilings arch over tablecloths and floral displays. Bartenders work behind a bar carved in 1933 from trees whose grandparents were chopped down by George Washington himself. As bossa nova tunes play, the bartenders mix cocktails such as the citrusy caipirinha, which was featured in the Palm Beach Post.
Churrasco-style dining, an endless parade of skewered steaks, is often associated with Brazilian cowboys. European influences shine in mild flavors and new ingredients, and the varied countryside blossoms with a range of exciting fruits and vegetables. All of these aspects mingle at the hands of the chefs at Flavors of Brazil as they prepare a menu of Latin-style small plates and barbecued meats. Diners can share appetizers such as cod croquettes or beef empanadas and then bite into savory courses of linguiça sausage, ribs, and top sirloin steak. Glasses brimming with champagne cocktails click together above plates of caramel-filled churros, all of which brings a pleasant end to a meal, unlike a fortune cookie containing facts about home fires.
Inspired by Brazilian gaucho—or cowboy—style of cooking meats, the owners and chefs of Brazaviva Churrascaria opened their restaurant and devoted its menu of endless dishes to the Old-World grilling method. As the restaurant describes it, the wayfaring gauchos roamed the expansive grasslands of Brazil's Rio Grande do Sul, skewering their meat dinners and roasting them over a fiery pit, before carving off thin slices to be shared around the fire.
Holding true to that tradition, the eatery's expert carvers bring skewers of fire-roasted beef, pork, lamb, chicken, and sausage tableside to pile plates high. Guests eat as much as they like, using a card that is green on one side and red on the other to indicate to the friendly staff carvers to keep the feast flowing, or to take a moment's savoring pause. Whatever belly room is left over after all cards go red calls for filling up with one of the eatery's unique desserts that swirl South American flavors such as passion fruit and papaya into rich smoothies and mousses. A collection of fine wines selected specially to compliment the charred flavors of the meats is available to complete the experience.
There's an art to picking a steak. As the chefs at Prime will tell you, a steak should have just the right amount of marbling, which makes the meat retain tenderness and develop more robust flavors during cooking. That's why father-and-son duo Steven Pellegrino Sr. and Jr. insist that every steak be cut from USDA prime beef. They also insist upon fresh seafood, lining up catches such as sea bass and line-caught swordfish for their chefs to transform into flavorful entrees, as well as a roster of sushi and sashimi.
Outfitted with a supper-club atmosphere, Prime dazzles with its decor as much as its menu. A pianist lights up the ivories nightly, each scale undulating through a posh interior of chandeliers, marble floors, and a martini-centric bar. A dedicated butcher's area lets patrons take a hands-on approach to dining by picking out their own cuts of meat—a favorite feature of Zagat and other delighted reviewers. Premium spirits, cigars, and velvet feedbags can also be brought and stored in Prime's inscribed liquor cabinet for enjoyment throughout the evening.