Wood crackles in a blazing fire as the smells of dust and wild grass waft through the air. In the background, horses' hooves pound across the plains. It's the end of the day for the gauchos, rugged Brazilian cowboys infamous for stealing wandering cattle. While the horsemen top one another with tales of their day's heists, succulent meat seasoned with sea salt roasts over the open flame of the fire. The smoke makes the gauchos’ eyes water as much as their mouths as they sharpen their knives in preparation for a hard-earned feast.
This gaucho style of dining dates back to the 18th century. At Sal Grosso, the chefs continue the gauchos' culinary tradition—now known as churrasco—of slow-cooking meats over an open flame and then serving tableside, or rodizio. The servers slice and serve endless portions of beef, lamb, poultry, and pork flavored with various spices and coarse salt. They also deliver traditional Brazilian flan and other desserts along with signature caipirinhas and flavored martinis to diners who haven't zoned their stomachs as carnivore-exclusive territories.
Sal Grosso trades the wild grasses and plains of South America for Brazilian-made leather dining chairs, hardwood columns, and modern abstract art. In addition to a large bar and 70-seat banquet room, the patio gives guests a view of the modern-day gauchos cooking meat inside a glassed-in outdoor kitchen as a fountain sends water streaming into a connected pool.
Live music regularly reverberates off Samba Loca Brazilian Steakhouse's bright-red walls, which bear festive decorations of ethnic artwork and wine racks crafted from gleaming chrome. Patrons sit under the full bar's flat-screen TVs, around tables, or in booths as the kitchen’s Brazilian recipes power entrees of 10-ounce strip steaks and salmon doused in Brazilian honey-dijon mustard. Customizable meals come in the form of five grill-fired meats, including filet mignon and red snapper, which don one of nine traditional sauces splashed with notes of curry, blue cheese, or passionfruit. To help them to decide, patrons not fluent in Portuguese can rely on the menu's English and Klingon translations or gaze at screens that feature photos of Samba Loca's signature dishes.
Drawing upon his 16 years of experience cooking Asian and Mediterranean cuisines, Chef Zhe fills Tokyo Boat 2's menu with an eclectic array of dishes that draws inspiration from Korea, Thailand, and Japan. The Japanese influences are the most readily apparent, as evidenced the extensive selection of sushi rolls and the broiled meats in housemade teriyaki sauce. Even the hibachi chefs combine traditional cooking techniques with a bit of modern showmanship as they sear orders of red snapper, steak, or vegetables on tabletop grills while a small audience of diners watches the impressive displays of dexterity.
Although the occasional burst of flame erupts from the hibachi stations' grill surfaces, the areas are mostly lit by a modern collection of blue pendant lamps that dangle above the diners. The sleek metal surfaces and exhaust hoods stand in contrast to the simple wooden shelving of the sushi bar, which lies just behind a jet-black counter where guests can sit and watch as the chefs slice nigiri, roll maki, and mold rice into snowmen during the warmer seasons.
From the brick-paneled walls and booths lined with dark wooden accents to the seasonal selection of gourmet American cuisine, Blackstone embodies every aspect of the classic steak house. A selection of hearty cuts anchors the menu, whether as solitary 8-ounce cuts of filet mignon, or massive 22-ounce cowboy rib eyes adorned with béarnaise sauce, jumbo lump crabmeat, lobster-shaped earrings, and other edible accessories. Guests can also savor a taste of the seas with plates of Atlantic salmon or pan-fried trout. Blackstone's wine list collects more than 35 pours, including 19 by the glass.
There’s nothing political about a steak, even if it comes from a steakhouse run by the children of DeKalb County’s former tax commissioner and county commissioner. John-Thomas and Christopher Scott, owners of Parker’s on Ponce, envisioned their space as a cozy meeting place for everyone in the neighborhood. Mullioned windows surround their dining room, where servers deliver the restaurant’s signature dish, the 16-ounce kansas city strip, amid two stone-faced fireplaces and twinkling tabletop candles. So perfectly prepared is this steak—along with the 16-ounce rib eye, 10-ounce filet, and a 32-ounce porterhouse—that the eatery garnered a Diner’s Choice nod for best steaks on OpenTable.com. Southern-style classics receive upscale twists as evidenced by the Carolina trout, which comes adorned with a citrus beurre blanc and white-cheddar grits, as well as bone-in pork chops and salmon served with a salsa of pomegranate and barbecued mango. To accompany the rich fare, the Scotts and their staff have curated a lengthy wine selection, which ranges from Italian pinot grigio to a merlot squeezed from moon rocks. They are skilled in recommending craft and large-format beers from around the globe or one of 12 signature cocktails created with top-shelf liquors.
Waiters at Folia Brazilian Steakhouse waltz across dining rooms wielding spears full of sizzling meats lauded by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for their succulence. To signal their hunger to roving waiters, diners simply display a green card near their plate, prompting waiters to proffer juicy picanha sirloin, sling out plump sausages, or stampede toward the table in an ill-fated game of Red Light, Green Light. Guests can devise elaborate salads at the expansive salad bar, where traditional leafy options mingle with tangy ceviche and seared tuna. House wines, from chardonnay to cabernet sauvignon, pair off with bites of steak or nibbles of fish to sneak into stomachs on the heels of well-spoken toasts. Piquant flavors and traditional Brazilian spices find an easy home within the dramatic red and deep mahogany colors of the dining room, transporting patrons and their palates to a place where gauchos gather around fire pits to relish both food and flames.