Wielding knives and sword-like skewers, the servers at Texas de Brazil seem prepared for impromptu duels. However, they only brandish the blades to replenish dinner plates, slicing meat from their spears at the behest of each table. The cuts of steak, lamb, and brazilian sausage are all slow roasted over an open flame in traditional churrascaria fashion—a technique that stems from the campfire meals of Brazilian gauchos, and one that fed the family behind Texas de Brazil during their life in Porto Alegre. In an effort to bring the South American style to the States, they established their first restaurant in Texas, thereby merging down-home charm with Brazilian spice.
Today, Texas de Brazil has expanded to several award-winning locations across the country. Despite the lofty ceilings and chandeliers that characterize their venues, the staff remains rooted in ranchers' habits. They conscientiously grill and season their meat, bake brazilian cheese bread in-house, and pass classic cocktails and loaner saddles over the bar for cowboys who consider chairs unnatural. To complement savory bites, guests can browse more than 50 gourmet sides at the salad bar—a compendium of soups, vegetables, and appetizers such as imported cheeses. They can also ask the resident wine specialist for recommendations on suitable pairings from the cellar.
Just as the surrounding Theater District transports audiences to faraway places, Brazil Grill's dining room immerses guests in the rich culinary traditions of Brazil. Though it boasts a substantial selection of entrees, the eatery's specialty is radizio, a traditional Brazilian dining style where passadores, or meat servers, present diners with an endless rotation of skewered morsels. Patrons can nosh to their hearts' content on beef, pork, lamb, duck, and the other meats that continually appear tableside during the course of the night. To complement the authentic dishes, servers can also recommend options from the restaurant's selection of wines culled from Chile, Italy, and New Zealand. Most nights, guests eat as they absorb the sounds of live Brazilian music, the play-by-play of Brazilian League soccer matches, or napkins practicing their Portuguese accents.
Brazil Brazil Restaurant spirits diners away from the helter-skelter streets of New York City into a space rife with french doors, exposed brick, and blond hardwood. Its back patio—a white-trellised three-seasons room and kind of solarium—surrounds guests with lush flora and wrought-iron furniture that exudes the feeling of the tropics, with the scents of grilling seafood wafting over the secluded tables.
This spot is one of the best places to relax in the city, with the New York Times even lauding the patio as a “romantic retreat” and “an ideal place to escape the city’s rapid pace.” Chefs plate flavorful Brazilian dishes such as wine-marinated shrimp or pan-seared red snapper in mango sauce with sides of yucca and fried bananas. Late in the evenings, a Brazilian band starts serenading guests lounging in the bar’s cushy sofa chairs, creating a festive atmosphere. Located next to a host of Broadway theaters, the bistro is a great pre-show spot for on-the-go eaters.
Just beside the Bronx River, an early-1800's stone mill stretches above the water like the Space Shuttle perched hopefully over Cape Canaveral. The Georgian-style fieldstone building currently won't tear off for the cosmos, however. Instead, it plays host to The Olde Stone Mill restaurant, which makes use of the centuries-old timber posts and beams to create a cozy pastoral atmosphere, which is exactly what NASA first imagined to be the scene on the moon. The eatery's staff marries steak-house cuisine with Italian dishes, pairing pastas and veal francese with generous cuts of rib-eye and filet mignon. As a testament to the quality of this cuisine, Westchester Magazine named Olde Stone Mill's truffle ravioli the region's best in 2012 for its aromatic medley of wild mushrooms, cream, and truffle oil.
A goldenrod dining room, containing the building's original stone hearth, sets the scene for linguine twirling or tearing into porterhouse pork chops. Behind the handcrafted bar, bartenders pour glasses of wine and mix martinis, one of which won Westchester Magazine's praise as 2011's best twist on a traditional martini. Antique lanterns accented by spirals of ivy illuminate the bar's surface, and on balmy days, diners can retreat to the stone patio and enjoy their glasses of wine with a spritz of sunshine.
With its crisp white tablecloths, glimmering chandeliers, and elegant banquets, the American Dream Steakhouse exemplifies the classic American steak house. A soaring photograph of Lady Liberty watches over the dining room, where nimble servers balance trays of fine steaks, juicy burgers, and sizzling chilean sea bass. Diners clink wineglasses over slices of new york cheesecake drenched in fresh berries and clouds of whipped cream.
Caspian Bistro, which was featured on the PBS show Check, Please!, fires a sweeping selection of Persian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean dishes over open flames. Conquer lunch cravings with a fresh-broiled chicken gyro, snuggled into a hot pita alongside tomatoes, onions, and a cucumber-garlic yogurt sauce invented as a sports drink for ancient Olympians ($7.69). Dinner diners can appetize their bellies with the vegetarian dolmeh plate, which envelops split peas, basmati rice, and spices in grape leaves with tomato sauce ($6.79), before diving into the vegetable kabob ($13.69). Other skewers bear hunks of seasoned ground beef ($9.99) and marinated filet mignon ($16.49, served over basmati rice and a choice of vegetables).