A lonely fire flickers in the night, punctuating the vast expanse of Brazil’s southern plains. A spitted side of Nelore beef roasts over the flames; from that famed beast and this timeless fireside scene, Nelore Churrascaria takes its name, recipes, and spirit.
Nelore Churrascaria’s chefs draw inspiration from the gauchos of South America, piling plates high with carvings of 15 spit-roasted meats. The spirit of the southern plains remains alive and well in the dining room, where wrought-iron chandeliers and a dark hardwood floor evoke rustic elegance as a warm breeze filters in through the front doors. Veggies, fine cheeses, and pastas fill more than 40 basins at the salad bar, whose glistening glass protects the trays from grazing cattle and errant horseshoe tosses.
Inside Boteco Restaurant, cooks recreate the quintessential flavors one might find inside Brazil's botecos—informal hot spots of food, nightlife, and culture that have thrived since the start of the 19th century. Among the restaurant's specialties are salted codfish croquettes, calabresa sausage sautéed with onions, and escondidinho de camarão, a medley of mashed yuca, cheese gratin, and shrimp. Diners can also sink teeth into new york strip steak or filet mignon cut into a snowflake pattern. Bartenders fill glasses with wine and muddle caipirinhas with fresh fruit.
Using an oversized knife, a waiter neatly slices off a portion of grilled top sirloin from a skewer packed with well-roasted meat, sliding the steak onto a plate of rice, beans, and salad. Beneath colorful abstract paintings of palm trees, guests can dig in to traditional Brazilian steak-house fare. A flat-screen TV set against the back wall displays sporting contests, and plants in the beams overhead murmur about an upcoming tree rebellion.