Dubbed “a carnivorous extravaganza” by the Houston Chronicle, Angus Grill Brazilian Churrascaria serves all-you-can-eat feasts of skewered meat prepared in the churrasco tradition of southern Brazil. Servers run the piquant pageant, carving slabs of Angus beef at tables lined with crisp white linens instead of the stolen Little League rain tarps that some restaurants prefer. Filet mignons borrow crispy texture by donning strips of bacon, and top sirloin, the house specialty, flavors succulent juices with a hint of garlic. Treats such as fried bananas and papaya cream conclude meals on a sweet note.
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 takes its name, recipes, and spirit.
Nelore’s chefs draw inspiration from the gauchos of South America, piling plates high with carvings of 16 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.
Redolent with the wafting scent of freshly charred beef and sizzling skewers, Guri Do Sul decorates it charming interior with heaping plates of fresh Brazilian barbecue. More than 16 different types of succulent meat are brought tableside by rugged gauchos, or Brazilian cowboys, who use a giant knife or the sharpened edge of a baked-beans can to slice off juicy hunks of pork, lamb, and beef. The delicately folded picanha top sirloin delights tongue buds with carefully seasoned mouthfuls, as the costela beef ribs relinquish traditional churrasco flavors. To accent the protein feast, servers also adorn table spreads with various sides such as pão de queijo, baked cheesy spheres, or caramelized bananas, a lavish indulgences of butter-sautéed fruit with accents of brown sugar and cinnamon.
After 15 years in the pizza business, Chef Ronaldo Gomes opened Copacabana Pizzeria, with a menu that melds Brazilian flavors with casual American standards. His Brazilian-style pizzas come covered with a melted layer of catupiry cheese, a Brazilian favorite, as well as Latin-style ingredients ranging from hearts of palm to calabresa sausage or pepperoni, mushrooms, and other classic ingredients. Their Brazilian Monster Burgers offer a three-dimensional alternative to flat pizza planes. These towering sandwiches are stacked high with grilled chicken, sirloin steak, corn, peas, potato sticks, and other ingredients that barely fit between a warm bun. Mangos, guava, and other tropical fruit blend together to form caipirinhas and other Brazilian-style drinks perfectly suited to lubricating both conversations and the most righteous Slip-and-Slides.
Just as the gauchos of southern Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina slow-roasted meats over log and coal fires, so to do the chefs at Pradaria Steaks & Churrascaria. It’s a time-honored tradition of South American cooking that sears a smoky flavor into meat seasoned only with salt. Patrons can enjoy cuts of sirloin, filet mignon, pork loin, and leg of lamb roasted in the kitchen and sliced tableside in the rodízio style, or they can order from the à la carte menu of meats. They can then complete plates with trips to decadent salad and sides bars stocked with such selections as seafood cocktails, Brazilian-style steamed rice, yucca fries, and fried plantains.
Brothers Kevin and Ric Kiersh opened Red River BBQ & Grill as a catering company back in the '90s, and though it still outfits parties with heaps of classic southern comfort food (including a mashed potato bar), customers can now get their barbecue fix at two restaurant locations. Diners can stop in anytime for barbecue spuds and sandwiches, or visit on Monday night to enjoy all-you-can-eat fried chicken and stirring speeches delivered by ribs on the campaign trail. If customers don't opt for brisket, spicy sausage, and pork ribs still sizzling from their stay in the wood-fired pits, they can order steaks and fried shrimp. Sides include potato salad and beer-battered onion rings.
The tempting and decidedly not-fast-food aromas of sizzling gaucho-style meats, mozzarella, and Brazilian catupiry cheese emanate from Friend’s Pizzeria’s brick oven. The pizzeria’s chefs deftly combine Italian and Brazilian influences with a menu of more than 20 gourmet pizzas. In addition to traditional pies, Friend’s whips up its specialty fusion pizzas, which blend Latin American flavors such as shrimp, green olives, or tangy and soft catupiry cheese. Towering Brazilian Monster burgers challenge diners and tightly fastened bow ties to accommodate their hefty portions of sirloin steak, potato skins, and eggs. After placing orders at a walk-up counter, diners nosh in a dining room festooned with Brazilian- and Italian-flag prints, line drawings of city scenes, and patriotic green and yellow walls.