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.
Buckhead Bar and Grill is an old-fashioned steakhouse, serving up delicious USDA prime beef, fresh seafood, all-natural poultry, and creative culinary twists on classic southern staples. The chef relies on locally grown organic produce, all-natural grass-fed beef, and free-range lamb to prepare the multifaceted meats and vivacious vittles featured on the menu. Whet a rasping appetite with the fried fresh calamari ($13) or jumbo-lump crab cake ($13) before moving on to more substantial fishy fare, such as the panko-encrusted Norwegian salmon ($26). Carnivorous cravings get speared with Buckhead’s savory selection of steaks, made with USDA prime Black Angus beef, including the maytag blue cheese 8-ounce filet mignon ($38) or the pepper-encrusted 10-ounce sirloin ($29). Green-eating grazers can choose from the wedge or caesar salads ($10 each) or the fire-roasted vegetable medley ($12). A selection of homespun sides, including whipped garlic mashed potatoes, stone-ground grits, and lobster bisque create the perfect complement to any flattery-loving meal. Indulge squealing sweet teeth with desserts like crème brûlée ($6) or homemade red-velvet cake ($6) plucked fresh from the February red-velvet fields.
Head Chef Miriam Sosa culled from South American and Caribbean traditions when she built her menu of Latin dishes at the fast-food eatery Latin Chicks. Sosa’s Peruvian-style pollo a la brasa—coal-fired chicken—headlines the menu and makes appearances with fries, in salads, and once on Jimmy Kimmel Live. For a sweet treat, she also presents a choice of filling and topping for churros, including strawberry, cream cheese, and guava.
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.
Wafting aromas of sizzling seafood usher diners into Mambo Jambo's colorful and lively dining room. Kick off an evening of harmonized chewing with an appetizing goat-cheese salad, an emerald ensemble of baby lettuce and romaine quenched with a flavorful ambrosia of key-lime vinaigrette and balsamic dressing and topped with tumbling boulders of honey-roasted walnuts and crumbled goat cheese. After patrons have fully plundered herbaceous platters, a member of Mambo Jambo's friendly wait staff interrupts dialogues of gratuitous lip-smacking with a main course of paella de mariscos. Through the paella's copious haystack of saffron-infused rice, diners can dig for a plethora of seafaring savories, eliciting forkfuls of chewy calamari and disrupting a group of shrimp, scallops, and clams as it drafts a position on how central nervous systems are overrated. With today's second option, diners can assuage digestion with a sweet glass of sangria or a minty mojito.
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.