Brazilian Steak House | Award-Winning Churrasco | Hot-Food Buffet | Caipirinha Cocktails | Fixed-Price Menu
How it Works: During this all-you-can-eat fine-dining experience, customers are first seated at tables bedecked with white linens. Then, a server parades out a selection of 16 churrascaria meats, carving off a portion of skewered beef, lamb, pork, or chicken. A two-sided, colored coaster—green for "keep it coming," red for "I'm stuffed"—lets the staff know if you'd like seconds or thirds. Diners can also help themselves to the buffet of salad fixings and side dishes.
Inside Tip: Vegetarians can skip out on the meat and pay a reduced price for the salad and sides buffets. The extensive salad bar is filled with traditional choices as well as tabbouleh and pickled shiitake, and the hot side dishes include a "mashed potato so smooth it could pass for crème fraîche," according to OC Weekly.
Caipirinha: a Brazilian cocktail made with the sugarcane-based spirit cachaça and lime juice
If You Can’t Make It, Try This: Amazon Churrascaria BBQ Buffet (1445 S. Lemon Street, Fullerton), more casual—but no less authentic—spot for Brazilian cuisine according to the Los Angeles Times.
Housing three restaurants under one roof, The Flame invites guests to enjoy traditionally prepared Brazilian and Japanese dishes along with American bar-and-grill fare. With this Groupon, valid for either Brazilian barbecue or Japanese hibachi, guests can summon meat carvers toting rotisserie-roasted goods, such as slow-roasted pork loin or picanha-style top sirloin, to tables to shave fresh slivers onto naked plates for Brazilian churrascaria ($29.95). This all-you-can-eat feast comes with access to a hot, cold, and antipasto bar, so you can stock up on sides to complement meaty selections in a culinary harmony unseen since the California Raisins dominated the airwaves. Diners can also step into the hibachi grill to enjoy a multicourse Japanese meal with appetizers, soup, salad, vegetables, and the meats of your choice, such as baby lobster and filet mignon ($44) or salmon and teriyaki chicken ($26), prepared before your eyes.
Skewered cuts of sirloin, brazilian sausage, and pork ribs rotate slowly over a sweltering grill, their savory juices producing a rhythmic hiss as each drop hits the metal. This is churrasco, Xodó Grill's specialty. Once the traditional Brazilian barbecue has roasted to a tender finish, the staff slices off juicy morsels for customers to pair with 12 types of salads and a slate of hot dishes from the colorful buffet. Heaping plates of fried yucca, picanha, and cheese bread await the scales, which customers use to pay by the pound and Lady Justice uses to smuggle extra cuts of steak.
Gol Brazilian Restaurant's cooks prepare top sirloin, bacon-wrapped pork, chicken hearts, and other meats in the traditional gaucho style—by skewering them onto metal rods and slow-roasting them over charcoal. Besides the succulent churrasco selections, a buffet of fresh, flavorful salads and hot dishes such as spaghetti carbonara and croquettes round out the menu. Patrons can sip fresh fruit juices, beer, or wine and finish meals with creamy flan and other desserts while observing the footwork of Brazilian soccer teams on the flat-screen TV.
Nico's Steak & Chop House is an upscale steakhouse owned by retired NFL pro Robert “Griff” Griffith and his wife Amethyst. Huddle inside cozy booths to sneak a peak at the new Griffs Smokehouse menu and kick off consumption with small plates of Korean short-ribs ($9) and hand-breaded calamari ($9). Sandwich earls can majestically munch on a turkey club ($10), while more adventurous carnivores can try the 12 oz. New York strip steak ($27) and herb-crusted lamb loin ($28). Feed fish-or-feather urges with the pan-roasted salmon ($26) or the Cajun chicken breast ($19), or try the roasted eggplant burger ($12) to send a message to potential vegetable uprisings. "Griff" Griffith is often around the restaurant to sign autographs and call audibles on orders—bring a pen and a Refrigerator Perry-esque appetite and tackle the satisfyingly smoky fare of Nico's Steak & Chop House.
Before any cuts of corn-fed Nebraskan beef grill above The Steakhouse on Broadway's mesquite coals, Executive Chef Ramon Gomez ages them himself for 28 days. Between the aging and the cooking, each juicy cut of steak arrives infused with smoky flavor, complemented by locally sourced veggies and sauces such as chimichurri or sweet apple creamy horseradish. Steak isn't the only culinary card up Ramon's sleeve. He serves succulent crab legs by the pound, crafts housemade pastas, and carves up to 32-ounce pieces of mouth-watering prime rib from a 20-pound Nebraska rib roast.
Manning the walnut-paneled bar behind a granite countertop, barkeeps complement Ramon's meat-focused entrees with a wide selection of beer and wine. Honoring the steakhouse’s roots that date back to 1968, bartenders stick to tradition cocktail-wise, making libations such as the Manhattan and Old Fashioned with top-shelf spirits.
The old-school drink menu meshes well with the red leather booths of the 1960s-era dining room, whose ambiance has changed little since the steakhouse opened. Back then it was a hotspot for celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, and Jack Lemon, Jack Lemmon’s pet lemon. Today, it hosts live entertainment almost nightly, including crooner Ray Correa, who the San Diego Reader praised for his "crafty guitar playing and alluring voice."