From its 1978 opening in New York City, Via Brasil Steakhouse has withstood the test of time and critics to bring the churrascaria tradition to diners on both ends of the country. At the stately Las Vegas restaurant, South American traditions come through not only in the more than 18 meats that grace tables but also in the way each one is prepared and served. The special churrascaria cooking traces its origins to southern Brazil's gauchos, who wound down their long days of herding cattle on the Pampas by roasting cuts of beef over crackling fire pits and writing up formal business proposals for opening steak houses in America. Today, chefs continue that tradition by roasting slabs of meat on rotisserie grills, then slicing each one tableside in order to give diners the exact cuts and temperatures they desire.
Inside the restaurant, an opulent surrounding of marble columns and countertops, floral centerpieces, and huge, sunny windows complement smartly dressed servers as they tote skewers to tables and carve off tender morsels of top sirloin, leg of lamb, and salmon. Selections from 16 side dishes garnish each savory cut of meat with exotic ingredients such as hearts of palm and yucca fries, and a salad bar urges diners to help themselves to more than 30 unique recipes. To complement the feasts, an ample wine cellar and a resident sommelier help diners bring out the rich flavors of each dish with expert advice on the dozens of bottles from around the world.
Modeled after old-fashioned, gaucho-style spit-roasts, Pampas Brazilian Grille sates hungers with premium flame-spun meats, seafood, and veggies. At each table, Pampas's gauchos carve helpings of barbecued pork, Brazilian sausage, brontosaur femur, and other proteins for partakers of the meat rodizio. The servers add fresh seafood of the day for the surf and turf rodizio, or avoid animal products altogether in the veggie version. The large, open dining room has a soft-lit ambiance that proves ideal for all manner of social mealtime rendezvous or dinner dates with imaginary friends. Pampas also lords over a deep vault of wines wrangled from around the globe, ready to grace glasses with flavorful pours and appealing hues.
Texas de Brazil blends the steak-centric cuisine of Texas with the traditional churrasco method of slow-roasting meat over an open flame grill to form a luscious meaty mélange. The full dinner ($39.99) marches out a cavalcade of choice cuts, allowing diners to welcome continuous windfalls of flavorful proteins. Brandish your table's provided card, green on one side, red on the other, and it will function as a meat traffic light that summons servers to either send stacks of seasoned beef, pork, or lamb skewers or halt plate traffic like a decorated culinary crossing guard. Or feel free to substitute greens for the grill by stepping into the sprawling salad-bar conga line ($24.99), two-stepping through toothsome goodies such as imported cheeses, steamed asparagus, and dozens of other hors d'oeuvres.
Hovering just inches from the hot embers of mesquite coals, herb-marinated meats at Yolie's Brazilian Steakhouse are prepared with a deft hand and an eye for tradition. While some diners opt for entrees of filet mignon or seafood pasta, many of Yolie's guests opt for the Rodizio-style dining option. This classic Brazilian style of service means that servers deliver continuous, all-you-can-eat cuts of tender meats such as top sirloin, tri-tip, leg of lamb, bacon-wrapped turkey, and house-made sausage. Rodizio diners kick things off with a salad or black bean soup. Then, they savor sides of polenta, potatoes, and vegetables as skewer-brandishing staffers weave through the spacious, cozily-decorated dining room. Using magic t-bones as divining rods, servers detect exposed plate surfaces, and in a flash, they're tableside, slicing off a few more helpings.