Though it's steps down from street level, the dining room at Circus Restaurante maintains a sunny air. Perhaps it's the circus-themed art, the lemon yellow seats, the bossa nova floating through the room that give the space its warm and tropical feel. No matter, because drifting from the kitchen are the scents of garlic and herbs, coconut and lime?all signs that delicious Brazilian cuisine is on its way. Shortly after opening, the New York Times claimed, "Circus serves the food your mother might cook if you were raised in Sao Paulo or Bahia."
Here are some classic Brazilian dishes to which Circus's kitchen gives a nouvelle cuisine touch.
Muqueca: a bold and spicy stew from northeastern Brazil, made with jumbo shrimp, coconut milk, tomato, and lemongrass
Frango: chicken roasted till it's crisp, covered in herbs and garlic, and served over rice with a bright vinaigrette
Picadinho: hand-chopped beef stew made with rice, beans, and bananas and topped with an egg; traditionally a late-night meal
Feijoada: known as Brazil's national dish, it's a melange of lean beef, pork, and sausage cooked into a stew with black beans and served with rice and greens