A caravel—“caravela” in Portuguese—was a 15th-century ship used by the country’s explorers. The vessel’s small size made it easy to navigate along the coast of Africa and into the Atlantic Ocean. The ship not only gives Caravela its name, but also represents the eatery’s menu, a transatlantic meeting of Portuguese and Brazilian fare. The majority of the selection comes from the sea, too. Shrimp caravela, for one, has jumbo prawns swimming in a lemon-cognac butter sauce. The grilled swordfish is drizzled with a spicy baiana sauce derived from Brazilian cuisine. Of course, there are options for those not craving seafood: chefs fire pork chops, racks of lamb, and filets mignons. The staff serves all of this in a dining room with a nautical theme modeled after Captain Hook’s room at the retirement home.
Wielding knives and sword-like skewers, the servers at Texas de Brazil seem prepared for impromptu duels. However, they only brandish the blades to replenish dinner plates, slicing meat from their spears at the behest of each table. The cuts of steak, lamb, and brazilian sausage are all slow roasted over an open flame in traditional churrascaria fashion—a technique that stems from the campfire meals of Brazilian gauchos, and one that fed the family behind Texas de Brazil during their life in Porto Alegre. In an effort to bring the South American style to the States, they established their first restaurant in Texas, thereby merging down-home charm with Brazilian spice.
Today, Texas de Brazil has expanded to several award-winning locations across the country. Despite the lofty ceilings and chandeliers that characterize their venues, the staff remains rooted in ranchers' habits. They conscientiously grill and season their meat, bake brazilian cheese bread in-house, and pass classic cocktails and loaner saddles over the bar for cowboys who consider chairs unnatural. To complement savory bites, guests can browse more than 50 gourmet sides at the salad bar—a compendium of soups, vegetables, and appetizers such as imported cheeses. They can also ask the resident wine specialist for recommendations on suitable pairings from the cellar.
Two longtime residents, nurse Audrey Hochroth and her husband, contractor Sal Barone, grew weary of traversing the bridge to Manhattan whenever they wanted a good steak. So in 2009, they opened Augie’s Prime Cut—a local place their neighbors could go for delicious steak-house fare, such as slow-roasted prime rib, dry-aged porterhouse steaks cut by hand, and fresh lobster plucked from the tank, without driving to the city or kidnapping a steak-house chef. Audrey recently told the Examiner News that so many customers flock to Augie’s Prime Cut on the weekends that they had to open a new 18-table area upstairs—Augie's Loft—to avoid turning people away.
There's a low-key vibe to Smith Brothers Steak & Chophouse—its simple wood tables are surrounded by vintage liquor ads and a shiny granite bar that reflects the flat-screen TVs behind it. But the team here takes steak seriously. Each signature cut is made with certified Black Angus beef, including a 16-ounce flat-iron sizzler with mushrooms and their signature 6-ounce filet with caramelized onions. Aside from steak, you can also try the shrimp scampi, chicken francese, or center-cut pork chops. Live musicians play on Friday and Saturday nights, as well as whenever it's not Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.
Housed inside a refurbished 200-year-old farmhouse, Stone Manor 101's enormous 14,000 square-foot space is surprisingly cozy. But the two working fireplaces, a long, wooden bar, and shining hardwood floors are just the beginning, as evidenced by a recent The New York Times review. It might be the tall, leather chairs, or it might be the fresh ingredients, all of which are selected daily from the Hunts Point meat and produce markets in the Bronx. With a Mediterranean focus, the menu lists dishes such as bruschetta and artichokes, but centers around a large selection of steaks, from petite filets to a 45-ounce porterhouse for two people or one very hungry growing teen.
Operated by veteran restaurateur Peter Sideris (who has worked at New York's Smith & Wollensky), Hamilton & Ward Steakhouse serves meticulously prepared cuisine with world-class Kobe beef, prime beef that been dry-aged for a minimum of 28 days, and high-quality seafoods. Hamilton & Ward's dinner menu is loaded with several scrumptious cuts, from its signature 48-ounce porterhouse for two ($79) to the 32-ounce Flintstone ($54), a bone-in rib eye that'll stimulate Stone Age–era taste buds and tip over most foot-powered cars. Disguised bears, meanwhile, can hunch into their trench coats and break into a few fresh Maine lobsters (market price) or savor the restaurant's grilled Atlantic salmon ($25). Keep first-date conversations lubricated with any of the 400 wines in Hamilton & Ward's exquisite Mediterranean wine cellar, or guarantee a second with a glamorous glass of Louis XIII Black Pearl cognac, the only liquor to have been elected president of a Micronesian island.