The layout of Rio Rodizio is telling: with a candlelit dining area in one section and a long bar lined with flat screens in another, it's as much a place to take a date for a romantic meal as it is a spot to grab a drink after work. In the dining room, gaucho chefs carve cuts of lamb, beef, and pork right at the table, forcing diners to clear plate space next to seared fish, homemade pastas, and sushi rolls drizzled in flavorful sauce. Like a home that's been decorated by robbing a furniture store in the dark, the cocktail menu is a fusion of tastes, its Asian and Brazilian proclivities represented by sangrias, tropical juices, and sake.
There’s no questioning Berimbau chef Carlos Inacio’s intimate connection to the cuisine of Brazil when you scan his menu, a focused collection of dishes rich with traditional ingredients such as calabresa sausage, yucca, and seafood. He hails from the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, an area known for its “stellar cuisine,” according to New York magazine, which also lauded Berimbau as a “pioneer” among NYC Brazilian restaurants. Berimbau is far from a common rodízio steakhouse, although there’s no lack of pork or steak on the menu. But instead of all-you-can-eat feasts, patrons select elegant presentations of distinctive dishes, such as fraldinha, grilled skirt steak served with yucca purée, sautéed collard greens, and creamy hearts-of-palm sauce. Chef Carlos continues to position his homeland’s food in a fresh, colorful context through dishes such as risotto with asparagus, sautéed shrimp, and cilantro butter. Berimbau’s wine list has been curated with pairing in mind, and the white, sparkling, and red wines—categorized as either Old World or New World—add grace notes that perfectly emphasize the potpourri of Brazilian flavors. But the beverages of choice here are the caipirinhas—Brazilian cocktails that can be mixed with passionfruit, strawberry, coconut, mango, or lime.
In accordance with the customs of rodizio dining, this restaurant’s meat cutters carve up prime beef tableside and then pass it out on skewers. They also cart around a whole roasted pig, slicing off succulent morsels for diners to devour throughout the prix-fixe meal, which includes a first course at a buffet of Brazilian delicacies.
Vintage bicycle-themed artwork and patches of exposed brick add a certain cozy charm to Zebú Grill’s dining room, where the chefs serve everything from housemade Brazilian sausage to flan. Tropical ingredients accent most of the food and drinks—shrimp braises in coconut milk, wild salmon wears a coat of açaí sauce, and caipirinha cocktails made from Leblon cachaça muddle fresh lime and sugar.
Two of the eatery’s signature dishes include a churrasco platter with steak, chicken, sausage, rice, and beans, and Brazil’s national dish, feijoada: a black-bean stew with sausage, pork, and beef. For less-meaty dishes, the chefs also hollow out acorn squash, carve a hungry face into its surface, and fill it with seasonal veggies.
Diners recline on the aged-black-leather chairs at Christie's Steakhouse, sipping martinis as they watch as they watch international travelers drift in and out of the Crowne Plaza hotel. Servers emerge from the kitchen, nimbly juggling plates of Black Angus steaks, fresh seafood dishes, and artisanal pizzas. They set plates down on linen-clad tabletops, their faces illuminated in the glow of soft hanging lights and five glimmering widescreen TVs.
The chefs at Arirang Hibachi Steakhouse are artists, and their media are beef, blades, and fire. Behind tabletop grills, the red-hatted specialists slice and sizzle meats at lightning pace, then fill the freshly-dropped jaws of their clientele with the resulting savory cuts of sirloin and filet mignon. The hibachis cook up lobster tails, chicken, and and shrimp as well. Not everything is flaming hot, however. Arirang also boasts an impressive sushi menu, with unique offerings such as the coconut shrimp roll with raspberry puree, and their bar pours out everything from imported Japanese beer to specialty cocktails.