New York City is a long way from the Rio Grande do Sul region of Brazil, and the wait staff at Churrascaria Tribeca certainly don’t live the rough-and-tumble lives of gauchos—Brazilian ranchers who gathered around wood-burning fires after hard days’ work to slow cook prime meats. But don’t let these discrepancies fool you. Hunks of bare prime meat are still slow cooked above wood fires at this Brazilian steak house, a faithful nod to the gauchos of days past. And the waiters still carry knives in their belts, which they unsheathe at diners’ requests—via the flip of a colored coaster—to shave off perfectly tender cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and chicken. Every day, amid a parade of skewered meats, waiters march out a specialty dish, such as a roasted suckling pig towed by cart from table to table. To enjoy this spectacular parade of slow-cooked meats, it’s best to have a ravenous appetite—which is trickier than it may first seem. Each meal begins with unlimited visits to the banquet-style buffet and salad bar, where a veritable garden’s worth of vegetables, salads, and seasonal casseroles await. During meals, waiters continuously replenish sides such as fried plantains, mashed potatoes, and cheese bread, and every meal ends with the appearance of a dessert cart full of sweet and decadent treats made in-house.
The epicurean curators at Cachacaria Boteco cultivate hearty meals of traditional Brazilian fare and drinks served beneath soaring ceilings and a chandelier of exposed bulbs. Servers bear morsels of pao de queijo, or cheese buns, and kibe, or fried meatballs, across the black-and-white checked floor during fast-paced games of human chess. The sugar-cane-rum blend of caipirinha, Brazil’s national cocktail, flows as freely as the orange curtains that frame potted palms and flat-screen TVs.
In the curtained-off dining areas of MarkJoseph Steakhouse, where patrons slice into Zagat-lauded morsels of prime dry-aged porterhouse, a “wall of fame” shows celebrities from Celine Dion to ¬Sopranos cast members grinning with their pleasure in MarkJoseph’s hearty, gourmet menu. Wine racks stripe the steakhouse’s earth-toned walls waiting patiently to add their rich bouquets to patron’s meals of artfully prepared beef or coral-hued lobsters accented with perfectly acidic lemon wedges. So beloved is the spot’s celebrity-approved cuisine that the steakhouse sells bottles of its own signature steak sauce, ready to assist home cooks.
A restaurant, no matter its size, can be an intimate place. Bobby Van knew that well. If you'd walked into his first restaurant in the Hamptons 40 years ago, you might have found him playing the piano or slinging drinks behind the bar—inflecting the place with his personality, making a connection with the guests who dined there. He made such a big impression that 40 years later his name still graces a family of grills and steakhouses with a meaty legacy all their own.
The menu at each eatery opens with an assortment of salads and seafood appetizers, which may include delicate crab cakes or chilled lobster cocktails. Entrees may prove to be the hardest course to decide on, with a selection that includes lamb chops, fish, and steaks ranging from filets to sirloin to marbled porterhouses big enough to feed two, three, or four. Each space also holds a full bar stocked with spirits as well as wines handpicked by the sommelier.
Delmonico's Restaurant, the original, opened its doors to Manhattanites in 1827, bringing to the city's dining scene many firsts. The eatery offered the first private dining rooms, and the first baked alaska and steakburgers to enjoy therein. It has, according to the Wall Street Journal, remained an eatery favored by executives and traders looking for a bit of red meat between workdays. It's smaller cousin, Delmonico's Kitchen, provides similar dishes for a more casual crowd in Midtown.
Delmonico's Kitchen's chefs prepare plenty of the same classics to be found at their parent restaurant, including the 40-ounce vintage porterhouse steak for two or the DK Double Burger, a slight re-imagining of the original 1834 steak burger. The main difference between the two locations, in fact, lies more in preparation. The Kitchen sources its food from local growers and organic farms, using the seasonality of ingredients to add some unexpected twists to classic Delmonico's dishes.
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.