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.
Waiters whirl through Grimpa Brazilian Steakhouse's streamlined interior, dancing with swords that skewer more than 15 kinds of meat. Diners can sample steaks and an 18-item salad bar and hot buffet in the art-strewn dining room or on the outdoor patio, where swaying palms and ghost cowboys bring to mind traditional gaucho camps. An onsite wine cellar accommodates international vintages of red, white, and bubbly, and an à la carte menu allows chefs to pair tender cuts of beef and fish with gourmet sauces and sides.
Inspired by Brazilian gaucho—or cowboy—style of cooking meats, the owners and chefs of Brazaviva Churrascaria opened their restaurant and devoted its menu of endless dishes to the Old-World grilling method. As the restaurant describes it, the wayfaring gauchos roamed the expansive grasslands of Brazil's Rio Grande do Sul, skewering their meat dinners and roasting them over a fiery pit, before carving off thin slices to be shared around the fire.
Holding true to that tradition, the eatery's expert carvers bring skewers of fire-roasted beef, pork, lamb, chicken, and sausage tableside to pile plates high. Guests eat as much as they like, using a card that is green on one side and red on the other to indicate to the friendly staff carvers to keep the feast flowing, or to take a moment's savoring pause. Whatever belly room is left over after all cards go red calls for filling up with one of the eatery's unique desserts that swirl South American flavors such as passion fruit and papaya into rich smoothies and mousses. A collection of fine wines selected specially to compliment the charred flavors of the meats is available to complete the experience.
Churrasco-style dining, an endless parade of skewered steaks, is often associated with Brazilian cowboys. European influences shine in mild flavors and new ingredients, and the varied countryside blossoms with a range of exciting fruits and vegetables. All of these aspects mingle at the hands of the chefs at Flavors of Brazil as they prepare a menu of Latin-style small plates and barbecued meats. Diners can share appetizers such as cod croquettes or beef empanadas and then bite into savory courses of linguiça sausage, ribs, and top sirloin steak. Glasses brimming with champagne cocktails click together above plates of caramel-filled churros, all of which brings a pleasant end to a meal, unlike a fortune cookie containing facts about home fires.
Restaurateur Frank Reider began to delve into the ruby depths of wine at his friend's wine soirees while living in Rio de Janeiro. His growing ardor for South American vintages inspired him to open Gol!, a churrascaria with a wine list that earned the restaurant Wine Spectator's Award of Excellence for several years.
Gaucho waiters arrive at each chair offering up skewers of shrimp, salmon, and meat grilled rare in the traditional style. Patrons flip a disk between red and green to indicate whether they'd like more meat or to clear up traffic jams among the waitstaff. A salad bar remains stocked with fresh vegetables and soups as an alternative to the traditional barrage of meat.
Reider found a home for Gol! in a building erected circa 1925. It was originally dubbed the Arcade Building, gaining notoriety in the 1930s as the Arcade and Tap Room. Behind the fully restored façade, cypress-wood ceilings arch over tablecloths and floral displays. Bartenders work behind a bar carved in 1933 from trees whose grandparents were chopped down by George Washington himself. As bossa nova tunes play, the bartenders mix cocktails such as the citrusy caipirinha, which was featured in the Palm Beach Post.
Beer 360's beer selection encompasses more than 300 specialty beers, including 40 on tap and 320 by the bottle. This encyclopedic menu spotlights both domestic and international beers, ranging from Funky Buddha Floridian on draft to Wells Sticky Toffee Pudding Ale from England. Beers here hail from Germany, Belgium, Haiti, and the Czech Republic, imported from afar but served as cold as the day they fell from the magical tap in the sky.
Beer is only part of the draw here. Also contributing to Beer 360's appeal is an extensive international food menu with a hot twist: servers carry cooked-to-order sirloin, pork ribs, and pan-seared shrimp to diners' tables in Brazilian personal brick ovens. The sizzling, tender meats come with sides such as fried polenta and boiled yucca. Beer 360 regularly hosts live bands and outside seating is available.