Texas de Brazil blends the steak-centric cuisine of Texas with the traditional churrasco method of slow-roasting meat over an open flame grill to form a luscious meaty mélange. The full dinner ($39.99) marches out a cavalcade of choice cuts, allowing diners to welcome continuous windfalls of flavorful proteins. Brandish your table's provided card, green on one side, red on the other, and it will function as a meat traffic light that summons servers to either send stacks of seasoned beef, pork, or lamb skewers or halt plate traffic like a decorated culinary crossing guard. Or feel free to substitute greens for the grill by stepping into the sprawling salad-bar conga line ($24.99), two-stepping through toothsome goodies such as imported cheeses, steamed asparagus, and dozens of other hors d'oeuvres.
In the kitchen at Mark's Prime Steakhouse, cherry and pecan flicker and pop in a wood stove. The smoke penetrates into thick cuts of U.S.D.A. beef and fresh seafood brought in from Mayport in Jacksonville. For filets, strips, or bone-in rib eyes, chefs singe a flavorful crust over each chop's juicy center before plopping it onto a plate sizzling with butter.
Servers with black vests and bow ties escort the prime proteins to diners' tables, where their conversations dance over dinner music by mid-century crooners, and light from the ceiling's stained-glass dome splashes onto dark woods. Nearby, martinis, classic cocktails, and a wine list—which has garnered Wine Spectator's "Award of Excellence" every year since 2004—rest on a vintage bar. Salvaged from the La Concha Inn in Key West, the tiger mahogany bar was built in 1873 during an era when bars were called saloons and bears were called mega-squirrels.
It's no wonder Vines gives equal weight to "Grille" and "Wine Bar" in its name. The Restaurant Row anchor is hugely popular for its top-quality meats and fresh-caught seafood; a meal could begin with grilled octopus or oysters Rockefeller before transitioning to a cut of Prime filet. But the wine list is at least as impressive, a catalogue of 600-plus bottles from around the world that's been recognized with a Wine Spectator Best Award of Excellence. After dinner on any given night, guests can linger over a fine cigar or a gentlemanly mouthful of chewing gold as they listen to live jazz music from the likes of Tonya Phillips Staples and Barbara Walker.
The chefs at each Copper Canyon Grill, a mid-Atlantic favorite, craft their regional American dishes from scratch every day. Their kitchens fill with flames and savory aromas as they roast meats and vegetables over hardwood fires, making customers happy, but leaving behind bare earth at local basketball arenas.
The kitchen yields hearty servings of grilled prime rib and filet mignon, ahi tuna and Atlantic salmon, and Delmarva-style crab dip and Eastern Shore jumbo lump crab cakes. It also tempts with a signature rotisserie chicken and jalapeño- and serrano-pepper cornbread baked in an iron skillet.
When it comes to grilling, the churrrascaria charcoal grill at Cafe Mineiro Brazilian Steakhouse seems to always be roaring. The menu offers three ways for diners to cut their teeth on flame-grilled meats: the à la carte menu, a buffet of hot and cold dishes, or full traditional rodizio meals.
During a night at Cafe Mineiro, you might run into a few unfamiliar terms, defined below.
Churrasqueira: Roasting meat over an open flame in the great outdoors sounds like something cowboys would do. In southern Brazil, those cowboys are called gauchos, and the grill, a churrasqueira. At Cafe Mineiro, the churrasqueira is indoors, but its flames still slow roast each skewer of meat until they are just so.
Rodizio: In Brazil, rodizio simply means "all you can eat." But in the United States, it means "all you can meat." Diners devour as much meat from the churrasqueira as they want; but they never have to leave their seats. Instead, the meat comes to them, via passadors.
Passadors: Holding skewers loaded with fresh-grilled meats, the servers—or passadors—navigate the dining room. When a diner gives the signal, the passador neatly slices a cut of meat from their skewer directly onto the plate.
Picanha: Among the 14 cuts of meat, which include bacon-wrapped filets, chicken hearts, and pork loin, the most decidedly Brazilian is picanha, a cut of beef taken from the top of the rump.
Though the chefs at Vick's Restaurant specialize in classic American meat dishes such as porterhouse steaks and ribs, they aren’t afraid to look toward the sea for culinary inspiration. Alongside their signature meats, they fill an eclectic steakhouse menu with lobster tails, a variety of fish filets, and fresh shrimp, which they can skewer, coat in coconut breading, or shower over noodles. The chefs’ seaward gaze, however, doesn’t just stop at the water—it extends to faraway lands thousands of miles away. You're just as likely to find them cooking Italian pastas or grilling chicken in the hibachi style of Japan as you are to find them sizzling up tender cuts of American-style sirloin or fresh tilapia. All the while, servers tote these international dishes alongside glasses of wine and beer to guests in the airy dining room.