Brazil Brazil Restaurant spirits diners away from the helter-skelter streets of New York City into a space rife with french doors, exposed brick, and blond hardwood. Its back patio—a white-trellised three-seasons room and kind of solarium—surrounds guests with lush flora and wrought-iron furniture that exudes the feeling of the tropics, with the scents of grilling seafood wafting over the secluded tables.
This spot is one of the best places to relax in the city, with the New York Times even lauding the patio as a “romantic retreat” and “an ideal place to escape the city’s rapid pace.” Chefs plate flavorful Brazilian dishes such as wine-marinated shrimp or pan-seared red snapper in mango sauce with sides of yucca and fried bananas. Late in the evenings, a Brazilian band starts serenading guests lounging in the bar’s cushy sofa chairs, creating a festive atmosphere. Located next to a host of Broadway theaters, the bistro is a great pre-show spot for on-the-go eaters.
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.
In Carioca Grill's open kitchen, skewers of sirloin, sausage, and short ribs roast in the fiery churrasco. Steam rises from a nearby buffet, forming stratus clouds above hot dishes including fried yucca and shrimp stew. At the back of the dining area, a cashier weighs fare by the pound after taking off its shoes. Though the restaurant has a minimalist, casual vibe, its food brims with complex flavors and tropical ingredients prevalent in Brazilian cooking.
Seen from afar, the food crossing the counter at New York Pão de Queijo might convince you that the bright, tiny storefront is a typical burger-and-shake shack. It's the details that tell you something else is going on—namely, Brazil's wildly creative, colorful take on the American burger and its accessories.
More than 10 beef, veggie, and turkey patties come gussied up with a kitchen sink's worth of fixings, including corn, potato sticks, sausage, house-made Brazilian cheese, banana, and pineapple. Smoothies attempt to balance out the towering feats of indulgence with nutrient-dense combos of papaya, passion fruit, peach, açai, and oats. The kitchen's commitment to snackery is also evident in the signature pão de queijo, a yuca-based bread puff filled with deliquescent cheese. Among other treats, The Daily Meal has praised its traditional bauru ham sandwich and its "great quick snacks" that can easily be downed while playing a typical soccer match.
Caspian Bistro, which was featured on the PBS show Check, Please!, fires a sweeping selection of Persian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean dishes over open flames. Conquer lunch cravings with a fresh-broiled chicken gyro, snuggled into a hot pita alongside tomatoes, onions, and a cucumber-garlic yogurt sauce invented as a sports drink for ancient Olympians ($7.69). Dinner diners can appetize their bellies with the vegetarian dolmeh plate, which envelops split peas, basmati rice, and spices in grape leaves with tomato sauce ($6.79), before diving into the vegetable kabob ($13.69). Other skewers bear hunks of seasoned ground beef ($9.99) and marinated filet mignon ($16.49, served over basmati rice and a choice of vegetables).
Executive chef Seth guides a roster of culinary concoctors, gracefully hewing a menu of steakhouse fare from fresh produce and hormone-free beef. The chef-recommended pomegranate-glazed hanger steak includes mashed yams and brussels sprouts ($35), and the turduckin is a covert operation that employs a chicken disguised as a duck, disguised as a turkey to disrupt diabolical hunger schemes ($24). Peruse the entire Etc. Steakhouse menu online and inculcate the brain with delicious options.