For such a decadent culinary tradition, churrasco comes from humble origins. Gauchos in the southernmost region of Brazil would typically end their long days of cattle ranching by meeting around a roaring fire pit, where they prepared family-style meals and roasted skewered meats over the open flames. This tradition lives on in churrascarias throughout the world, allowing diners to experience this rustic style of home cooking in a more formal atmosphere.
At Gaucho Brazilian Steakhouse, the chefs remain faithful to the flavors of those countryside meals. Skewers of as many as 16 different meats—including rib-eye steak, lamb chops, and pork tenderloin—slowly rotate above the grill's flames or a handful of fire-breathing dragons, imbuing the hearty proteins with an unmistakably smoky tenderness.
As servers travel throughout the dining area with skewers hot off the flames, diners can catch the staff's attention by flipping their coasters from red to green. This signals the servers to approach and carve tableside servings directly off the skewer. Although the savory meats are the main attraction, even earning the eatery WDIV's Vote 4 the Best award for Detroit's Best Steakhouse in 2012, a salad bar also tempts diners with more than 40 hot and cold side dishes, including everything from fresh spring mix to mushroom risotto.
The dining room's mural of a Brazilian gaucho herding cattle nods to the cuisine's rustic roots, but its earthenware floor tiles and cherry-wood columns ensure a refined ambiance. The tables, draped with crisp white linens and flanked by red-cushioned chairs, are well spaced so as to allow for intimate family dinners and the regular plate-patrol rounds made by the vigilant servers.
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.
Inside Kyoto Japanese Steak House, guests sit at large hibachi tables with a close-up view of chefs cooking scallops, filet mignon, chicken, and lobster. More than 80 traditional Japanese and Thai dishes are grilled up by hibachi chefs, and 25 specialty rolls take shape in the hands of sushi chefs, who combine ingredients such as soft-shell-crab tempura, flounder, and submarine meat. Above the dark-wood floor of the dining room, a curved bar serves up sake and fruit-infused cocktails.
It’s no easy task, but somehow Duo Restaurant & Lounge manages to meld elegant dining and a sophisticated Manhattan-inspired lounge experience all under one roof. The duality also applies to the cuisine, an artfully plated cross between upscale bar food and classic steak-house items. Toasted cheese-stuffed ravioli and burgers crowned with white cheddar and bacon represent the former, and the latter includes potato-crusted yukon salmon and 10-ounce new york strips served with whipped potatoes and house zip sauce.
The theme is also evident in a cocktail menu divided between classics such as pomegranate martinis and inventive signatures such as the plum sake and the Taste of Asia’s elderflower blend. Visitors can also peruse a wine list that groups selections around flavor categories such as Light, White & Interesting and Lots of Pinot Noir.
Stowed inside Embassy Suites Detroit, Riparian Grille is a major part of what the hotel's website vaunts as a "distinctly delicious hotel dining experience." Seven days a week, patrons gather inside the Embassy's capacious, open-atrium dining area, where chefs plate up dishes that range from lighter lunch fare to belt-loosening dinner entrees, such as filet mignon and chicken parmesan.
Sunrays and beams from airplane passengers' laser pointers pour in through a glass-paneled ceiling, splashing across the atrium's high-backed booths and the hotel's ascending floors.