In parts of Brazil, families and friends come together during a centuries-old tradition called churrasco. At these festive barbecue-style gatherings, hosts cook enormous amounts of food, and guests eat until they're stuffed. Inspired by that tradition, Elaine Lima opened Brazil Grill with a similar vision in mind. Here, the grill runs all day, rolling out an assortment of juicy meats that includes pork loin, ribs, lamb, and top sirloin presented in a colorful buffet alongside vegetables and other Brazilian-style sides. It's a simple setup that makes guests feel as at home as they would at their own friend's barbecue.
Each day, McGuire's chefs seek out seasonal vegetables and greens from local vendors to pair with their high-quality cuts of beef, fresh seafood, free-range organic chicken, and rich, saucy pastas. They then get to work preparing a champagne mignonette for oysters on the half shell, drizzling truffle honey on cheese plates, grilling Maine lobster tails to place in the risotto, and cooking Himalayan red rice to pair with the Chilean sea bass.
The restaurant's stately stone-and-brick building is nestled in the heart of Albany's Center Square district, a short walk away from the New York State Capitol building and mere steps from crowds of confused tourists who thought the capital was in Manhattan. On clear days and balmy nights, patrons dine al fresco on the sidewalk seating that wraps around the corner of State and Lark streets, enjoying their meals and fine wine as they watch scenes of city life unfold around them.
Chef and Restaurateur Carmine Spiro has proven his prowess in the industry, with previous eateries that include an Italian restaurant and a Brazilian churrascaria. Though his menus change and shed pages seasonally, his commitment to fresh food and a communal experience remains constant. At Carmine's Restaurant, his staff decorates risottos and fresh pastas with proteins such as gulf shrimp, pork loin, and veal. These dishes are given an extra bit of European oomph with finishing touches of limoncello, smoked mozzarella, and marsala wine. Diners savor each bite within the dining room's bright-red walls and colorful, tiled backsplashes or beneath a green umbrella on the outdoor patio.
Tango?s chefs dance around the culinary traditions of Italy, Spain, Argentina, and Uruguay. They tuck spinach into house-made ravioli and build the chivito al pan, a traditional Uruguayan sandwich stuffed with filet mignon, bacon, cheese, and one over-easy egg. The kitchen?s flame-kissed grills cook short ribs, blood sausage, and sirloin steaks slathered in Argentinian black pepper sauce. Grilled lobster tails and seafood paella highlight the seafood options.
Northern Berkshire peaks peek through the windows of Taylor's, where surf and turf unite in a lamp-lit, exposed-brick dining room. An army of appetizers kicks off the menu, including the baked brie, which is infused with grapes and sprinkled with brown sugar, walnuts, and apples ($8). A fresh garden salad sidekicks every entree, serving as a momentary plate mate for hearty dishes such as the filet mignon ($24) and its aquatic, redundant counterpart, grilled mahi-mahi ($21). The ratatouille with tofu forgoes filets for a mix of stewed eggplant, zucchini, and tomatoes that are fresher than haircuts of the eighties ($16).
The grill masters at Caminito Argentinean Steakhouse stay true to their culinary roots with a distinctly South American cooking tradition, which begins with hormone-free meat from cows that were fed a vegetable-only diet and raised on pastures instead of in cages. Manning a cast-iron grill stoked by locally sourced hardwoods, the expert chefs fire-kiss select cuts of beef to smoky perfection, infusing filet mignons, skirt steaks, and short ribs with rustic flavors that pair harmoniously with the restaurant’s robust selection of Argentinean red wines.
Although Caminito’s wood-fired steaks have earned it the Valley Advocate’s award for Best Steak House from 2010 through 2013, the menu proves that the restaurant does not live and die by expertly charred beef. Lobster-filled ravioli, pan-seared salmon, and seasoned chicken breasts showcase the kitchen team’s culinary repertoire, in addition to vegetarian entrees that aren't just snapshots of steak printed on soy paper. Refreshing sips of ale from Peak Organic Brewing Company complement hearty bites, and spoonfuls of flan and mousse bring meals to their bittersweet conclusion. On weekends, the acoustic strumming of guitarist Alvaro Olvera Sanchez nourishes famished ears with flamenco notes and classic Spanish songs.