The layout of Rio Rodizio is telling: with a candlelit dining area in one section and a long bar lined with flat screens in another, it's as much a place to take a date for a romantic meal as it is a spot to grab a drink after work. In the dining room, gaucho chefs carve cuts of lamb, beef, and pork right at the table, forcing diners to clear plate space next to seared fish, homemade pastas, and sushi rolls drizzled in flavorful sauce. Like a home that's been decorated by robbing a furniture store in the dark, the cocktail menu is a fusion of tastes, its Asian and Brazilian proclivities represented by sangrias, tropical juices, and sake.
Vintage bicycle-themed artwork and patches of exposed brick add a certain cozy charm to Zebú Grill’s dining room, where the chefs serve everything from housemade Brazilian sausage to flan. Tropical ingredients accent most of the food and drinks—shrimp braises in coconut milk, wild salmon wears a coat of açaí sauce, and caipirinha cocktails made from Leblon cachaça muddle fresh lime and sugar.
Two of the eatery’s signature dishes include a churrasco platter with steak, chicken, sausage, rice, and beans, and Brazil’s national dish, feijoada: a black-bean stew with sausage, pork, and beef. For less-meaty dishes, the chefs also hollow out acorn squash, carve a hungry face into its surface, and fill it with seasonal veggies.
In accordance with the customs of rodizio dining, this restaurant’s meat cutters carve up prime beef tableside and then pass it out on skewers. They also cart around a whole roasted pig, slicing off succulent morsels for diners to devour throughout the prix-fixe meal, which includes a first course at a buffet of Brazilian delicacies.
For Sam Mickail, food is autobiographical. Born in Cairo, the first spices he smelled were hearty Mediterranean blends. He then spent most of his childhood in France surrounded by the cooking of world-class chefs, eventually leaving for Switzerland to turn his love of food into a bona fide culinary craft. Now, in America, he channels all of these influences and global experiences into cooking, lending his talents to numerous restaurants and further exploring all the cooking styles that inspired him throughout his life. This surfaces most clearly in Sam Mickail’s CUT Steak House, where he’s free to put international twists on the time-honored tradition of cooking delicious steaks.
Sam coats his filet mignons and porterhouses in delicious béarnaise, au poivre, or perigourdine sauces, according to his customers’ wishes. He also serves fresh oysters at his raw bar, slathers lobster tails in butter, and batters escargot with a champagne crust, a creation he calls drunken snails for their complete inability to slither in a straight line.
Bloomfield Steak & Seafood House dishes up a dry-aged menu of steak, seafood, and Italian classics. Dinner guests marvel at the building’s 341 years of history before being startled into the present by the wild-eyed stare of angry jumbo shrimp ($12), a spice-flecked starter that careens from the kitchen still glistening from the pan. Having undergone 28 days of in-house dry-aging, steaks, such as the 16-ounce new york strip, fill plate centers, flanked by a garden salad and a choice of garlic mashed potato, baked potato, yellow rice, french fries, or broccoli ($36). Pelagic delights swim amid the menu's steak islands, as well, singing siren songs with such entrees as jumbo shrimp stuffed with jumbo lump crabmeat and butter sauce ($22) and add-on options including broiled 6-ounce lobster tails ($16). Moods can be marinated in soft drinks ($2), house wine ($21/bottle), or a selection of draft beers and spirits.
Housed inside a refurbished 200-year-old farmhouse, Stone Manor 101's enormous 14,000 square-foot space is surprisingly cozy. But the two working fireplaces, a long, wooden bar, and shining hardwood floors are just the beginning, as evidenced by a recent The New York Times review. It might be the tall, leather chairs, or it might be the fresh ingredients, all of which are selected daily from the Hunts Point meat and produce markets in the Bronx. With a Mediterranean focus, the menu lists dishes such as bruschetta and artichokes, but centers around a large selection of steaks, from petite filets to a 45-ounce porterhouse for two people or one very hungry growing teen.