Restaurant Review: Brazilian Steakhouse on Central

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If a log cabin seems out of place on the busy Central Avenue, the new tenant, the casual, self-service Brazilian steakhouse, seems like the perfect fit.

The first hint that the Brazilian steakhouse might be hitting the spot is the gleaming meat kebab grates on the charcoal rotisserie grill where pop-up pizzeria Mia Lucci once had its wood-fired oven. Brazilian steakhouse owner Wesley Reis, along with his wife, Gleyce Kelly, and partners Navio and Erica Oliveira, have established the type of fast-casual restaurant common in their home Brazilian state of Minas Gerais: a buffet in self-service with salads, homemade stews and a selection of meats, all sold by the pound. “Come, eat, go” is how Weis sees it. No fuss, no waiting, no need to bother with a liquor license. Stock up on salads and sides, ask for cut meats, churrascaria, made to order and pay by weight. The only real issue I can foresee is the need for an elastic waistband.

Instead of alcohol, Reis offers Guarana Antarctica, the popular Brazilian soda (and hangover remedy) made from guarana berries from the Amazon, as well as freshly squeezed orange juice and fruit juice from the passion or cashew (caju) swirled in machines. If, like me, you’ve now stopped to think about what cashew juice might be, you’ll want to look at a photo of a shiny cashew apple with the nut curled up underneath like a kidney bean in a papal hat. . Its milky mouthfeel is closer to soursop than firm squeezed fruit, and the flavor is a sweet apple-mango. This may be the only place you will find it locally.

Brazilian steakhouse

1647 Center Avenue, Colony

Call: 518-456-1524

The Web: loc8around.com/new-york/colony/brazilian-steakhouse

Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. (Hours are expected to change in the winter.)

Price: Cheap.

Food: Pay-by-the-pound self-service Brazilian buffet and barbecue with small salad bar, traditional stews (stroganoff, pork stew), vegetables, yuca and potatoes, Brazilian desserts ($2 to $4.50 each).

Drink: Soft drinks, passion fruit and cashew nut juices, Guarana Antartica Brazilian soda

Atmosphere: Fast casual friendly Brazilian BBQ and self-serve buffet in a clean and bright (so curious) log cabin setting.

Noise: 1

Good for: Solo meals, noon, evening, take-out, families, groups, ADA accessible.

Noise Rating: 1- Quiet; 2 – comfortable/conversational; 3 – strong; 4 – disruptive.

Price Range: Cheap, Moderate, Fairly Expensive, Very Expensive


We choose meats and watch sword-length skewers being lifted and cut, tender pork loin jus and Brazil’s famous picanha – a premium rump – with a salt crust made sticky with juices slow cooking. I order chicken hearts and a trio – “OK, four, sure, five” – ​​slide off the skewer, each fire-licked, earthy and tangy when chewed. They’re the color of oxblood, shellac smooth and fluffier than I’m used to, maybe from a long stay over the fire, but still familiar, like the ones my mother gave me reserved for the Sunday roasts of my childhood.

Gleyce Kelly and Erica are the home cooks behind the buffet: Tawny Brazilian beef stroganoff, a beast different from the Russian version, is spiked with tomato sauce and heavy cream instead of sour cream and comes with fluffy yuca fries and crispy. There’s paprika-spiced chicken with okra, stewed pork with steamed vegetables, lightly dried breaded whitefish, Brazilian black beans and brown beans cooked with onions and bay leaves and lightly mashed for a sauce thickened with starch. We pull apart the Brazilian cheese bread (pao de quiejo) to squeeze through the merging sauces and crush the taut skins of the blistered sausages as you savor the satisfying, salty brine.

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The buffet can vary slightly, so you can plan to go Friday for moqueca, the Brazilian fish stew, or Saturday for feijoada, a rich pork and black bean stew with an assortment of pork cuts ranging from feet to ears, or, on Sunday, the feijao tropeiro (beans with sausage and green cabbage).

Worth saying, the honest home cooking buffet won’t be overwhelmed: meats flambéed, some perfectly juicy, some drier cuts, but in the quieter evening hours you’ll find staff filling their plates and sharing a late supper.

Reis, who also owns a local cleaning business, owned and sold a Brazilian restaurant in Marlborough, Mass., where, he tells me, there are nearly 25,000 Brazilians (compared to just 1,200 here). He didn’t open the steakhouse to cater to immigrant tastes, but to take Brazilian barbecue out of themed malls – where the passadores, or meat servers, wear the high leather boots and embroidered belts of the cowboys of the southern Brazil – and put it among the diverse culinary offerings on the Central Avenue strip. In his mind, he hopes it will appeal to anyone who “enjoys home cooking”. It makes sense that the sausages are made by a Brazilian company in Holliston, Mass., and almost everything else in-house.

A photo of Brazil colors the space behind a box filled with Brazilian sweets. We learn that the tres leches cake soaked in sweet milk and a chocolate cake come from a vendor, but the wives are behind the Prestigio cake, a chocolate and coconut confectionery named after a Brazilian chocolate bar. with coconut, and the brigadeiro, chocolate with truffles and balls of condensed milk. There’s also Brazilian rice pudding and beijinho, a rich and sticky birthday party treat of condensed milk and coconut rolled into snowballs dusted with coconut and enriched with a single clove of clove. We demolish the maracuja, a surprisingly tangy passion fruit mousse with fruit ice cream with a welcome crunch of black passion fruit seeds.

On the counter, a sign directs you to the free Brazilian coffee, so, really, you can’t go wrong even if you’re close to a food coma after piling your plate with 1 1/2 pounds of carved Brazilian meats. The antidote is a strong drink and one or more Brazilian sweets.

With food at $9.49 a pound, a dinner for three, including three desserts and drinks, will cost around $65 with optional tip; lunch for one could be less than $15.

Susie Davidson Powell is a British freelance food writer from upstate New York. Follow her on Twitter, @SusieDP. To comment on this review, visit the Table Hopping blog, blog.timesunion.com/tablehopping.

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