each year, around the holidays, when we feel like we won't be missed for a few hours, a couple of my colleagues and i head out for rodizio. there was a strong desire to check out the latest offering, both for its novelty and because i have such pleasant memories of the building from having purchased most of my collegiate furnishings and some of my clothing there.
my first impression was that the room is absolutely cavernous. best guess is that it could easily seat two to three hundred. there were two other tables occupied... at lunch time... on a friday. if anyone reading this is in marketing, please head directly to allston. decor is nice. clean. well-lit without being oppressive. they have heads of elk antelopes and the like on the walls. also some hides of curious size. we were guessing that one might be a spaniel and another a pointer. i digress.
our puritanical city has not seen fit to grace these good people as yet with any liquor license. this is tragic. you would think that of all places, somewhere that everyone is eating, and eating copiously, would make sense from a public safety standpoint, but, alas, no. i instead opted for a coke, which was served with a wedge of lime. exotic!
there is a good sized buffet/salad bar. caesar dressing was excellent. could have been a bit more variety among the veggies, but i am of the opinion that it is misguided to go to a churrascaria for vegetables. just my personal meat bias. i really don't do sides, but the plaintains were tasty.
between the starchy sides and the cold salads was...
A SUSHI & SASHIMI BAR.
yes, i think that it is worth shouting about. three typesof sahimi and 6 or 7 rolls. i foresee a day in the future where i return and just eat raw fish. slightly less sacrilicious than going for the salad, but who is going to argue with $10 for all the tuna and octopus you can eat? there were even a couple of gentlemen standing there slicing up big slabs of fish and rolling. it's not traditional, but it works.
for meat, on this very slow friday, they had sirloin, top sirloin, steak kebabs, pork loin, pork sausage, chicken sausage, chicken legs, chicken wings, chicken hearts and turkey tips wrapped in bacon. i'll go through each, and then reiterate that i am giving them the benefit of the doubt because i cannot imagine it would be easy to perfectly cook 10 kinds of meat constantly for maybe a dozen people over the course of two hours.
sirloin - tender. lightly seasoned. never saw a piece cooked to less than medium-medium well, to my displeasure. i thought it could have used a bit more seasoning, but few accuse my tastes or my cooking of subtlety.
top sirloin - they were carrying them on different skewers, and they seemed different, so i am going to believe them that these were not the same. also tender and lighlty seasoned. also tending toward too much heat. we were lucky enough to get one shot at a fresh one that was still mooing. excellent. this cut also had a nice strip of fat, mitigating what in my book was slight overcooking.
beef kebob - not sirloin and cooked to a uniform greyish-brown.
pork loin - these were little salty chunks, not the slab that is sliced off while you grab it with the tongs that i am used to. crispy and tasty on the outside, moist but not juicy on the inside. very impressive.
pork sausage - mixed reviews on this one. i didna think too much of it, but one of my friends thought it stellar. more herbed than spiced.
chicken sausage - again a mixed review. i never knew that a sausage not made from swine could be this good. big chunks of white and dark meat and not a little fat. the basting and firing of the skin was tremendous, giving it a golden crust. the negative review was rooted in a belief that chicken should not be in any form other than chicken. i cannot hold that view against this sausage.
chicken hearts - i skipped them. had them before. consider them innocuous enough. just wasn't in the mood.
chicken legs - whatever they did to the chicken sausage, they did the same thing to the legs. the skin was crisp, golden and slightly salty. the meat was tender to the point of falling apart. alltogether, these were not unlike giant pieces of good peking duck, only less greasy.
chicken wings - at least i think they were wings. solid, but not in the class of the drumsticks in my opinion.
turkey wrapped in bacon - disclaimer: my favorite three words in the english language are "wrapped in bacon". the turkey came out succulent, but the bacon tended to be a bit underdone. conjecture on my part, having wrapped in bacon quite a lot myself, is that they used too much bacon and it was not optimally lean for this application. there was usually on slice from the end that was transcendant, but the bacon from the rest ended up in a pile on the side.
having now put words to it, it was really a bizarro churrascaria experience. the highlights were the sashimi and the white meats. i cannot help but attribute this to beef being less forgiving of fire and the low volume being near impossible for them to handle. the meat stewards also seemed less skilled than they have been in my experiences in similar establishments.
i deeply hope that this place catches on, and that a more suitable volume of business allows them to bring the execution of their beef in line with the pork and the chicken. they obviously have the talent, but are in a tough situation presently. a liquor license would also do wonders. i can be far more forgiving with a decent cabernet on hand. were nothing to change, green field would still be my meat fest lunch of choice in boston. the quality is closer to midwest grill than it is to cafe belo, with the prices being closer, if not even less than belo. for dinner, i would still opt for the wine, music and more richly seasoned option north of the river.
this may have sounded critical, but it was not intended to be. this place is going to see quite a bit of me.
p.s. parking was ample.
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