We went to CHURRASCARIA PLATAFORMA TRIBECA (221 W. Broadway 212 925 6969) for their rodizio style dinner ($55 AYCE) the other night. Here's my take on it.
As you walk in you are greeted by a high ceilinged spacious L shaped room, which for the nabe, is much more expansive than you would think. There is a waterfall, pool, and glass enclosed birdcage style winecellar. It is much more pleasing and sophisticated feeling than its uptown twin in the ambience/decor sense. As the place fills up, you'll probably have nearby tables of rowdy bankers and traders, stuffing themselves with red meat and red wine. This is to be expected and is typical.
The venue moves a lot of alcohol, both hard liquor and red wine, and they will definitely encourage you to drink a lot. It's easy to run up a big tab here. Especially if care is not taken with the wine list. It's extensive, and expensive. If you look carefully you will find some good $40 bottles of wine buried among the overpriced dreck. They stock a large spectrum of lavishly priced large format bottles for celbratory dinners on the expense account.
You start with some crackers and mini cheese puffs freshly baked. They are tasty, but you should not waste stomach space on this. Next comes an impressive salad bar which has (among other things) sushi, beans & bacon, salt cod brandade, scalloped potatoes, hearts of palm, shell fish, pasta ... and more. Again its all very good, but don't allocate your tummy space to this. You came here for the meat.
Now comes the sides (broccoli, mashed potatoes, fried bananas, fried polenta, sauces and crumbles). These two are mere plate ornamentation while you wait for the skewers of meat to start arriving. At this point the tuxedo jacketed waiters will start arriving with (all on skewers) chicken chunks, sausages, duck, prime rib stuff with cheese, top sirloin, filet mignon, leg of lamb, short rib, beef ribs, pork ribs, salmon, chicken wrapped in zucchini, garlic bread from the grill, and more.... The meat is very salty, having been brined in saltwater barrells, but is juicy and flavorful. This is a carnivorous/Atkins festival. When you flip the little circle in front of over (from green to red) the servers will know to give you a breather.
Now the dessert cart rolls around.... There are lots of typical desserts here, but note that they are not included in the rodizio price so you will pay extra for them (as well as coffee / tea etc).
That's no so obvious, but I was the only person put off by it.
In a full blown food coma by now, relax and ponder the magnitude of the bill. The place is expensive; you should plan on spending about $100 per person when drinks and sundries are included. It's the kind of place that would be good for a bachelor party or stag night out, but it's not a good place for a date. Most dates aren't going to be real impressed by your ability to pack away 3 lbs of meat and 11000 calories in one sitting.