Restaurants & Bars

Braza-West Hartford, CT (long)


Restaurants & Bars 2

Braza-West Hartford, CT (long)

FarFar | Sep 22, 2005 10:10 AM

Last night, a group of us went to Churrascaria Braza, the all-you-can-eat Brazilian-style restaurant on Farmington Avenue in West Hartford, CT. I have been to this type of restaurant in Sao Paulo, Rio and Belo Horizonte, Brazil and Braza was as good as any of them and better than most. The salad bar that starts the meal (beware-eat sparingly and save yourself for the main event) may not be quite as extensive as you'd find in one of thse places in Brazil, but the number of choices are quite adequate and very fresh. Skip the ordinary lettuce salad, and head for the mussel salad, the sweet potato salad with aioli and the wild mushroom salad. The main meal starts with an assortment of side dishes like pan de queso (Brazilian cheese bread puffs), crisp yucca fries and the traditional farofa (ground manioc). Then the servers that are circulating around the room carrying various meats on skewers begin to bring you the 14 different meats offered every night. The server slices a (thankfully) small piece of meat off the particular selection while you guide it onto your plate with a set of tongs with which you are provided. Braza's meats are tenderer and more flavorful than I remember the meats to be the restaurants in Brazil which tended to be slightly overcooked and dry. My favorites at Braza were the BBQ brisket (not typically Brazilian, but good none-the-less), the steak marinated in olive oil and garlic, the parmesan-crusted pork and the spicy linguica sausage. After the main meal, I was lamenting the fact that my favorite dessert from Rio, creme de papaya com cassis (a pudding-like blend of fresh papaya and vanilla ice cream with a dash of cassis)probably would not be available up here in Yankee land. Then we were presented with the dessert menu and there it was! Braza calls it "papaya cream", but it tasted as good as I remember. I also had a (OK, two or three)cocktail called a "caiprinha", a drink made with cachaca, a Brazilian sugar cane brandy and fresh limes. The Braza version of this unofficial national drink of Brazil was as good as any I've had. Braza is pricey, with a prix fixe of $26 plus drinks, dessert, tax and tip, so it is pretty much a special occasion kind of place. But I'll be back whenever I want the taste of Brazil without the 11 hour plane ride.


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