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Boston Area

Churrascaria Rodeo, Woburn


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Restaurants & Bars 4

Churrascaria Rodeo, Woburn

Bob Geary | Jul 22, 2006 04:55 AM

This is the new place in North Woburn (on the north side of 128), at 920 Main St, the space vacated by Ristorante Fiorentino.

We arrived at about 8:00, after cruising Main St a little to find on-street parking. There wasn't much of a crowd - maybe 5 people at the (retro-fab sparkly gold formica) bar, and about 3 tables occupied - but they've only been open about a week. I hope the low population density is a short-term problem. As itaunas has mentioned, the room looks really nice - it's been so long since I ate at Fiorentino's that I can't really tell how much of the decor they kept, but it certainly doesn't feel like one restaurant slapped up over another one.

There's currently only one copy of the wine list - handwritten on a sheet of notebook paper - but they're coming soon. For reds by the glass, they had a merlot and a cabernet whose names I don't recall and which were OK but nothing I'd go looking for a case of.

The full course of salad bar plus "bring me meat until I burst" was $21.95 per person - $10.95 for salad bar alone. They also offer takeout rodizio by the pound - I think $8.95 per pound, you select, they carve. There was a third page to the menu, turned face-down, that had some fish dishes on it, so clearly I'll have to go back in a few weeks (when I'm hungry again) to check that out.

There were two salad bars in a small room off the main dining room - one a traditional (to North Americans at least) salad bar, with romain lettuce, various vegetables (including corn, of course) and dressings, cubes of a mild cheese in olive oil and herbs, etc. The second salad bar contained, to the best of my recollection (I'm missing a few, I'm sure, and I don't know the Portuguese names for things): white rice; red beans; a really really smoky-tasting feijoada (which I loved, but my girlfriend found too smoky - we disagree on barbecue sometimes too, along the same lines); a cut of pork I've never had before - a slice of bacon or something-like-bacon, about a quarter-inch thick, with some very crunchy skin clinging to it; chunks of chicken that had been braised or stewed in something salty and a little sweet, sort of similar to Chinese red-cooked chicken; and a cold mixed salad that had been mixed with what I think (google is your friend) was toasted manioc flour.

Everything from the second salad bar was delicious (my girlfriend concurs on all but the feijoada). The first salad bar was fine, but I'll skip it next time - the opportunity cost is too high.

Then, the meat parade: a wonderful kielbasa, not too smoky and not too spicy (we agreed happily on this one, harmony restored); a smaller sausage, finer-ground and very garlicky; chicken breast wrapped with bacon, which was tasty but a little dry; beef (sirloin?) grilled with a lot of coarse salt (everything was well-salted, it almost goes without saying - but this stood out), delicious and seriously BEEF-y; pork loin, also a little dry like the chicken (I blame the misguided attempts by Food Science to breed leaner pigs); and lamb that was a little fatty and chewy, but delicious and entirely un-muttony. I feel like I'm missing at least one - I'll have to go back and check. When I'm hungry again. (If)

(I didn't see chicken hearts - I saw them on the menu, but I didn't see them ride around the room on a skewer - maybe it's one of those things like chicken feet at dim sum that they don't generally show the gringos because no one wants their customer to go "Ewww!"? I'll ask next time, when I'm etc.)

I was a little surprised that a 15% gratuity was added to the bill for a party of two (though we ate like some parties of six would) - but any discussion of the pros and cons of that practice should go in the General Topics board, not here. Our waiter was careful to warn us that it had been added, though.

I haven't been to Midwest Grill yet, so I can't compare it to that (I keep meaning to get to MG, but I always find myself at East Coast Grill instead, drawn to it as if by powerful science-fiction rays). The last churrascaria I had was at Pampas in Central Square, however long ago that was there - Churrascaria Rodeo compares very favorably to my dim memory of that. Good food, a relaxing comfortable room, the obligatory guitar player/singer was good at both - we'll certainly be going back.

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