extramsg | Mar 9, 200512:34 AM     10

Finally got myself to Brazil Butikim, the only Brazilian restaurant I know of in Portland at this time. And luckily, it's a decent one.

Showed up about 20 minutes before closing. Only other people inside were a couple whiteys probably having a little dinner after getting tipsy at the tavern next door. Though the lady who ran the place spoke only slightly more English than I speak Portuguese (ie, not at all), she gave me the international sign for "loopy from alcohol": lifting a cupped hand to the mouth and pretending to knock one back.

The menu has appetizers, sandwiches, salads, meat entrees, seafood entrees, pasta, dessert, and beverages. Prices are cheap. Sandwiches are all under $5. Most entrees under $10, or if over, are made for 2 people or more. Oddly, they have two bento entrees and both are under $5.

I got more than I actually wanted to order due to the language barrier. I started with two appetizers: the coxinha de galinha (chicken croquette, $2.50) and the linguica com mandioca frita (sausage and fried yucca, $5.50). The croquettes were quite nice. Four pieces about the size of a golfball or larger. They had a nicely cooked crisp exterior and a soft and well-seasoned interior. The sausage and yucca was a huge mound of food. I was full before I was done and didn't finish eating the yucca. Both were a little salty, but quite good. Very nice, thin, very crisp exterior on the yucca with the soft and sweet interior. A good portion of linguica, too. Oh, and topped with freshly grated parmesan.

Part of the reason I was getting so full was the beverage I ordered. For $1.80 she brought out a small pitcher of suco de caju (cashew fruit juice). I assume it was the actual fruit's juice, not a blended cashew drink, judging from the taste. Interesting and subtle. Much like the agua frescas you get in Mexico. They also have suco de maracuja (passionfruit juice), Guarana, and fruit smoothies. The pitcher yielded about 3 large cups of juice.

For my entree, I got the bife mineiro ($7.80), the Brazilian version of a salisbury steak. It was a piece of beef somewhat tenderized and topped with nicely caramelly sauteed onions. Better than the beef was the side of creamy black beans. The lady showed me how to top them with yucca flour that's on every table in a sugar shaker. Came with a rice pilaf -- basmati with raisins, corn, peas, and nuts. Also a side of sauteed chiffonade of greens. Not spinach, stronger and thicker. Those, the onions, and the beans were the best part of the dish.

There were other entrees I would have liked to try more. No feijoada, but several coconut milk stews with yucca and miscellaneous vegetables and meat or seafood. All are $14 or more, though, and seem to be intended for two people. For an extra 30%, you can get a larger portion that is indicated to be for three people. They also have two dishes of meat in fruit sauce, frango a brasileira (chicken in mango sauce) and porco a brasileira (pork loin in pineapple sauce). Decided to stay cheap on a first visit, though.

I wasn't even able to finish half my entree and I was majorly bloated. I'm not sure I had even digested last night's BBQ (Jill and I split $40!!! worth of BBQ).

I meant to order a dessert to go for my wife, the pudim de leite condensado (condensed milk flan, $3.50), but somehow ended up ordering a mousse de maracuja (passion fruit mousse, $3.50) for myself as well. Both were decent enough. Smallish portions, but flavor and textures were fine, not great. I think I would have rather gone with another pitcher of that cashew fruit juice.

Overall, I very much enjoyed my meal. It's simple food and cheap food. I'd love to go back and try one of the stews, but will need a partner. If nothing else, I could go back just for fried yucca and sausage, some croquettes, and a pitcher of that freshly blended cashew juice.

Brazil Butikim
12306 SE Powell Blvd
Portland, OR 97236

Open Tue-Sun Lunch and Dinner

Link: http://www.extramsg.com

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