A brief summary of my following long winded thoughts:
Restaurant: Yemanja Brasil
A good place to eat, high novelty rating, good quality,
outstanding service, moderately high price.
I absolutely have to mention this place to all of you, to repay my debt of gratitude to this restaurant for all the fun times I've had there with my friends and family.
Yemanja Brasil is a truly unique dining experience in St. Louis, presenting an authentic version of amazing Brazilian cuisine and culture to the Midwest.
The food is exotic, often extravagant, and the service is outstanding. Appetizers are likely unlike anything you have encountered before. My favorites are the fish croquettes with shrimp flavored dipping sauce (?peixes?), yucca fries with curry-mustard dipping sauce(aipim frita), and the onion/cheese bread (torrandinhas leme). Wash them down with a Caipirinha or two. This is the famous "Brazilian National Drink", a mix of crushed lime, sugar, and Brazilian white rum (Cachaça). They are potent, so don't drink too many. A variety of wines, beer and mixed drinks is also available and they will enthusiastically deliver your white wine (no matter how inexpensive) in a bucket of ice. They also have a selection of imported beers available on a rotating basis. Try the Brazilian dark ale, Xingu (chin-gu)
The entrées are also excellent with a wide variety of daily specials and steady amount of new additions to their regular menu. Tilapia is almost always the catch of the day (they must not be endangered... or else they are very easy to catch). It is never! fishy tasting or fishy smelling, so I always recommend it as an option. Black Bean Beef Stew (Feijoada de Ogum) "The Brazilian National Dish" is noteworthy, it contains an assortment of smoked meats including, sausage, ribs, and jerky. I can also recommend Risotto Copacabana (Rice with coconut milk and chicken - daGurl's fave), Frango Danielle (with more chicken but less rice) and the Vegetarian Risotto (chickenless). The pork loin (lombo ipanema) is hit or miss in my experience.
Most dishes come with a side of yucca pilaf (farofa)and black beans. It's best to mix them together and top them with a small amount of hot oil (use caution!). Some entrées come with the dinner salad, which is served with an almost perfect, sweet and spicy mustard vinaigrette. This can sometimes be substituted with the soup of the day.
The desserts are also satisfying, though I am especially partial to their espresso (cafezinho)[Almost as good as Mokabee's], since I have usually filled myself to capacity at that point and cannot consume another morsel. In my delirious state of satiation and caffeine high, I've been know to partake of the champagne cookies (Tiramisu-like), flan (créme caramel), and some delectable chocolate concoction to test the boundaries of my stomach's elasticity... it held.
Use caution with the hot oil supplied on the table as each batch is unique... some are relatively sweet and mild but others are so hot they will burn you twice.
There is also lot of cilantro in most of the Brazilian food they serve, which has apparently turned lots of people off, because now most dishes have substituted parsley in place of the cilantro unless you specifically request it! (I've actually witnessed people shouting and making a scene because they didn't like cilantro but forgot to tell anyone until it was too late ... shame on them!) Some dishes also have a lot of coconut milk, so if this is something you don't like ask your waiter for his or her recommendation or place a special order.
The decor is also very interesting, take some time to walk around and admire the various works of art that adorn the walls. Outdoor seating is also available in the former alley way, which is now a tropical garden paradise (Nice mural too!). A little mood music, usually piped in, occasionally live, and the setting is complete. Don't forget to complement the owner on her great taste!
One last note on the service:
Ask to be introduced to Samir or his sidekick Louis (Loo-ees)
Two of the happiest, warmest, most honest, and most gracious people you will ever encounter in any restaurant in the world. They will make you feel loved like family, even customarily addressing complete stranges as "hey friend!" I often ask Samir if he will sing a Brazilian folk song, as he always speaks enthusiastically of the music of his native homeland. Though he hasn't yet obliged us, there's music in his veins. We find ourselves applauding him, nonetheless. One night, he recieved a collective three table ovation for his outstanding service. Samir is also world renowned for his sage advice; his suggestions have helped me avert a culinary disaster more than once in the exploration of Brazilian foods unknown...
Listen to him and you'll have a great time.
- crazy_mike & daGurl
- Yemanja Brasil -
- 2900 Missouri at Pestalozzi in Benton Park / Soulard area.
- Phone 314-771-7457
- Hours: recently changed, may be open 7 days/ week (?)
Take Jefferson south from I-44 or I-64/Hwy 40.
Go past Gravois turn left (East) on Pestalozzi
(named for a famous Italian educator?)
Go about three blocks, it's on the SW corner at Missouri.