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Monday, March 19, 2018

A bit of South America in Las Vegas


Texas de Brazil

A bit of South America in Las Vegas

Story by Bob Gourley

Photography courtesy of Texas de Brazil 

I will never forget the look on my young son’s face the time we ate at Texas de Brazil in Fort Worth many years ago. As a family, it was the first time we had ever encountered a churrascaria. The endless parade of skewered meats that came to the table were met with enthusiasm as we all anticipated tasting their juicy goodness.

Even though we have since been to many Brazilian steakhouses, my wife and I were anxious to visit the Las Vegas Texas de Brazil located on the northwest corner of Town Square.

According to our friends at Wikipedia, churrascarias have been around for centuries, starting in the Pampa region. The gauchos of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay performed fireside roasts of meats. Texas de Brazil’s modern version includes selections prepared Texas-style with a lot of rub and fire. 

The Vegas location is much larger than its counterpart in Fort Worth. As you enter the attractive doors, it is like walking into a modern ranch such as you might find on a huge spread in Brazil, with a few rustic edges. The red and black hues are accentuated with large candelabras that have wrought iron finishes. The wait staff wear blue shirts that blend nicely with the color scheme. A large bar area is located to the left where visitors can indulge in a cocktail while waiting. As you are escorted to the table, your eyes will focus on the expansive salad bar, which you know you’ll want to visit several times during your stay.

Even though you know you are in for a great evening of dining, take your time, for the combination of protein and greens will satisfy your hunger for a long time. This experience shouldn’t be rushed.

You will want to order a libation or glass of wine from their extensive lists. The signature cocktail is the caipirinha, made of fresh-squeezed lime, sugar and crushed ice. It is very refreshing, with a burst of flavor at first gulp. A choice of cachaca (like rum, but made from fermented sugarcane juice) comes with it. They have a large wine list, but don’t hesitate to order a vintage from their private label. The pinot noir was light, fruity and went very well with the cavalcade of meats.

Just how do you proceed with the food? I would suggest a first trip to the salad bar. Leave the marker on your table at “Red” so the meat servers won’t show up. The circular layout makes it easy to navigate the plethora of items you will want to ponder before you start loading your plate.

Salads include hearts of palm, tabbouleh, couscous and a unique pineapple carpaccio with fruit slices so thin you will wonder how they were able to do it. There are also lots of hot side dishes including garlic-mashed potatoes, smooth and with just a kiss of garlic. The sautéed mushrooms are delicious, along with jasmine rice and feijoada beans. The potatoes au gratin are exceptional with the sliced spuds sitting in a thinner sauce than you usually find in other recipes. Believe it or not, you will find sushi at the bar and soups like lobster bisque, a thick and tasty affair. As you come back to your table you will find a dish of Brazilian-style fried bananas that you’ll want to inhale quickly.

After the first plate turn the card to “Green” and get ready for some exceptional meats. I do mean “fine,” because the quality of the selections is as good as you will find anywhere. In fact every morsel that came to the table was not only perfectly cooked but as tender and juicy as could be.

One of our favorites were dainty lamb chops. Following, and just as good, were bits of leg of lamb. Picanha is the most flavorful part of the sirloin and it is nicely done here. Chicken breasts wrapped in bacon were another good pick, as were Parmesan drumettes.

After satisfying yourself with meat and salads galore, pause for a moment because dessert is on the way. These delights are not included in the prix fix price, but you will want to try at least one. Brazilian papaya cream is a light almost-milkshake creation that can be ordered with strawberries as well. The chocolate mousse cake, which you will probably finish at home, is a layered collection made with quality cocoa.

It has been a great evening of dining. You are full, happy and wondering when you can do it all over again. Don’t wait too long.


Texas de Brazil

6533 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas


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