Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Dining on a Dollar: Churrascarias

Though my recent weight loss has caused me to steer clear from a lot of meat, I still LOVE churrascarias. If any of you have never been to a Brazilian churrascaria, you are in for a treat! Churrascarias are restaurants where meats are cooked in this special Brazilian barbecue style. The meat is seasoned very well and cooked to perfection (and I'm picky!). They have a fabulous salad bar (I'm talking smoked salmon, hearts of palm, roasted vegetables, fresh mozzarella, and sometimes even sushi or black beans and rice), so even if you are a vegetarian, you can enjoy.

And, they serve the meat by coming to your table with different cuts of meat and they slice it on your plate. Everything is all you can eat, and you can indicate you want "mas" or "no mas" by a chip that has one green side (i.e., "give me more!") and one red side ("I've had enough, at least for now!"). You definitely should wear an elastic waist band to these restaurants or you will be so very uncomfortable afterwards. My favorite is Fogo de Chão, but there are others around the country, such as: Brazzaz, Texas de Brazil, Sal & Carvão, or Fire of Brazil. Dinners at churrascarias in the U.S. are usually $50 a plate (just for food, drink and dessert are extra). Here are some ways you can minimize the damage to your wallet:

1) Go for lunch. Most places have lunch for $30 or under (Brazzaz in Chicago has a special now for $19.99)

2) Go for just the salad bar. Most of these restaurants offer the unlimited salad bar for under $30. This is one way to minimize eating yourself to an oblivion. PLUS, if you go with someone who is getting meat, just take a bite of some of theirs!

3) Look for coupons or specials. Like I said, Brazzaz in Chicago had a lunch special, and I found a $15 off coupon online as well.


Anonymous said...

I have been to the Fogo de Chao near me here in Houston...it's awesome...driving by sometimes I swear I have even smelled the aroma of the meat. I also love the cool, refreshing non-alcoholic Brazilian limeaide, not to be confused with the Brazilian (alcoholic) national drink, caipirinha.

Anonymous said...

In DC, try Fogo de Chao, 11th and Penn, NW

Outside of DC, Mailbu Grill in Bailey's Crossroads

In Orlando, Texas de Brazil on International Drive. That one is about $44pp

pulga diva said...

i've been to fogo de chao and texas de brazil - so so so delicious!

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Anonymous said...

You can also find coupons for "Buy 1 Meal, Get 1 Free" for Brazzaz in Chicago. I am going with 5 other friends and we can use the coupon for all of us. Therefore, we only pay about $25/person vs. the full $50/person.

I have also received similar coupons for nice places in Chicago. This is great for friends on a budget or for a guy who doesn't want to drop $100+ on a date.