Being American I must say I have mastered the art of the “all you can eat”, but I definitely met my match at the Barbacoa Brazilian restaurant in Milan last weekend. Barbacoa is a Churrascaria, or Brazilian styled steakhouse. It is also a “Rodizio” style restaurant meaning all you can eat. The restaurant is set up to where you have an open buffet of various appetizers and side dishes ranging from rice and beans, different types of salads, seafood dishes and cold meat plates. You also have an endless supply of meat served right at your table. When I sat down I saw what looked like a poker chip by my plate. One side was red and the other green. Basically when you have the red side up it means you don’t want to be served at the moment, but as soon as you flip it over it’s game on. I had just turned over my token when the first Passadore swooped over to my table to offer me my first taste of Brazilian styled meat. Passadores are specially trained in the art of cooking, serving and slicing meat. There were about 10 of them circling around the restaurant with various types of meat fresh off the grill served either as whole cuts on wooden cutting boards or on large skewers. When they see your green token they rush to your table, tell you the cut and type of the meat, slice it for you and then run off to the next table. I started off strong trying various cuts of filet mignon, rib eye, top and bottom sirloin, ribs, lamb, chicken and pork all cooked and seasoned to perfection. About forty minutes in I flipped my chip to take a breather and prepare myself for round two narrowing down my selection to my top three cuts: baby beef, filet mignon and “picanha” known as the rump cap in the States. Round two I started to slow down a bit, but the meat was so tasty I had to get a couple more servings of picanha before throwing in the towel. Two hours later dinner was over and I had survived my first Brazilian rodizio like a true Gaucho. Now I know that we have top of the line steakhouses all over America, but I definitely recommend trying out a Brazilian churrascaria. There is something enchanting about the way the Passadores dance around the room, skillfully slicing every piece of meat in a particular way, leaving you with a truly unforgettable experience and a very satisfied belly.
What’s your favorite cut?