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Things in Connecticut have gotten a beat meatier! Yes, Rodizio Grill, which has two locations in Colorado, two in Utah, one in Florida, is now open for all you carnivores in Fairfield County. We were lucky enough to be treated to a sneak preview on Friday, which we’re (of course) sharing with you in every juicy, meaty detail.
In a few words, Rodizio Grill is a Brazilian Steakhouse (actually the first ever in America) that gives you two main lunch and dinner options: The Full Rodizio or the Salad Bar. Starting off, The Salad Bar is $13.99 for lunch or $22.99 for dinner. That includes unlimited appetizers, salads, and hot food at the bar but no meat from the gauchos (those are the dudes that walk around 1,000 times a day carrying meat on a stick). Oh, you want meat too? Then you should order the Full Rodizio at $19.99 for lunch or $34.99 for dinner. This includes the salad bar, too, so when you do the math, you actually can end up spending a lot less here than at other restaurants. Bringing the fam? Kids 7-12 are $9.99 all day, kids 3-6 are $6.99 all day, and any younger than that is no charge.
So, let’s get down to it…
When your server greets you, you’ll need to figure out what you want. Hint: order The Full Rodizio. Whatever you order, you’ll be given a platter of fried bananas and glazed pineapple to help your digestion…and you’ll need lots of digestion with what’s in store. Just when you think you’d had enough starters, they bring ya a plate of crispy polenta fries dusted with parm and some Pao de Queijo, that’s Brazilian bread made with some yucca flour and cheese. These were both ok, but with what’s in store, we’d recommend not filling yourself up on ’em.
We had heard that the drinks here are great, so we leapt in. Kristien ordered the sangria. She really liked it because you could actually taste the wine and liquor in it and it wasn’t weak. Just the right mixture. Although I have had a caipirinha in the past and didn’t love it, I decided to go with the experts at Rodizio. I wasn’t disappointed and actually found my most favorite drink in the world! Caipirinha is made from a liquor distilled from sugar cane called cachaça and is a Brazilian national favorite. If you love lime, this is your drink. The lime flavor is bright, refreshing, and the liquor is just right here. I polished off three of those and even tried a different version at the end of the night, the caipituba. It was the same drink but then they added in Ubatuba Guarana, a fruit only from the Amazon. This was much sweeter than the original drink because of the fruit and had lots of fizz. I’ll stick with my caipirinha, though I bet lots would like the sweeter caipituba.
The Salad Bar
There are too many options to mention, but there are plenty of veggie salads, pasta salads, potato salad, coleslaws, cheeses,olives, veggies, bread and even hot dishes like mashed potatoes, penne Alfredo and more! While you can look at the full list here, we’ll go through some of what we ate so you know what to pile up on. While the potato salad was just okay, the macaroni salad was great with bits of tomatoes in it. The fennel salad had celery, raisin, and apples all mixed in to make a very good, refreshing salad. The quinoa salad was light, fresh, and herby. The pork salad was good and served cold. Cubes of pork mixed in with peanuts, raisins, and celery with an Asian inspiration twist. And…wow was the Coconut grilled pineapple slaw very coconutty! Yeah, I made that word up. The mashed potatoes were buttery and creamy with chunks of red potatoes and potato skins and the rice and beans were tasty too!
The Cue and the Guachos
The gauchos are very knowledgeable and will help you with whatever you might need. One of our favorites, Chris, sought out the Assado (pot roast) just for us because he is just that awesome. He made us laugh throughout the night with his goofy antics. Our other favorite gaucho was Ricardo who came from Brazil just five years ago. He told us that we could tell them how we wanted our meat – rare, medium rare, medium…however we liked it, and they’d get it for us. Ricardo also talked to us about Brazil and where we should visit if we took a trip there. Really great people working here. Well, onto the food.
If you’ve ordered the Full Rodizio, flip your red/green cue over to green. Now, pay attention. They won’t stop bringing your meat until you turn it over to red. Seriously, the gauchos are like the Energizer bunny…but you are in control. We flipped our cue over, grabbed our tongs to pull off the meat as they cut it and let the madness begin!
The Meat from the Gauchos
1) My favorite cut was a cube of Picanha com Parmesao (parmesan sirloin) that was cooked medium. The beef was juicy, while the parm brought a nice kick and contrast to the earthiness of the meat. This, along with the all the other beef dishes was very salty. Kristien and I both like it that way, but not everyone will.
2) The Maminha, tri tip sirloin, was good, a drier cut. This was one of our least favorite, but we’d probably try it again medium rare.
3) Up next was Fraldinha, beef tender. The flavor is intense, very earthy. This is a beef lover’s favorite pick.
4) Things got switched up when the Presunto (glazed ham) came over. Kristien shouted out, “Oooooh,” and I knew it had to be good. She usually doesn’t like ham one bit. The skin was really amazing with the sweet caramelized glaze. Definitely be sure you get some of that. I loved it too and proceeded to take some of hers.
5) Kristien had another delight when she took a bite of the Alcatra, the whole sirloin. Her favorite part was the burnt fatty ends. This cut was served to us medium well, was juicy, and full of flavor.