Tag Archives: steakhouse

Rack of Lamb, Lobster Bisque, and Egg Nog Recipes for a Holly Jolly Christmas Dinner

20 Dec


What?  How did this happen?  Christmas is only a few days away!  If you’re like us, you’re probably a bit frazzled and all over the place right about now, so we’ve got three great ideas to make your Christmas  or holiday dinner simply awesome.  We’re talking about a killer rack of lamb recipe, a how-to guide to making a silky and  luxurious lobster bisque, and tips on putting together the perfect egg nog drink.

All of this comes to us from Executive Chef Arturo McLeod of Benjamin Steakhouse in White Plains.  He was generous enough to share these popular dishes from his Christmas menu with us.  Speaking of Christmas, they will be open and will not only have their regular menu, but will also feature a prix fixe dining experience for lunch or dinner starting at noon.  For $59.95 (tax and tip extra) you’ll get your choice of an app, an entree, a side, dessert, coffee/tea, and their beloved egg nog.  Benjamin Steakhouse Westchester is at 610 Hartsdale Road in White Plains and can be reached at (914) 428-6868 for reservations. 

Well, without further ado, here is how to make that succulent rack of lamb, that wonderful lobster bisque, and tips on making some great egg nog. 

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Meat Eating Contest for The Stamford Fire Safety Foundation Fund at Rodizio Grill, Stamford

6 Mar
Stamford Fire Safety Foundation
Update:  The “Last Man Standing” food eating contest is rescheduled for May 9.
Start stretching your stomach because May 9 this Thursday (3/7) at 7 pm there’s gonna be trouble…the gastronomical kind.  Yup, there will be a rotisserie meat eating contest.  We’re talking about Rodizio’s cuts of beef, pork, chicken, and seafood selections that normally you’d get when you flip the cue over to green.  At stake is a $100 cash prize and free Rodizio Grill meals for an entire year.
Look at the steam coming off that sirloin!

Look at the steam coming off that sirloin!

Anyone can enter for $30 per person and meat-hungry onlookers can get the Full Rodizio (all you can eat meat and salad bar) for only $30.13…normally $34.99.  If you’d like to enter and think you’ve got the guts (literally), e-mail rodiziogrillct@gmail.com by 5/9.  A generous portion of the entry fees and meals will go towards The Stamford Fire Safety Foundation Fund.  This is a great organization to support because they provide free smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.  Also, they give out fire prevention materials and give support to the fire departments in Stamford through safety initiatives.

Reap Our First Tastes of Harvest: New American Farm to Table in Greenwich, CT

4 Feb

Mac and cheese can be pretty traditional everywhere you go. Sure, sometimes you might get a fun, surprise ingredient like truffle oil, lobster, bacon, or jalapeno, but usually it’s fairly safe. But, if you’re Harvest Wine Bar & Restaurant in Greenwich, safe and traditional aren’t even in their vocabulary. Instead, their EPIC baked mac and cheese is made from fresh, housemade cavatelli mixed with Cabot white cheddar, fontina cheese, and the pièce de résistance, a hearty amount of short ribs that have been braising in red wine all day, all topped with crispy, crunchy bread crumbs. This awesomeness set the tone for the night of the special pre-opening party!

Short rib mac + cheese

Short rib mac + cheese

During the night we met Vicente Siguenza, owner and manager of the amazing Cava, Scena, and 55 Wine Bar & Restaurant. And, we were geeked out to meet the man behind the food, Chef Eben Leonard. He came out with both our dishes and talked about how he prepared them and how they had evolved over time. Just the day before Eben and his sous chefs cooked every single dish on the menu and all the staff at the restaurant had to taste them. Our server that night said she was throwing the food down like a rock star at first, but then she soon realized the Herculean task set before her and took it a bit easier. The tasting is part of what sets Harvest aside from many other restaurants. They want the staff to know what they are bringing to the table and they want the staff to be able to help people order.

Talking a bit more about the menu, it’s divided up into a few parts that will have you coming back for more. Raw specials (like tartare), snacks and shares, starters, seconds, wood fire grilled steakhouse choices, sides, and desserts. If you’re a wine lover, you’ll be happy to know that they are staring with 120 bottles and will also have 30 different glasses of wine for your drinking pleasure. There are also some beer options, with Half Full taking up 2/3 drafts with their Bright Ale and IPA. Now, back to the food…

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad

Kristien sank down into the short rib mac & cheese, and Dan ordered the shaved Brussels sprout salad, atop a parmesan risotto cake, sprinkled with truffle vinaigrette. When Chef Leonard spoke to us about the dish, we were surprised (and a bit scared) when he told us that the dish before us consisted of raw shredded Brussels sprouts. Raw? Regardless, Dan dug in and really loved the strong cheese flavor that was packed into the sprouts. There was really a great contrast going on there: the richness of the cheese paired with the earthy, slightly bitter taste of the sprouts. The risotto cake beneath had a crispy crust and added a nice solid crunch from the crispy crust. The inside probably could have used just a bit more cooking, but that didn’t stop Dan from devouring every last bite.

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A Slice by Slice Guide to Brazilian Food at Rodizio Grill – Stamford, CT

19 Mar

*Click a picture to start the gallery show*

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…

The Appetizers

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.

The Drinks

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.

6) Peru Com Bacon (turkey wrapped in bacon) was up next.  This was tied with the parmesan sirloin as my favorite cut of the night.  Nice and juicy turkey was wrapped in bacon.  Over the rotisserie the turkey just absorbs all that beautiful smokiness and flavor from the bacon. Kristien didn’t love this one and thought the turkey meat was fatty.
7)  No, we weren’t going to stop, we needed more!  The next slice was the Picanha, the top sirloin.  Ricardo told us this is the most popular cut of beef in Brazil.  It was cooked medium rare, was juicy, and melted like butter.
8)  The meat sweats began at this point, but we trudged on!  The Linguica is a Brazilian pork sausage that came out sizzling.  It was smoky and had a similar taste to a kielbasa.  Try the crispier ends if you see them, or just ask for them.  There’s nothing like that snap when you get down into the sausage.
9) Changing things up again, we were brought Frango Agri-Doce, sweet and spicy chicken.  Yeah, they aren’t lying.  It’s spicy…we love that.  No fake promises here.  The chicken was tender, juicy, and was another of our favorites of the night.  If you like hot wings, this will be one of your go to dishes.
10) We missed our Abacaxi fix while we were up at the salad bar, so Ricardo brought some for us.  The glazed pineapple was great, juicy, and was oh so sweet.  Ricardo’s advice:  keep some on the side and pair it with your chicken and pork dishes.
11)  As mentioned before, Chris had the Assado brought out to us and we were delighted with this pot roast.  The meat was tender, flaky, and was served with onions, potatoes, celery, and carrots, though I only got some onions.  That’s okay, I didn’t really have any room.  Oh, but you know there’s room for dessert when it comes to OmNomCT!
I ordered the Brigadeiro Royal Banana Sundae.  The chocolate cake was light, fluffy, and SUPER duper moist.  The sprinkles all around the cake were fun, too.  Next to the cake was some vanilla ice cream, bananas, and lots of chocolate sauce.  My suggestion would be to dip different parts of the dessert into the chocolate sauce and let the fun begin.  Kristien loved this, maybe even more than I did.
Kristien had Pudim de Leite, a creamy Brazilian caramel flan.  It was definitely creamy and the sauce was flavorful and wasn’t overly sweet like flan sauces can be at times.
Overall Verdict
Rodizio Grill has made it in two other states, has ventured out into Connecticut, and will soon be open in Massachusetts and Minnesota in April.  Although there are some Brazilian restaurants in the area, the ones that we’ve been have had dry, bland meat and kind of lame salad bars, including the much loved Copacabana in Port Chester, which we only liked a tad bit.  The gauchos are smart, funny, knowledgeable, helpful and courteous.  The servers can be a bit flighty and quite slow, but that’s not really fair to say because this was a special VIP meal the day before their grand opening.  I think most of us would be trying to figure things out as the night went along, too.  As for the price, it’s pretty good, especially if you go for lunch.  The salad bar has a great variety of food, the meat that the gauchos bring along is of great quality, too.  Yes, the beef had the tendency to be a bit salty, but this is common for Brazilian meat.  Another added benefit of dining here is that 90% of the menu is gluten-free, yup.  You hear that Dream Desserts and all our friends who live gluten-free?  So, overall, we liked Rodizio Grill and will definitely come back.  In fact, we’re taking Kristien’s parents here after we see The Wall at Yankee Stadium later this year.  Well, we’ll be back without them too.  ;)
Rodizio Grill
Noms:  3.5 (down from 3.75 after a visit on 12/2/12.  Food just wasn’t as good.)
Cost: $$$
Address: 5 Broad Street (next to Target)
                 Stamford, CT
Phone: 203.964.9177
Monday – Thursday:  Lunch:11am-4pm and Dinner:4pm-10pm
Friday – Saturday:  Lunch:11am-4pm and Dinner:4pm-11pm
Sunday:  Lunch:11am-4pm and Dinner:4pm-10pm
Rodizio Grill on Urbanspoon
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