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Apr 24, 2006 06:45 PM

Best Brazilian steakhouse in Triangle, NC

  • j

It appears that the Triangle now has 3 different choices in Brazilian steakhouse, none of which have I yet tried:

1) Brasa - Brier Creek:

2) Rio - N Raleigh OR Cary:

3) Chamas - Durham:

Could those who have sampled at least 2, if not all 3, please weigh in on your recommendation? I would greatly appreciate the opinions. Thanks!

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  1. I've been only to Chamas but I like it very much. The meats are are always juicy and flavorfully seasoned (I'm less thrilled by the buffet), and the room is handsomely done up in wood. In all it's an attractive and fun place to eat -- a great place to hold a party or to bring children. I'll have to try Rio some time.

    David A.

    3 Replies
    1. re: David A.

      Wow, you and I must have gone on different nights. I recall a parade of gristle and old garlic, each cut being well past medium. Looking at the packed house, I was thinking what a shame it was that people obviously valued quantity over quality.

      The salad bar seemed to be an assortment of US Foodservice canned products.

      Oh well, to each his own.

      1. re: porktaco

        This is indeed odd. I've been to Chamas maybe five or six times. Whenever family is in town I take them there in order to avoid the usual menu wrestle. Everybody enjoys it. As far as the meat goes, I've never had a complaint; I've always found everything nicely prepared. There is one thing to keep in mind: you may need to request a piece that's rare or medium. I've found the servers know their own meats and are always willing to oblige.

        David A.

        1. re: David A.

          Can't speak to Chamas, but at Rio it's entirely possible to get overcooked gristle too, but as long as you specify your level of cooking & cut of meat, everything is fine usually. Rio Churrascaria is very good, although there are certain cuts that I tend to avoid -- I believe the bottom loin, and IIRC the lamb wasn't all that great, nor was the bacon-wrapped chicken. It's all about the picanha and the top sirloin for me. I think their salad bar is fantastic too. A coupla caipirinhas makes a good warm-up for the marathon.

    2. porktaco is right. chamas sucks. gristle and overcooked garlicky meat rule here. david a, i was there two months ago, and yeah, you can specify how you want the meat cooked, but they still give you the same hunk of medium-cooked low-grade meat. their top sirloin is the exception, but for $32, one cut of meat isn't worth it. at good brazilian steakhouses, they slice you a piece of meat, whereas at chamas you're almost rushed out with huge hunks of meat on your plate. they kill the atmosphere when you turn your card and are swarmed by everyone trying to unload more meat on your plate, so you feel sick, leave, and they can go home. they definitely don't rush you out because of a wait, because the place is way too big for how many customers they have. i;ll have to try the one at brier creek, because it is a fun and delicious meal when done properly... just not at chamas.

      1. We have been to Brasa and Chamas. Chamas was definetly a waste of money and time. The meat was well, well done, regardless of what we asked for. I also agree with the gristle, overcooked garlicky meat! Yuck! We went once, and will not return for a second try. Brasa was okay. We have been there once, and the meat was over salted, our waiter and the manager promptly took care of this. The meat was a little overcooked that night, but a private party of about 50 people were finishing when we arrived, I think they over salted to preserve, and it became overcooked when they reheated not judging the private party's appetite. My husband has been to Brasa several times on business and reports, we went on an off night for them. We will try it again. We are trying Rio in Cary tonight, I will report back. I think the biggest problem is that my first experience with a Brazilian Steakhouse was in NYC, CAN NOT be beat!! If you are ever in NYC, you must try the Brazilian Steakhouse in Times Square!!!

        1. I feel like Chamas isn't all that bad. I've been like four times and some of the stuff is actually quite tasty. Never had a problem with overcooked or gristly meat, so I'm surprised by the other complaints. Could have something to do of the day of the week or the luck of the draw. The garlic, yeah, it's there but not on all the cuts. The cold buffet isn't bad either if you know what to grab. Granted, most of it may well come from bags, cans, etc.

          The thing that pisses me off about Chamas, and I'm assuming other rodizio in the area because I haven't heard otherwise, is the lack of offal. Would love to see some chicken hearts and things like that.

          On that note, I want a yakitori-ya down here.

          1 Reply
          1. re: BryanZ

            I'd have to go with Smilikin in that I've been to Chamas 6 times (our work goes there for quarterly celebrations), and only twice has certain cuts of meat been poor, but it's all you can eat, so just ask for another. It's easy to get exactly what you want if you're persistant.
            The only exception are their smaller offerings, like the hens or filet's, which are hard to get juicy. Their rolls are shipped to steak houses all over the country because they're so good. Eat them while hot, discard if they cool down ;). I suggest a refreshing Caipirinha to start things off on hot days.

            If you can make it all the way to Greensborough, then Leblon Brazilian Steakhouse is the place for you. http://www.leblonbraziliansteakhouse....
            The salad bar is more like a big city Brazilian steak house (think Atlanta) and the meat is improved as well.