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Feb 11, 1999 08:21 PM

Cabana Carioca

  • s

Has anyone eaten at the restaurant (not the bar)
recently? I used to love this place but I have the
feeling it's not as lovable anymore. Last time I was
there was the night before my daughter was born. I've
always wondered if there's a link between all the
garlic I consumed that night and the fact that I went
into labor mere hours after consuming it.

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  1. Haven't eaten in the restaurant section in, oh, a year I guess, but last time I did the steak was up to snuff, and the bar food is as great as ever (why eat in the restaurant when you can stuff yourself for $6 or so?). To anyone who hasn't been there, check this place out -- as Jim sez, it's got the most memorable address in town: 123 W.45 St. between 6th and 7th Aves -- and the bar deal is fantastic (you get it at the bar on the ground floor or in the tiny bar area, with two tables, on the second floor). Garlic and black bean heaven -- and be sure and ask for hot sauce!

    8 Replies
    1. re: steve d.

      The last time I ate there (admittedly a few years
      ago), the shrimp with potatoes were to die for.

      1. re: Decider

        Also, the bar is a great place to eat when I'm eating
        alone and feel like chatting with people. There are
        always friendly folks there. Yes, the food is
        excellent and cheap. Does anyone know of similar
        friendly bargains?

        1. re: Susan

          Brasilia, farther east on 45th (north side, just west of Fifth), has a similar bar menu, also with great black beans & rice and even better hot sauce, and Marcelo, the usual bartender, is not only friendly but makes a mean caipirinha. You also get the bar prices at the tables opposite the bar (made out of huge irregular slabs of some kind of stone). I usually get the bife palito, which has a wonderful garlicky sauce; the portions of meat have gotten smaller over the years, but that dovetails nicely with my diminishing appetite since I turned 40. The omelet is also delicious if you're not in a voracious mood (not that you'll go hungry, since you still get the rice&beans).

          1. re: steve d.

            Has anyone eaten here recently? Probably been at least a decade if not more for me.

            I remember the Shrimps Paulista (with potatos), Mariscada and Steak with Garlic as being amazing. Also the black beans, rice, farofa and molho campanha and pitchers of sangria were fantastic!

            1. re: gunksny

              I'm afraid it closed about 3 years ago. It's been missed...that bargain bar menu was great. And it had the most memorable address in Manhattan---123 W 45 betw 6--7. 1234567

              1. re: gunksny

                Now you've gone and made me cry. Mrs. GG and I used to go to CC on dates before we were married 25 years ago and always got the Shrimp Paulista (with those olive oil soaked potatoes). I knew it had gone out of business. RIP.

                1. re: gunksny

                  I used to go there for the lunch buffet back when the Met Life building was the Pan Am building. Awesome place.

                  1. re: small h

                    So upsetting. Such a decadent meal, but so worth it. I fondly remember many a group dinner there, and shamlessly creating massive to go plates of leftovers for breakfast the next morning.

                    I recently made a very lame attempt at recreating the rice, beans and molho campanha experience - it was very disappointing to say the least.

                    RIP CC.

        2. Just a moment of non-silence for this old favorite of mine - hadn't been for years, was in the neighborhood this weekend, sorry to find it closed. I loved the warmth and character of the place, starting with the folk-art stairway painting,as well as the big garllicky steak and mammoth hearts of palm salad I always ordered.

          When I got lucky, I got the table by the window on the second floor. My strongest memory of a Cabana Carioca evening - when you looked out that window, you saw a seedy-looking bodega on a dim block, that had spells of brisk traffic that came from nowhere. One night a man in an orangey leather coat paced around in front of the place for quite awhile, finally went in, and a few minutes later came flying out of the place, at more less shoulder height (of whoever threw him), onto the sidewalk.

          So long, Cabana Carioca.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Darshana

            We went at least twice a month for almost 25 years. It was a part of our lives and we lived it in all it's overindulgent decadence. And the bacalhau, the virado, the shrimp Paulista, the couve, the potatoes.......sigh!

            1. re: swannee

              it was my thriftiest splurge as an 18 year old living on the LES and working over on 8th in retrospect, but a splurge at the time -- although two meals worth of leftovers from some dinners made it worthwhile!

            2. re: Darshana

              OMG I got so excited when I saw the thread title, hoping maybe the place had been reincarnated!! Also a longtime favorite of mine - my aunt took me there when I was in town visiting on business at least 15 years ago and we'd gone back several times since. I do so miss good ol' 1234567, as we called it. It was where I was first introduced to feijuoada, which I adore.

              1. re: saturngrrl

                Pork and clams...and very serviceable Dao wine...