I've been to a number of churrascarias (though not CP). At those, the key is to tip the maitre d' to seat you near the door where the servers come out with the meat. The best and most interesting stuff gets taken by the time they get to the outer reaches.
However, assuming CP has a "wall of fire" like the others, be sure to get a table that's not in front of it. Otherwise you get roasted by the radiation.
No matter how good the meats are, they start to taste the same after the fifth (or maybe the tenth) helping. Pick carefully and wait for what you want.
As dbird says, be ready for a rampage. It's a high-energy experience.
Starve yourself and then go there. Personally, I don't get my money's worth there, but if you can pig out its a good deal. The quality of the meat, in my mind, is not that great and that is covered up by the brining process.
Still fun though. And as another poster noted, drinks and desserts are not included and they will quickly pump up the tab. Realistically, you'll spend $80-$100 a person here depending on what you drink.
I happen to love the salad bar, so I wouldn't skip it. Just pace yourself... That being said, I try to do that with everything. I don't like to skip any of the meats completely, but you just take a bite or 2 of the ones you just want to "try"... my favorites are the short ribs and the parmesan crusted pork.
I love the salad bar! There are some typical Brazilian dishes that I always like to have: feijao tropeiro, couve, ovos de codorna (quail eggs), moqueca. They don't have only salads, but also a number of very good hot dishes. It's worth to taste some of them.
My favorite cuts are the picanha (sirloin) and the filet mignon. I also love the chicken. If they have the turkey wrapped in bacon you should try it, it's delicious.
The desserts are great. My favorite is the creme de papaya. It's the only Brazilian restaurant in NY where I can find it; it's a very common dessert in Brasil.
Last went to this place about 10 yrs ago, shortly after it opened, I think. Returning tomorrow evening with low expectations. Can anyone attest to the quality of the meat? Is the beef grass-fed? Any chance of sweetbreads or brains? An earlier post mentioned mouqueca at the buffet. Seriously? The web site is depressing.
Have a caipirinha or two.
Do NOT, I repeat DO NOT fill up on the salad bar. I always take one of the smaller plates, and get a couple of things, but never fill up a plate, you'll regret it later.
The absolute best cut of beef is the picanha (i think it's rump roast in english, but ask for picanha and they'll know what you're talking about). They won't bring it out immediately, because it is the most expensive and sought after.
Definitely refuse any cuts that you're not excited about and if after a bite you don't like it, put it to the side. No sense in wasting valuable stomach space for food you don't like.
Also they'll bring you a number of side dishes like rice, french fries, etc. The best side dishes are the fried bananas, and if they have it, the fried yucca (you may have to ask for this specifically). They will bring you as many side dishes and as much of any one side dish as you'd like.
Also, definitely have a pao de queijo, cheese bread, which they should bring to the table when you arrive.
Note that the desserts and drinks are not included. If you have room for dessert, try a typical brazilian dessert like a brigadeiro (sweet chocolate ball) or a quindin -- sort of a coconut/egg pudding.
Enjoy. I'm very jealous!
I visited as part of a going away party and my admittedly low expectations were greatly exceeded. The salad bar is fresh, etc (even has sushi). But the main event is clearly the meat. I recall enjoying the small rotisserie-cooked chickens wrapped in bacon (delicious and something that Homer Simpson would def. love).