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Agora Churrascaria - Irvine - Review with Photos

elmomonster Jan 18, 2007 01:57 PM

"Put down that donut," my co-worker said to me.

It was nine in the morning and I was at my desk, a cruller in one hand, a cup of tea in the other.

"Don't take another bite, and spit out the piece you're chewing. We're taking you to Agora in two hours. You're going to want an empty stomach for this."

And at half past eleven, as promised, my co-workers -- who were two seasoned Agora veterans -- took me for a five-minute drive which was more like a pilgrimage. A pilgrimage to the Mecca of meat.

I'd been putting off going to Agora until now, because simply put, I was afraid of the gluttonous excess of it all. I had visions of a never-ending procession of meat, and me slowly slipping into a catatonic state between the fifth and sixth helping of steak. Agora was, after all, a churrascaria, the all-you-can-eat meat-a-palooza, the Brazilian contribution to American obesity.

But before the meat feast to end all meat feast started, I made a trip to the buffet line -- one of the most immaculate I've seen this side of Interstate 15 -- and scooped up mashed potato so smooth it could've passed for crème fraîche. Then there were the collard greens, deep emerald, full of chlorophyll and crunch.

When I brought back a full plate, my two friends chortled. The buffet was beside the point, they said.

"It's there only to appease the vegetarians who get dragged in here by their carnivorous friends."

"We are men. We eat meat. Meat good!"

On cue, a server dressed like a gaucho, wielding a saber threaded with heart-shaped bundles of beef, stopped at our table and began carving away at his cargo. Dripping with fat and juice, crusty brown on one side and bloody red on the other, this was the sirloin of sirloins.

As a slice fell away under his knife, I pinched the top of the flap with a pair of tongs and transferred it to my plate. Seasoned simply with just salt and pepper, the sanguine sample of tender flesh tasted rich, beefy.

"Meat good!"

The protein parade continued as another gentleman arrived bearing what looked like a giant shish-kabob. "Bacon-wrapped filet mignon," he said they were. "Give me three," I said back. These salty soft beef nuggets, I noted, were far too easy to consume, and far too enjoyable.

"Meat very good!"

Even the bacon-wrapped chicken breasts were perfect: juicy and flavorful to a fault. But the sausage, although tasty, was dry by comparison, lacking the fat and grease our palates now craved. Also mildly disappointing was the pork with parmesan. Arid and dusty, it seemed to be robbed of moisture. I set them aside and waited for another go round on the sirloin and the bacon-wrapped filet.

The warm cheese rolls were worthy non-meat distractions, as was the fried banana. The former harbored the mild tang of cheddar and the soft texture of a freshly baked Pillsbury Crescent Roll. The latter was sprinkled with cinnamon, served on a banana leaf, and present on every table -- intended to be used as palate cleanser between bites of meat.

As the gorging continued, we grew lethargic, and conversation slowed to halt, replaced by half-slurred proclamations of "Meat good. Stomach full. Must stop."

By the end, we were useless lumps, slumped in our seats like sacks of potatoes. We had overdone it, and joked that a blood test taken at that very moment would have detected bovine DNA frolicking among our human cells.

For the rest of the afternoon, I had what could only be described as a "meat headache," along with a strong desire to crawl into bed and hibernate for the winter.

Agora Churrascaria
(949) 222-9910
1830 Main St
Irvine, CA 92614

FOR PHOTOS, CLICK BELOW:
http://elmomonster.blogspot.com/2007/...

  1. tony michaels Jan 18, 2007 02:32 PM

    It's a meatache
    Love it till your aorta breaks
    Then the EMT's wheel you out
    Nothing but a meatache (g)

    Great review and photos. We have been once to the Fogo de Cow, (or whatever it's called) on La Cienega in Beverly Hills. I believe that is Portugese for Mo Meaty Meat to Eat.

    I can't believe you can actually go to these places more than once every 3 years or so. It's just too much of a good thing all at once. But it does you give a new appreciation for the wonderful expandability of the human stomach.

    Thanks for the entertaining review and an early a.m. laugh.

    1 Reply
    1. re: tony michaels
      elmomonster Jan 18, 2007 09:19 PM

      Yeah, I think I'll wait a year before going again. That was waaayy too much meat, waaayy too early in the day.

      http://elmomonster.blogspot.com

    2. s
      silvana Jan 18, 2007 03:36 PM

      I have been to one in Santa Ana, I am not able to remember the name, it’s off the 91. I can only eat one plate of meat along with the buffet bar, but I have no idea how my husband can go for more every time. I am so scared that I am going to have to call the ambulance to get him out of there. I love their turkey wrapped in bacon. But yeah, I would only recommend going once a year.

      2 Replies
      1. re: silvana
        j
        Jase Jan 18, 2007 06:02 PM

        Are you thinking Amazon in Fullerton off the 91 on Lemon street? Amazon is not bad but I'd rather pay the extra $10 and go to Agora. I've been to both several times and Agora quality is much better. Amazon if you're going with a bunch of teen age boys or a big family, Agora if you want a nicer atmosphere and with adult friends.

        1. re: Jase
          s
          silvana Jan 18, 2007 06:06 PM

          Yes, it is Amazon and yes, we went with huge families. I would have to try Agora with my hubby only then.

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