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Gauchos- Manchester NH, total waste of money.

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Mr GK and I went last night to Gauchos on Lowell St in Manchester. The original plan was to go to either Richard's or the new Z on Elm St, but Mr GK really wanted to try Gauchos after hearing it had over 15 kinds of meat to try, so I relented (Me not being a real carnivore, but heard it had lamb, salmon, filet mignon, and a nice salad bar)

Well, first sour note was a group of nasty people at the door farting, burping loudly on purpose, smoking as well as making rude comments like "Well I can tell you just ate at Gauchos" to each other- 1st omen

We get in, and it is nearly deserted on a weekend night at 7! - 2nd bad omen

We get seated against a wall, and next to a pillar.. it was like being wedged into a closet!

Next comes the fact they have no bottles of my wine choice.. ok make 2nd choice.. lo and behold, no bottles! I can get a "half bottle" well... ok "bring half now, and half when this one is empty" I say.

We start with the salad bar.. what a dissapointment! Fake crab meat with pasta salad, lettuce, wilted baby spinach, fake bacon bits... (see a pattern yet?)

Then, came the Gauchos bringing skewers of meat to the table.... I saw the cheap sausage and chicken legs 8 times, the pork 6 times, the flank steaks 3 times, (none of which interested me) the lamb ONCE, and they cut off a piece that was less than 2 ounces, and the salmon once, and again about a 2 oz portion. I never once saw the prime rib, filet mignon, or anything else they said they offer in the hour we were there, so much for 15 meat choices! Nor did they ever bring my other half bottle of wine (even though I asked the server for it twice!)

Overall, for $25 per person, plus the cost of the wine, tax and tip it was such a waste of time, I left hungry and angry after an hour. I would never ever ever go there again, even if someone else paid not only the check, but paid me for my time.

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  1. Looking at your past posts, it appears that you have had some dreadful restaurant experiences. I've always enjoyed Gauchos, though the trick is to avoid the urge to let them pile on the food right at the beginning and pace yourself. One of my favorite offerings is the flank steak--rather than thinking of it as a cheap piece of meat, I found it flavorful and toothsome. If you ask, the waiters will bring around any type of meat that you request.

    1 Reply
    1. re: whs

      Yes, because I am more inclined to write about bad experiences so to warn others. I eat often at least 4-5 times a week because of my schedule and encounter the good, bad and downright ugly of the restaurant industry.
      But sadly I seem to forget to praise the places that really offer me a good value/meal/service.
      So, to be fair from now on I will post at least one praise per raspberry I give.

    2. yeah, this place is not good. 15 types of meat? no. fifteen different cuts of the same 3-4 meats. sorry, it is good for what it is but terrible as a rodizio. where's the rabbit? duck? offal? goat? etc... the salad bar is a joke. and no hot buffet! i asked about fejoda and they didn't even know what it was! are you kidding me? however, the old dude playing the keyboards was a trip.

      6 Replies
      1. re: ScubaSteve

        Tell me a rodizio place in New England that serves rabbit, duck, offal and goat, and I'll be there in a second.

        1. re: whs

          while the offerings change a bit, Midwest Grill and Green Field Churrasca (in Cambridge and J.P. respectively) are probably the best and most established. although i have a few Brasillian friends that live in the Framingham/Natick area that know of 'little' mom-n-pop places along route 9 that are truly outstanding. trouble being that mom-n-pop don't have signs and don't really advertise outside of the Brasillian community so it's kind of hard to find one if you're not familiar with the area.

          there was a (sadly now gone) place on Mass Ave in Cambridge called Pampas that always had all of the things i cited. now THAT was good rodizio.

          1. re: ScubaSteve

            There are a couple of places in Nashua--one is called Sabor and the other is a hole in the wall on Main Street, just below Hollis Street--have you tried those?
            FYI, the only person I know who makes feijoada is my Brazilian cleaning lady, and she will not give me her (mother's) recipe.

            1. re: whs

              no i haven't. this is really not my AO. i was @ Gauchos as part of two work outings.

              the feijoada at Midwest is very good. i would like to make it myself but have a hard time finding the fresh bits or tongue, tripe ears etc outside of Chinatown.

        2. re: ScubaSteve

          I used to eat there quite often last year. Back then I thought the food was pretty good. The salad bar and desserts were always lame, but the quality of the meats made up for them. The last time I ate there, though, everything seemed off. The meats were dry and the chimichurri sauce (which I used to crave) was flat and tasteless. At the time, I put it down to a off night. I'm sorry to hear that other people have had bad experiences as well. Sounds like Gaucho's has gone downhill.

          ScubaSteve: Tell us your idea of a good Churrascaria. Preferably in the area.

          1. re: rcianci

            i know of nothing in the Manchester NH area.

        3. It's really too bad, I really enjoy my two visits when they were on Elm Street. Could they have gone down hill since they moved? Both times we went, the salad bar was well above what we've had in Boston (Midwest Grill) and Lowell (Oass Grill) and their shared dishes/sides for the table were great. All the meats were very good, filet wrapped in bacon, excellent prime rib, lamb, pork, etc. and WHS is right - you have to pace yourself and sort of guide them. I'll have to try them again in their new location to see for myself if they went downhill or not. I've done several and have liked Goucho's best - others were dry, salty, not higher cut meats like Goucho's (but like I said maybe their rent went up on Lowell St.).

          2 Replies
          1. re: lexpatti

            sorry to disagree about the salad bar at Midwest. they have some of the most authentic offerings, a lot of grains, greens and tubers, especially hearts of palm.

            1. re: ScubaSteve

              I'm with you. The black beans are very good, plantains, and heart of palm do stand out at Midwest.

          2. I've walked by many times but never eaten there. It looks nice enough from outside, but my sister ate there once and said it wasn't that great, and she's not exactly a conniseur. Now I'm even less inclined to try it.

            1. You should have tried the new restaurant Z !! We went in Saturday night and had a great meal. I had the duck and it was very tasty. Cooked perfectly and served with a nice rice cake. This restaurant is just what Manchester needs. Lively and upbeat.

              1 Reply
              1. re: rmsoul

                Loved this place--it's a great find for those who miss Baldwin's inventive cooking.

              2. I can't comment on the food but .....if the place was nearly deserted, why did you put up w/the bad seating? It would have been a simple fix to tell them you didn't want to sit there and wanted something more comfortable.

                1. This sounds fairly typical of the Brazillian BBQ restaurant scene in NE. (Not the patrons you encountered at the door however.) I tend think it's extremely difficult to provide a high brow all-you-can-eat experience for $25. With that in mind, I actually think $25 pp is pretty reasonable but I imagine you might need to let the servers know that you prefer to see more lamb or salmon vs. chicken legs to get a real value out of the experience.

                  I find these places to be more of a fun kitschy kind of thing rather than distinguished fine dining restaurants. I also think they are more fun with more than two people. I think servers tend to circulate to your table more often.

                  I didn't see that they offered 15 meats. Did you try the plantains or black beans? Interested to know how they are there.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: kittychow

                    The best Brazilian rodijio that I know of is the Brazilian Grill in Hyannis, on the Cape. We've been going there on vacation every since it opened about five years ago, and they're always improving. My son and I love chicken hearts, they will bring us an entire skewer once we ask and love the fact that we take 'em all! Their variety is great (although no duck or rabbit that I've seen), great buffet to match - which has the best butternut squash soup in the world - God, I want that recipe! and very friendly people. Always have a great experience there. One hint - you NEED to make reservations on the weekend - otherwise you'll be waiting a couple of hours. Sometime during the week you can get lucky and walk right in.

                  2. We have frequented Gauchos quite often and have to honestly say that the last 2 visits have been definitely subpar. We were also squashed into the wall near the poles. A very tiny two top table where your chair sits right against the person behind you. Not a pleasant experience when the waitress is trying to get in or people are moving around the poles. We had trouble getting the gauchos over to our table due to the lack of space. It was a waiting game!! The place was packed as it was Sat night and I'm sorry, but the clientel was less than casually dressed. Some patrons were in sweats! I wish they would make all restaurants smoke free!

                    1. My wife and I have eaten at Gaucho's and all the others mentioned below except for the one in Hyannis as that is quite a ride for dinner for us. Without question, the one Brazilian BBQ house that is definitely the best from Boston to Manchester is not mentioned below; which is the Fire Bull in Peabody-MA. Definitely no shortage of the best cuts there and our experience on a Saturday night is you better make a reservation. Nice place in the downtown area, white table cloths, nice appearance. They also have a full kithcen menu if you are not up for the BBQ....most of these places don't have that. My wife gets the Moqueca ( awesome seafood stew !) or pasta or something else when not the BBQ. This is the real deal.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Oliver48

                        Good to know, thank you. I love Brazilian BBQ and haven't been back to Gaucho's since they moved and everyone says they have declined so badly.

                        1. re: Oliver48

                          FireBull takes a hit for cooking with gas as opposed to charcoal or hardwood. and i'll throw an additional flag their way for a rather limited selection of meats.