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Jun 18, 2008 08:45 AM

Chima - 19th & JFK

I went to Chima (Brazilian Steakhouse) now open at 19th & JFK Blvd. last night, and I wasn't impressed. While the atmosphere was very nice, I can say the food was definitely not as good. The beef all tasted the same, and I thought it was predominently bland. They had a big salad bar with some very nice items. They also brought to the table some small dishes to nibble on (pork and turkey meatballs, cheese puffs, polenta fries, fried plantains, etc.) - all were somewhat tasty. Having never been to a Brazilian restaurant before, I couldn't get used to all the "gouchos" (servers?) walking around constantly looking at your table to see if your disk was turned (orange means "bring food", black means "go away").

My biggest disappointment was how the coupon that I had received (Buy 1 Get 1 Free) was handled. Tax was calculated at the higher price ($48.50 pp!), and then an automatic 18% gratuity was added to our bill, again based on the full price ($97). When I inquired as to why gratuity was added, I was told it was because I used a coupon. I don't recall seeing any mention to gratuity being added to the bill on the coupon, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. Certainly, they wouldn't add gratuity without telling me, now would they? (said with a hint of sacrasm in my voice).

Even at half price - dinner still cost me and my co-worker $35 each, which is a lot of money. I certainly wouldn't pay full price, that's for sure!

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  1. The tax calculation based on the coupon-less price may be required of them, I don't know, but the automatic gratuity is BS, they don't deserve the benefit of the doubt on that one. Unless it's plainly stated on the menu, I would've demanded that it be removed from the bill. I've never heard of automatic gratuity being charged to a party of two!!

    The gauchos are not only the servers, but they're actually the ones cooking the meat as well. At least, that's my understanding of how a typical churrascaria works.

    1. I have one of the coupons and there is no mention about either taxes or gratuity.

      1. I was there the second week it opened and used a coupon. I was charged the price of one person without the tip tacked on. I think that a lot of people are coming in with coupons and the servers are getting shafted on gratuitity. I think that if you're using a BOGO coupon, you should still tip as if you had paid full but maybe people aren't doing that and leaving small tips so they decided to create this "automatic gratuitity" business. As for the tax, they can only tax you on what they charge. That's being so shifty. I would call the manager.

        3 Replies
        1. re: lawslaw

          I agree, you should tip as if you paid a full bill. That is proper dining etiquette.

          1. re: lawslaw

            decor and food was mediocore. BYGO coupon and always tip at least 20% on total before discount but were put off by the automatic gratuity. Did speak with manager who first said gratuity was stated on coupon. It was not, he then said ther server should have made it clear.

            1. re: joan1725

              We went the other night and were also underwhelmed. The place was crowded, I think most of the tables had the coupon. When we got our bill, an 18% tip was "suggested". We thought the service was good and didn't have a problem tipping 18% on what the total of the bill would have been without the coupon. However, we won't be back....we love picunyha and find the meats to be much more flavorful there and the salad bar, while smaller, to be more authentic. If you can save room for dessert - they are also awesome at Picunyha. We all agree with Cheflynnie that the meats at Chima all tasted the same. The lamb was particularly flavorless.