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Aug 19, 2008 09:55 PM

Brasa Brasil update

Hadn't been to Brasa in a while and wanted to take my friend there for a taste of Brasil.He had recently met up with me on a Sao Paulo and Rio run and is a Brasil convert.We had escaped going to Gaucho's Village for a tourist night for some out of towners, and were rewarded for this mishap.

Brasa has trimmed down their menu a little, tightened up the meat selections from 9 to 8 and dropped their already low price to around $17 a person for churrasco and salad bar.They are now the best churrascaria pound for pound, they were already,and the most inexpensive churrasco in LA.

We picked up a 6 pack of Brahma at El Camaguey Market, just a little west of Clarington, past the Brazilian Mall and Cafe Brazil since Brasa serves no alcohol.With Brazilian beer in hand we headed to Brasa for some serious carne.

Salad Bar:A small selection of hot and cold traditional Brazilian salad bar dishes such as hearts of palm(palmitos), vinagrete, marinated tomatoes, potato salad(maionese),tabouleh(lots of Lebanese in Brasil), black beans(feijao), garlic rice(arroz),sweet bananas, roasted yucca flour(farofa),chicken stroganoff(strogonafe de frango), fried polenta(mandioca frita), and a few other classics.I avoided the pao de queijo(cheese bread) because I remember it being my least favorite item from the salad bar on my last visit, too hard.Everything was delicious, a put a smile on both of our faces.The salad bar is outstanding.

Churrasco: At $17 a head you are not going to get the stampede of high cuts like you will get at Fogo de Chao such as picanha,alcatra, and fraldinha; it's not economically possible, especially without the alcohol markup. Brasa offers frango com bacon(bacon wrapped chicken),cordeiro(lamb),tri tip, picanha(sirloin cap),herbed chicken, garlic beef,linguica(Brazilian sausage),and lomo de porco(pork loin).Sometimes they will have another cut like alcatra(top sirloin) which they had last night.Their picanha is smaller than most churrascarias and only comes around once or twice, but is absolutely delicious.The bulk of your churrasco at Brasa will come from the fluff, and a very tender and tasty tri tip.That being said the bacon wrapped chicken, lamb,linguica,tri-tip, and garlic beef were all authentic Brazilian churrasco flavors.The rock salt and garlic madness of southern Brasil.I wouldn't have the pork, strange tasting, or the herbed chicken here.Brasa gets high marks on 6 of 8 cuts.The great thing about Brasa was at $17 bucks, I was able to enjoy their simpler offerings and I didn't feel like I needed to stuff myself. At Fogo, I always hold out for the fraldinha, alcatra, picanha, filet mignon, and ancho skipping the fluff and linguicas, which my Brasileira wife taught me to avoid in Brasil because the churrascarias try to fill you up with the sausages and other inexpensive meats.And, I end up eating like I will never eat again at FC's price, swallowing whole caps of sirloin like a maniac.

Brasa is a small strip mall restaurant that has a nice decor, a Brasileiro staff, a plus, and offers great churrasco at a more than reasonable price.The bill was $36 for my friend and I.Alex the carioca churrasqueiro was cool and slipped us a little extra picanha after a little bit of Portuguese conversation, and the waitress was a Bahiana with a great sense of humor.I'm coming back soon, perhaps this weekend, and it's off to Fogo de Chao next Tuesday.Tudo joia! Beleza!

Brasa Brasil Grill
10022 Venice Bl
Culver City,CA

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  1. Nice review! That's a churrascaria I gotta try. Happy to know there are more Brazilians here on Chow. Grande abra├žo e... bom apetite!

    2 Replies
    1. re: gado_gado


      Oi.Discupla, sou Mexicano mas amo muito de Brasil, a cultura la, a musica(especialmente Ivete Sangalo), a comida, e minha mulher Paulista!

      I think about Brasil everyday, and places like Brasa, Woodspoon, and Fogo de Chao help me survive until my next trip.All we need is a killer lanchonete, paderia, and boteco my friend.E verdade?

      1. re: streetgourmetla

        Padaria, lanchonete e boteco. Yup, you said the three magic words. If you know them and love them, you can consider yourself Brazilian. Yes... simple things in life, always the best.

    2. i like brasa a lot. it's very good value. very often they have a good version of feijoada along with usual accompaniments - rice, collard greens, farofa. i sometimes make a meal out of that and skip the churrasco. by the way, if you want more picanha (or any other cut that isn't making its way out,) just ask. they always oblige. and i love fresh pao de queijo, so i always ask for that, too, instead of taking the ones sitting at the salad bar. they are very friendly and eager to accommodate (and i don't think it's just because my ex-bf is brasileiro and we speak portuguese.)

      5 Replies
      1. re: trishyb

        Oh, of course they would oblige, but if you don't inquire the picanha will not make another round.This is a practice all over Brasil and the US, it makes good business sense.Many inexperienced churrasco diners go nuts on these earlier offerings and the salad bar that they end up red carding by the time they get to the good stuff.I enjoyed 6 of the 8 offerings tremendously.

        Yeah, I saw the feijoada on the menu and was curious because I enjoyed the feijao, farofa, and couve.Also, the feijoada completa is offered for $10.99, which is great and I won't mind if it's just a feijao like at Cafe Brazil.

        Hey folks, these are Brazil prices for comida Brasileira, well, at least a couple years ago when the dollar wasn't getting killed by the real!

        1. re: streetgourmetla

          very often when i have gone for dinner, they have actually had feijoada at the hot bar - and a very tasty meaty version at that. (it's my guess that it depends on how much meat they have left over from the day before.)

          1. re: trishyb

            Hey trishyb,I'm a little confused, because a proper feijoada is not made of leftover churrasco.Is that what you mean, or did I misunderstand?

            Real feijoada takes about three days to do properly, and has its own salted pork parts which have to be soaked to get out the salt and then cooked individually.Taking meat from churrasco or just pork loin or shoulder and putting it in beans is just beans with some meat, not a feijoada.BTW, you can buy a feijoada kit at El Camaguey with frozen pig parts from Brazil for a home feijoada.

            Brazilians love a lot of flavor in their beans, and end up putting paios, carne,and linguicas while cooking beans to give them more flavor and substance.My delicious Mexican beans(frijoles de la olla) are somewhat bland to my wife's Paulista palate, so I make frijoles maneados(Sonora, Mexico), with chorizo and cheese for her.They do the trick.

            The feijoada at Cafe Brazil were just beans with meat( they were good but not great), not feijoada.If that's what they do at Brasa, then I'm OK with that at $10.99, for some great Brazilian beans with meat and the sides.I'll give it a try, or if someone would like to add a feijoada report that would be great.But alas, no torresmo, droga!

            1. re: streetgourmetla

              you can definitely make feijoada in a day, after soaking the beans overnight and the cured meats is what flavors the massive pot of beans. their feijoada has the spareribs and sausage like traditional feijoada, but is not served with the pig tails, ears, tongues, etc. (they may use them in the cooking process and just not put them in the serving dish for aesthetic reasons, which is even common in tourist-driven restaurants in brazil.) what i meant by leftover meat being used is that i think they throw that in there too add meatiness to the stew. even in brazil and in brazilian homes, it is not uncommon to add regular pork or beef to the pot in addition to the other meat products.

              1. re: trishyb

                OK, soaking the beans overnight.I count that as 2 days,soak Friday and cook and serve on Saturday, doable.Do they use carne seca, essential, which needs overnight soaking?Any salted pig parts for cooking would also have to be soaked overnight.Using regular meats, unsalted or uncured, there is no soaking of meats, and in our household that's not a feijoada traditional, but if it's good and hearty, I'm there.

                You're correct, a little beef doesn't hurt at all, and is very common.

                I consider Casa da Feijoada in Rio a tourist driven stop, but they do it right with all the parts for you to select to add to your feijoada, tongues, ears, tails, trotters, etc.That's is about as touristic a place I've been.

                I have no problem with your description of Brasa's feijoada, which is still labor intensive, substantial, and a 2 day prep.Beans are 2 days in all Latin-American cuisines.It sounds worth trying and again, priced quite reasonably.Glad to know another feijoada fan, and someone very knowledgable about Brazilian cuisine.Ta bom?

      2. is the $17pp the lunch or dinner price? thanks!

        i've not been since they first opened....sounds like i should make a return visit soon.

        2 Replies
        1. re: wilafur

          That was for dinner, so I imagine lunch is even cheaper.No one need complain about coupons or anything like that like they were before.This place is a no brainer for the go to churrasco in town.

        2. Wow, went there yesterday, for the first time, and I gotta say... I really liked it!

          Place is simple and nice (not fancy like most churrascarias around, but in a way more "real", since most churrascarias in Brasil aren't fancy at all, except for the few famous ones). As streetgourmetla pointed out, Alex is great. Great talk, extra attention and very nice. Wife and I had a great experience, felt back home in Rio, and best of all, certain that we found a great and inexpensive way to satisfy our craving for Brazilian food.

          Ok, here it goes:

          bacon wrapped chicken - 7/10
          lamb - 8/10
          tri tip - 10/10
          sirloin cap (picanha) - 10/10
          herbed chicken - 9/10 (i actually loved it)
          garlic beef - 8/10
          Brazilian sausage - 9/10
          pork loin - 5/10 (definitely the least favorite)

          Recommended :)
          *brazilian food lover stamp*

          1 Reply
          1. re: gado_gado

            Gado gado.I am also a huge lover of okra(quiabo) and quail eggs(ovo de codorna)Brasileiros.One of my favorite dishes from Minas is "frango com quiabo".14 years in the US without your beloved quail eggs and okra?That is reason to celebrate.Great post!
            This is for you

          2. Street: You had pointed me in the right direction regarding Brasa. Went there for Lunch a couple of weeks back with a few friends . I was very impressed with the QPR ( Quality Price Ratio ) I cant say the same about the wine that I brought.. In any event solid place, good meat in my opinion and I will head back there for sure. Agree abouth the friendly service as well.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Foodandwine

              Between the posts of the OP and you, it sounds like BYOB is a non-issue with this place - good to know. The menu items sound quite varied with a lot of grilled items, mostly beef. What was your wine choice, and now that you've eaten there, what would you have brought instead - another wine choice or maybe even a beer?

              1. re: Foodandwine

                Great to hear back from you and glad it worked out.Too bad about the wine! Next time I want to come armed with cachaca, limes, and sugar to make caipirinhas at Brasa.