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Oct 28, 2011 12:20 PM

Rodizio/Churrascaria: What's best these days?

I have a friend coming to town who loves rodizio-style steakhouses, and I've been trying to search for information on the best options in the Boston area these days. There's a lot of discussion, but I've noticed that they're mostly posts about individual restaurants -- and my mind is boggling at the number of openings, closings, and changes of ownership in this restaurant segment in the last few years! I've been pretty happy with Pampas in the past, and go to Gauchao for takeout from time to time, but I'm acutely aware that my knowledge is limited.

So I thought I'd ask -- as of right now, who does everyone here think has the best:

* quality and selection of meat
* quality and selection of sides

among places with and without table service?

Thanks in advance.

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  1. dtremit closings are definitely what are dominating right now. As an example, a casing supplier who used to sell sausage casings to Brazilian butchers told me that of 15 clients he had 2 years ago, only five are still open. Pampas closed and I don't think anything took its place.

    I have only been to a few in the past year, so can't offer anything authoritative. The one I have been wanting to check out is Braza Bar and Grill in Everett (where Cafe Belo was). It was taken over by a younger couple and they talked a lot about entertainment, but have been drawing a lot of families and are enthusiastic about providing different cuts of common meats (they have a couple of videos on youtube about this) -- it also has a full bar and table-side gaucho service. I don't know the current price of the rodizio.

    You could check out Rodizio in East Somerville across from Gauchão just to see what its doing. They were offering some promotions last I was in town and Gauchão doesn't have a fixed-price rodizio, but I can't expect they will have a huge selection (they did for meats when it first opened) particularly for the buffet. Oasis grills over gas, but is a pretty reliable option and I would put it over Valentim for the buffet and possibly meat selection, although Valentim grills with Charcoal. Oliveira's in Everett is another decent gas option with a reasonable buffet, rodizio was only certain hours there. There are other options in Metrowest (Terra Brasilis in Framingham is a decent option), South and North shores. Midwest Grill is a bit more consistent on having a bigger selection in Cambridge (Saugus I just don't go to because of bad experiences) and has been doing occasional promotions including groupons, but I can't get excited about it overall. I am curious what happened with the churrascaria that Sunset Cafe in Cambridge was opening (it did open, but I have only heard about entertainment offerings).

    Midwest Grill
    1124 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

    751 Broadway, Everett, MA 02149

    11 Replies
    1. re: itaunas

      Tuda Na Brasa is excellent if you are ever in Woburn.

      1. re: itaunas

        I was recently at Oliveira's in Eastie (rather close to the Airport T stop) with a few friends and enjoyed it. They have table service and a selection of around a dozen or so meats: sirloin, lamb, chicken (with bacon and without), 3 types of sausage, beef short ribs, roast beef, pork ribs, chicken hearts, also a couple others I'm forgetting. The price of the rodizio includes a full buffet, desserts and a soft drink along with the meat. Quality of the meat was quite good, albeit a bit over-salted, and I found the staff to be quite friendly. They did not try to stuff you full of cheaper cuts of meats first, which I've seen other rodizios do to reduce costs. I would go again.

        Incidentally, is Oliveira's in Everett owned by the same people as Oliveira's in Eastie? The website(s) would say no. One is Oliveira's Restaurant and the other is Oliveira's Steakhouse, respectively.

        1. re: rlee21

          The Everett Oliveira and the East Boston one (former Cafe Belo) were opened by relatives but not the same ownership (either nephew/uncle or cousins, can't remember exactly). Incidentally in Everett the owner had bought a Brazilian store which was performing poorly and reformed it into a restaurant (not as nice as the current restaurant). The East Boston one expanded into Peabody (two different locations), I believe bought Gold Beef Grill in Woburn (not certain what of these locations are still open) and was going to open in Cambridge which fell through. Don't know if its the original owner, though.

          Gold Beef Grill
          428 Main St, Woburn, MA 01801

          751 Broadway, Everett, MA 02149

          1. re: itaunas

            Itaunas, do you know what if anything has happened with the Cafe Belo location in Somerville?

            1. re: dulce de leche

              dulce de leche last I heard the restaurant equipment was scheduled for auction, although since it looks like there is still a "nothing can be removed from these premises" sign, I am not certain it actually happened. In any case I wouldn't expect anything in there soon and auctioning the contents would certainly affect that timeframe. Bom de Boca Grill nearby is being reconstructed by the building owner, but doesn't mean it will return as the same or even a Brazilian business.

              Glad dtremit made it to Braza and had a decent experience; I still haven't made it there. I did check out the Sunset Cafe Churrascaria, but there was absolutely nobody in there and it was between meals (didn't seem to be much available on buffet) so I decided it was better for another visit.

              Boca Bar & Restaurant
              11 Pine St, Waltham, MA 02453

              1. re: itaunas

                Bom de Boca--is that the one across from the Holiday Inn, which was a por kilo before? That's gone, too, eh?

                1. re: dulce de leche

                  Bom de Boca which was originally Bahia Grill (and had one other owner in between) was across from the Holiday Inn and was damaged when the attached house caught fire over a year ago. In additional to per-lb they had a fixed-priced takeout "marmitex" like most of the per-lb restaurants. It was doing decent business unlike Mix Flavor Grill which also closed in the past year, but that doesn't necessarily mean it was profitable.

                  1. re: itaunas

                    Oliveira's Steak House is now open where Cafe Belo used to be on Washington Street outside of Union Square, Somerville. Went tonight, pretty tasty! I will certainly go back.

                    1. re: somervilleoldtimer

                      Both Oliveira's (its two separate restaurant operations owned by relatives) have been fairly consistent and well run over the years, something Cafe Belo wasn't. I wanted to go back in July when they opened, but didn't make it then and am glad they are doing well. Are they still offering a reasonably priced rodizio? Any reports on the buffet, sweets (something Cafe Belo was consistent with), or beer/wine/entertainment?


                      1. re: itaunas

                        Sorry, was out of town, and now lots of water has passed under the bridge since that meal. Let's see: the buffet had several types of green salad, beets, chopped salads. . . I remember pasta . . . yucca . . . sorry, I'm not doing a very good job here, I'm afraid. For the meats, I had very tasty short ribs and a chicken sausage, my companion had roast beef that she said was delicious, and a pork sausage. There was lamb that day, but I didn't try it. For dessert, we shared flan, which was perfectly acceptable if not thrilling. No liquor license yet, I'm afraid, but they're working on it. I think they had passion fruit mousse, IMO once of the best inventions of the universe.

        2. re: itaunas

          I'm realizing that I forgot to return here (as I'd intended) to report back and thank everyone for their answers. Itaunas, I ended up going to Braza based on your rec and that of another friend, and enjoying it. Everything we had was very good; the selection of meats seemed a little lacking, but we were there pretty late on a weeknight. I'm planning to go back and check it out on a busier evening sometime. Very friendly service and reasonably priced; with sodas it was $34 for two of us.

        3. I've been very happy with Oasis in Medford lately.

          1. Can't say that I have done an extensive survey, but I like the place on Medford St. near Magoun Sq - it has several names. Very nice selection of fresh items on the cold & warm tables, and good meat. You can do "all you can eat" or buy by the pound. Not much ambience, but the owners are very friendly.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Guido

              Agreed on this place. Owners are almost always there, and the salad bar almost always has either mâche or spinach. I thought it was called "Churrasco" but as you'll see in the post below, itaunas is correct: it's called "Valentim."

              It's one of my favorite places to go and get a plate full of veggies, put some meat on top, and not feel like I lost out by eating diet food.

              1. re: enhF94

                I am pretty certain its still called "Valentim" at least as of a couple of months ago. They retained the various stickers on the window and Churrasco Grill was the original name, before it merged with Pampas in Worcester (further back it was more of a cafeteria Brazilian restaurant named after a woman "Maria's" or something, but Churrasco Grill thankfully redid the space and improved the food).

                1. re: itaunas

                  oh, right, that's right. Thanks.