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Dec 8, 2011 06:43 AM

Bossa Nova in Malden Square?

Hey, I've heard some pretty great things about this place. Any reports? It's hard to pass up Fu Loon when I'm in Malden...

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  1. Haven't made it there yet but it's on my list. From what I've glimpsed through the windows it looks like they did a lot of work on the interior.

    I found their website online but their menu either isn't posted or the link isn't working...

    24 Replies
    1. re: gimlis1mum

      Menu is working but it is hilariously odd to access....

      Move your mouse over either the lower or upper right corner, where it says View Menu >>
      You'll see the corner sort of pop out a little bit - click and hold it with your mouse and draaaag the page over....voila! Just like a book!

      1. re: Bob Dobalina

        Thanks for explaining that one to me :)

        We went last night and liked it a lot. I don't have time to post a full report, but we had great fun...we liked the room (we sat on the bar side of the two dining rooms), the food was flavorful, and the live music was outstanding. It was a pretty good overall dinner experience for the money, their prices are very reasonable, especially for the large portions they serve.

        More later!

        1. re: gimlis1mum

          Is it mainly an all you can eat meat on skewers place?

          1. re: tamerlanenj

            Based on their menu (and never having been) its not that at all, its all a la carte which is a welcome addition. (The Churrasco dishes they mention are ones which can be done on a charbroiler or fajita pan.) It seems fairly similar in concept and content to Cafe Brasil in Allston, with a slightly more modern menu and some common "international" dishes.

            1. re: itaunas

              They have both the a la carte menu and the all-you-can eat meat and buffet.

              This got a litlle long...
              We've only been to a Brazilian steakhouse once before (Sal y Brasa in Everett, about 4 years ago) so I can't tell you how Bossa Nova stacks up against the other local spots. But we both liked it enough to want to go back soon.

              They have two dining rooms. One has the buffet and meat window set-up, the other has a small bar and a nicer atmosphere with tablecloths and a stage area for musicians. We were given a warm welcome by our waiter, who gave us a quick tour of the buffet, explained how it worked, and then seated us on the bar side. We were there early on a Friday evening and there was only one other table seated. The waiter was a bit of a character, though, and his personality filled the room.

              They have beer, wine, and cocktails. Wines are all “house wines;” we each had a glass of a decent red (Malbec for hubby, Pinot Noir for me) that was served a little too warm. They have a Bar Menu that is not listed in their website (or at least, I couldn’t find it, lol) which consist mainly of meat, meat and fried meat. Some of the items on the Bar Menu are also listed as appetizers on the regular menu. We opted for the mixed Meat Platter which was a huge portion of steak and chicken (no sausage, though, despite its inclusion in the menu description) accompanied by sauteed onions and fried yucca (French fries are also an option). The steak was cooked to well done but everything was well seasoned and flavorful.

              I decided to try the buffet. They had a nice selection of cold salads; my favorites were the marinated cauliflower with capers, a chickpea salad, and a chicken salad with cranberries and potato sticks. A couple of things were mislabeled in a humorous way – “sauteed collards” was raw, shredded kale (I think – it was the wrong color to be collards, and it was definitely raw), and “eggs in mayo and ketchup sauce” was eggs (hard-boiled) in what appeared to be a mustard sauce.

              There were some interesting things on the buffet that I was too full to try, such as tripe stew, pork and grits soup, and ground beef with potato (also the consistency of a soup). They also had a fish stew, fried fish, and fried plantains.

              Our waiter brought a small vinyl record to our table. One side was labeled “Play music” and the other, “Stop music.” I was instructed to show the Play side when I wanted the meat guy to come to the table and show the Stop side when I wanted to take a break. I sampled the small sausages which were garlicky, and the top sirloin which was cooked to medium rare, and enjoyed both. I turned the record to Stop but shortly thereafter the meat guy was back, with something he called garlic steak so I tried it. I liked it: the meat was cooked to well done but it was wrapped in thin slices of pork belly (I think – it’s wasn’t smoky like bacon) with a smear of roasted garlic hidden in there somewhere.

              And then the waiter came over, and jokingly gave me a hard time about accepting something from the meat guy when I’d had the Stop sign out. I laughed and said yes I know how the system works, but it sounded good so I tried it anyway. (But the next time the meat guy came by when the Stop sign was out, I declined).

              Our waiter was very attentive. Hubby thought he bordered on hovering but I rather liked his shtick. I felt, er, waited on.

              Hubby ordered a steak off of the menu (#15, Mineiro Especial). It arrived as a huge plate of food: a thin-cut, large flat steak (cooked to well-done) topped with two fried eggs, rice, beans, fried ripe plantains, cracklings, and wedges of tomato. The steak was flavorful even though it was well-done. The only thing we didn’t really like was the cracklings, which were deep-fried pork belly: the pork part was tough (though we enjoyed the fat).

              Prices were reasonable, I think: $17.95 for the all-you-can-eat buffet, and hubby’s platter of food was $12.95. (Hubby was starting to nitpick until I reminded him that we could have paid the same amount of money for a horrid steak dinner at Applebee’s next door). You can also purchase the buffet by the pound and hubby noted that they were doing a steady takeout business. Between Bossa Nova and Abiata we now have a couple of options for interesting quick meals in Malden center.

              What else? Oh, after we’d dug into our meat appetizer our waiter asked if we liked hot peppers. When we said yes, he brought us a bottle of a vinegar-y hot sauce and explained that we should put a few drops on our plate and then dip in the meat. He was very attentive and polite, covering for me when I made a faux pas and placed a slice of meat on a plate that was intended to simply hold a pair on tongs.

              As we were finishing up our meal a few more tables came in, some were couples and some were families with small children. All were greeted warmly as we had been and high chairs appeared to accommodate the children.

              The absolute best part of our evening, though, was the music. Just two people – a singer and a singing guitar player – but they were amazing. Hubby is also a musician and was impressed with their skills. I overheard the waiter telling another table that they have live bossa nova music every Fri, Sat, and Sun. It must have been the first time that this particular duo played there, though, because our waiter also told us that the guitar player was late because he’d gotten lost in the rotary (this is very funny to us new-ish Maldonians, because we used to get lost at that rotary too). We lingered over our wine, listening to the music

              So overall, we had great fun and decent food at a reasonable price. Definitely some funny (amusing) things with mislabeled items and the “Stop doesn’t mean Stop” meat guy, but that only added to the fun – I didn’t find it annoying. Next time we are thinking of hitting the candlepin bowling alley next door first for some Xtreme Bowling to work up an appetite, then wind down the evening with drinks and meat at Bossa Nova :)

                1. re: gimlis1mum

                  gimlis1mum thanks for the detailed report. I was afraid they would be offering the full menu and churrasco/buffet because its seems very long for them to be able to make properly every time, not to mention keep everything on hand and fresh. To me it sounds like the kitchen already made some mistakes, but in any case they are in opening mode so its a good time to check it out and with time I suspect the menu offerings might narrow.

                  There are some mistranslated items in the online menu, but its overall better than most restaurants so no surprise if a few things were off on the buffet. I would expect eggs as "ovos em molho rose" (pink sauce) particularly with quail eggs which is basically Brazilian Russian dressing using a couple parts mayo to ketchup, plus can have mustard or use cream, but don't know if that is what you saw but if so a literal translation would be best even though what they said would be correct for molho rose. Collard Greens are part of the kale family and Brazilians use collards mostly although kale can be substituted here and the translation may never match 100% (it may say kale and you are eating collards... but 100:1 they will buy collards over kale). FYI, in Brazil you commonly use "couve-manteiga" which is more difficult to get in the US and it tends to be picked young. Still as a side dish it should have been "refogada" or lightly sauted just enough to give it a nice color and soften. It can be served as a salad including in the US although the US collards aren't so nice for that (substituting a nice tender kale would be), but serving raw sounds more like a kitchen miscue. I don't think your menu was incorrect on the "churrasco misto" because it would be more correct with 3+ items, probably another kitchen error and you should call to their attention unless it only said "2 of." If you want something lighter off the bar menu they have 'picanha na chapa' which is just beef, just ask to make sure its served as pieces (usual) and not cut in thin strips (tiras) which sometimes is done. That with "frango a passarinho" or a sausage, some soup might be a nice after bowling meal if you don't have a huge appetite. "Torresmos" or the fried pork bits are a signature item in Minas Gerais, so should have been right on the "Mineiro Especial" so a small kitchen mistep again but overall they sound like they are doing well. The chicken salad you liked is their version of salpicão (cranberries are unusual) which you can find at any Brazilian restaurant. The other salads are just things they put together cauliflower would be salada de couve flor com alcaparra and salada de grão-de-bico -- this kind of thing will vary with the buffet.

                  I am not a big fan of the stop/go signs and as you saw they don't work well. In any case its always good to find the waiter who speaks the most English, ask them exactly what meats are available and request the ones as well as the doneness you desire. When they come to the table, point to the part of the skewer you like most with the tongs. A good waiter (gaucho) should give it a small cut then pause and push out the meat a bit for you to grab it with the tongs. Only then would they continue cutting so it doesn't fall on the catch plate. If you find the meat is a bit salty, sometimes that means they didn't properly knock the salt off, but usually the best recourse is to get a bit of farofa (made with a yucca flour) and roll your slices in it. You can also ask for a bit of lime which can sometimes help cut the salt and fat a bit.

                  1. re: itaunas

                    itaunas, thank you sooo much for all of that information. Clearly, I just didn't know what I was doing! :-) The gaucho did ask me to grasp the meat with the tongs, but I totally didn't realize that he was waiting for me to tell him what part of the skewer I wanted. Though now that I know this, I realize that that is exactly what the family group was doing - unfortunately we were the only table seated when we were eating so I didn't have anyone else to observe.

                    The staff seemd pretty proficient with English. I'll have to study up before our next visit so I can figure out what meats I want!

                  2. re: gimlis1mum

                    Great report!

                    When you order a steak off the menu, does it entitle you to the buffet as well? I'm guessing no, but wanted to clarify.

                    I also get super confused in the rotary (where 99 hits 16)....makes getting to Malden tricky, but sounds like it's worthwhile. I've passed this place on the way to Biryani Park, so I want to check it out soon

                    Dave MP

                    1. re: Dave MP

                      No, I don't think that you get the buffet if you order off of the menu.

                      Just remember to look for the "Malden" sign when you're in the rotary...stop following 99 :-)

                      1. re: Dave MP

                        I just re-read my post, and I think I was confusing this place with the other Brazilian place in Everett. That's where I drive through on the way to Biryani Park, not Malden Ctr.

                        What's the Brazilian place in Everett Ctr.?

                        1. re: Dave MP

                          The main (new) one is Braza Bar and Grill at Broadway/School/Chelsea streets (its actually on School).

                          1. re: itaunas

                            Horrible meat. Overcooked. Couldn't get pink lamb. Couldn't get pink sirloin. Staff could care less. AVOID Braza Grill.

                        2. re: Dave MP

                          Dave MP as far as getting to Malden Center, I generally recommend Main St over Broadway (from Rt 99 N, you take the 3rd exit on the rotary). When coming from Somerville it can be quicker to take Rt28 to Rt16, take the exit for Wellington and take Commercial Street into Malden (I use this route a lot). Charles Street is a convenient turn to work your way over to Main St and this restaurant is just one block up from Charles and Main.

                        3. re: gimlis1mum

                          do you know if they have feijoada on the weekend?

                          1. re: galangatron

                            galangatron they will almost definitely have it Saturday. Cafe Brazil also offers it on Fridays a la carte, but that is unusual and gimlis1mum report sounds like she went on a Friday (fish on the buffet) and what they had along those lines was dobradinha (tripe and beans). Sunday is another occasional "on the buffet day" (Branca's and Bahia Cafe both former of Somerville used to offer it then too) and Oasis may still, but Saturday is your good bet and should work well for your chow crew. :-) Its also less likely to be reheated. You can also pickup a "Kit Feijoada" at any Brazilian market which you can supplement with other meats (salted ribs, regular ribs, salted beef, additional sausages). Buy some shredded collards, black beans, farinha de mandioca, bay leaf, garlic, onion, and oranges and you are quickly on your way.

                            If you want a different version, JJ's of Somerville does Portuguese Feijoada Transmontana with red beans and Portugalia does a seafood white bean version. Both I think are available everyday, but probably more certain availability closer to the weekends.

                            I have been meaning to mention feijoada (portuguese & brazilian) and caldo de mocoto on the "feet" thread but never got around to it.

                            1. re: galangatron

                              Oh my god. I had feijoada at a Brazilian/Cape Verdean restaurant in PARIS of all places and it was a revelation. I have to eat it again soon. Who else in Boston does it if Bossa doesn't?

                              1. re: tamerlanenj

                                Any self-service or sit-down Brazilian restaurant in Boston serves their version of Feijoada on Saturdays. The only places you won't find it are some bakeries, nightclubs, and snack bars, but even some of those do offer it -- PicNic in Somerville (a Pizza place) does, Pastelaria Vitoria Brazil in Somerville was offering it a while back, and something like Petisco's in Somerville (small take-out fried pastry shop) may too.

                                Cafe Brazil in Allston (also serves on Fridays) presents it at the table like you would get at a restaurant in Brazil with all the side dishes (Oasis in Medford probably still does, although they focus more on churrasco + buffet now). Gauchao in Somerville and Oliveira's in Everett do decent buffet versions (this is nice in that you can pick the meats you like, although restaurants do tend to skimp a bit). I would be curious to try Tropical Cafe in Framingham and Marlborough as I have liked some of their "caldos" (soups) and think they might do a nice job. Not certain if these versions will live up to what you had in Paris.

                              2. re: galangatron

                                I went back to Bossa Nova on Sunday evening. They told us that they'd had feijoada on the buffet earlier in the day but I guess they'd run out. We all opted to order off of the menu and everyone liked their meals.

                                Gonna have to do this from memory since I just discovered that the iPad can't access their menu (ugh). We tried the chicken croquettes, little one-bite balls of tasty goddess. Also had the (I think) Bossa Nova salad with fresh spinach, cherry tomatoes, fresh button mushrooms and slices of perfectly ripe mango. The dressing was lightly sweet and the mango was awesome - not sure of the variety, it wasn't a stringy Tommy Atkins. The color was more yellow than orange. Our waiter split the order onto three separate plates without us asking, which I thought was very nice. ( three of our party arrived well ahead of the other two).

                                I tried the fish stew with one of my friends - a reasonable price if you order it for two, I thought ($18.95 for one, $22.95 for two). The price goes up a few dollars if you order it with fish and shrimp, and a few dollars more if you get mussels, fish and shrimp. We all loved it - I'll definitely order it again if I'm not in a meat-festival kind of mood.

                                Another gal had the scampi with linguine, the shrimp were large and plump and she enjoyed it. Someone had the ravioli and they were fine too.

                                Once again our waiter was very nice and I thought the service was good. Especially since three of us sat there nursing one drink and a couple of apps for an hour while we waited for our other friends ( there'd been a miscommunication...). We were full after dinner but decided to look at desserts anyway. Our waiter walked us to the dessert case and described each item. When we decided that we really were too full ton order something, he said that he'd give us a dessert on the house, just for us to try it. The one we had was called a parfait, layers of cake with passionfruit mousse and drizzles with chocolate. It was really good.

                                Once again then dining room was not that busy but there seemed to be a lot of takeout business happening. I noticed that they've printed up new menus, with pictures of most of the dishes. We'll definatley go there again.

                              3. re: gimlis1mum

                                By the way, this is slightly OT but in response to your happiness at having interesting options in Malden center, don't forget Fu Loon which is pretty much amazing, but best with a big group. Just try to avoid the Americanized dishes (though watch out if they have the authentic general gau's chicken; it's awesome).

                                1. re: tamerlanenj

                                  Oh yes, we love FuLoon too. What I should have said is that I;m excited about the options for ready-made, take-out meals...yes, our lives are so crazy that sometimes calling 20 minutes ahead for takeout is impossible :-)

                      2. re: gimlis1mum

                        Four of us tried Bossa Nova last night. We all did the buffet and Rodizio (the AYCE meat on the skewers) and we were all impressed. The buffet was fresher and more interesting than most Brazillian buffets we've had before. Everyone found something to love at the buffet. We arrived on the early side (6:30), so I can't attest to their ability to keep everything fresh on a weekday evening. Service was cheerful and highly responsive.

                        The meat varied in quality, though some of it was great. First cuts from the skewers tended to be over salted. My wife loved all the chicken that came to the table.

                        Most of my food trips to that neighborhood will be to Fu Loon, but for a major carnivorous chow down this would be the place.

                        1. re: pedxing

                          Four of us also did the AYCE skewers Sat. Very good service and delicious food. Next time I would like to explore more of the menu.