2004-03-24 / Restaurant of the Week

Brazil Grill Has Tropical Cuisine And Bossa Nova, Too

Brazil Grill Has Tropical Cuisine And Bossa Nova, Too

We rarely venture outside Queens to write about restaurants, but Brazil Grill in Manhattan’s theatre district is well worth the trip. When you think of Brazil, you think of warm sunshine and warm people, eager to share their love of life, music and great food. Brazil Grill at Eighth Avenue and 48th Street offers the best of Brazilian tradition in great cuisine, cocktails and music, all served in a friendly atmosphere.

Owner Igor Hamden has created a very festive restaurant with a lively bar, whimsical lighting and linen covered tables. Besides great food, Brazil was the birthplace of the bossa nova and samba, and when these sultry songs are played by a solo guitarist every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, you’ll be transported to the beaches of Ipanema. Brazil’s national cocktail, a citrus concoction called a caipirinha, pronounced "kai-pee-reen-ya," will help you get there. Brazil Grill also offers a nice selection of wines and all favorite beers and cocktails.

Start with one of Brazil Grill’s delicious appetizers, such as shrimp sautéed in garlic and white wine sauce or my favorite, ceviche Brasileiro. Ceviche is a mélange of citrus-marinated seafood, at Brazil Grill featuring shrimp, scallops and mussels, with chopped salsa, served in a coconut shell. The freshness of the seafood and the novelty of the presentation made this a memorable start to a fine meal. There’s a nice variety of fresh salads to choose among, some of which also work as an entrée, such as citrus poached salmon with hearts of palm, red onion and romaine lettuce.

Brazil’s national dish is a hearty stew called feijoada, made with black beans, sausage, beef and pork and served with lots of fluffy rice. Since winter is still upon us, try this satisfying dish soon. Another winner is Frango bossa nova, tender chicken sautéed in olive oil with garlic and parsley. All entrees are served with rice and perfectly seasoned black beans ($14.95).

Brazilian cuisine, as diverse and passionate as the Brazilian people, incorporates seafood, fish, and chicken and puts a strong emphasis on grilled fresh meats. A Brazilian cut of grilled sirloin comes to the table still sizzling in a cast iron skillet. Top it with fresh salsa or, if you dare, Brazil Grill’s hot pepper sauce. Churrascos, or skewers, hold marinated chicken, flank steak, juicy sausage or succulent beef kebabs that have been grilled to perfection. Seared steak with red wine and calves’ liver with onions are some other meat choices. A separate churrascaria specializing in this particular cooking method will open next week on the lower level of the restaurant.

If you prefer fish and seafood, there are plenty of choices on the menu, as well as daily specials. Bacalhau, or codfish, is cooked with onions, potatoes, olives and olive oil for a traditional meal. Salmon in a yucca crust is served with vegetables and white wine cilantro sauce. Shrimp sautéed in coconut milk is served in a coconut for a tropical treat. A Brazilian paelha combines shrimp, fish, mussels, scallops and clams over saffron rice.

Because of its location, Brazil Grill is a great pre-theater restaurant. They offer a special three-course, prixe-fixe menu for just $24.95. First course choices are black bean soup, Brazilian salad or Caesar salad. Entrée choices include feijoada, skewer of half chicken, beef shish kebab brochette or fettuccine with shrimp. Dessert choices include passion fruit mousse, creamy rice pudding or flan. That price simply can’t be beat, and you’ll make it to your Broadway show in plenty of time. If you’re not going to the theater, relax while you listen to soothing music and enjoy a leisurely meal. The service is friendly and efficient and everyone on the wait staff smiles.

Next time you’re in Manhattan, put Brazil Grill on your list. There’s another location on MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village and an Astoria location is coming soon. For a great pre-theater dinner or a grand meal at any time, visit Brazil Grill, open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. A private party room is available and menus can be customized.

You’ll be swept away by the tropical flavors, music and friendliness at Brazil Grill.

Brazil Grill

787 Eighth Ave.

at 48th Street

New York, NY



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