2006-08-30 / Restaurant of the Week

Gazette RESTAURANT Of The WEEK by Teresa Barile

Brasilianville Café & Grill 43-12 34th Avenue Astoria  718.472.0090

rasilianville Café & Grill is a wonderful introduction to the flavors, aromas and variety of Brazilian cuisine. This self-serve restaurant and takeout café allows diners to choose just what they want from a wide selection of delicious Brazilian casseroles, vegetables, chicken dishes, salads and barbecued meats

cooked on the churrasca.

Owner Deilson Teixeira

opened Brasilianville Café &

Grill nearly two and a half years ago, utilizing a concept that is already quite popular in his native country. At the rear of the casual

dining room is a steam table brimming with

house made specialties, many of which change b

each day to satisfy the throngs of regular diners. Pay just $3.99 a pound for a dazzling buffet of entrees and side dishes that includes tender breaded chicken cutlets, Brasilianville's version of chicken pot pie with a flaky crust and savory spinach soufflé. Pour a ladleful of chicken fricassee over fluffy white rice for a real treat. Codfish sautéed with green and red bell pepper and a tropical dish of fresh shrimp with yucca and coconut milk, exemplify the diversity of Brazilian cuisine. No Brazilian meal would be complete without the ubiquitous rice and beans, and Brasilianville Café & Grill's red and black beans, stewed with herbs and spices for hours, beg to be poured over a mound of white rice. Ravioli with pesto and other pasta dishes are also on hand.

Alongside the steam table of hot entrees is a salad bar where diners can serve themselves freshly tossed salad, marinated beets, a summer salad of cold shrimp, cabbage and fruit, Russian style potato salad and cold pasta salads.

The star of the show is the grill, where a master grill man tends to the churrasca, where the finest beef, pork, chicken and sausage are threaded on giant steel skewers and slow roasted over an open flame. Picanha, sublimely tender fillet of beef tenderloin, is sliced to order off the skewer and then replaced for more slow cooking. A zesty salsa from the salad bar further complements the flavor of this savory meat. The beef short ribs fell off the bone and melted in our mouths. Marinated skirt steak is also a meat lover's dream. Tender pork tenderloin is wrapped in smoky bacon that cooks to a crisp over the open flame. Sweet and

flavorful pork and chicken barbecued

sausages and tender chicken legs are also cooked on the churrasca. A combination price of $4.99 includes barbecued meat and items from the steam table and fresh salad bar. You can also order meat alone for just $6.99 per pound, a real bargain when you consider that all the work has been done so you can take it home and feed your hungry brood.

At lunchtime, the Brasilianville Café & Grill offers chewy rolls filled with sliced beef, pork and chicken. When the cooler weather arrives, an array of house made soups will be available each day. Enjoy a chicken croquette or empanada from the bakery section as an appetizer or a light snack.

The dessert case is hard to ignore. Fresh pineapple cake soaked in coconut milk, passion fruit mousse and flan with caramelized sugar are some of my favorites, along with refreshing fruit salad and Jell-O. The beverage cooler offers a variety of Brazilian soft drinks made with fruit juice as well as Brazilian beer and other imports that go well with the hearty meats and casseroles.

The self-serve concept is great because you select just what you want, and pay only for the amount you take. It also eliminates tipping, though most people leave a little something for the master grill man.

Eat in a hurry or take home a feast for your family and friends and leave the barbecuing to the master grill man at Brasilianville Café & Grill, where many members of the burgeoning Brazilian community here in Queens will celebrate Brazil Independence Day on September 7. Celebrate with a great Brazilian meal at Brasilianville Café & Grill in Astoria. Cash only, please.

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