2008-08-20 / Restaurant of the Week

Samba Grill Brazilian BBQ

29-17 23rd Avenue
Astoria


t he sunny yellow dining room at Samba Grill puts you in a tropical mood with colorful murals and objets d'art on the walls. The staff and service is equally as sunny with owners Mirella and Leo Soares and brother Jean seeing to everyone's dining pleasure. Samba Grill opened in mid June but already has a steady clientele who come for

 
the finest meats slowly barbecued on the churrasca

and a wide array of all that Brazilian cuisine has to offer.

 

Samba Grill's concept is a simple one. The highest quality beef, pork, chicken and sausage can be ordered by the pound, or eaten in the restaurant for one fixed price. The hot and cold buffet can be enjoyed alone or combined with the barbecued meats for a low by-the-pound-price, or a fixed price to eat in the restaurant at one of the tidy tables. You can enjoy your meal in the restaurant, take it home with you or have it delivered to your office or home.

Starting with the meats from the sizzling churrasca, Samba Grill's variety and quality are hard to beat. If you dine in, you can enjoy an all-you-can-eat feast for just $25.95 for dinner and $17.95 for lunch. The expert servers will bring a gleaming skewer full of juicy, sizzling meat which is sliced right at your table for your taking. Moments later, another skewer appears with a different kind of meat and this gustatory process continues until you say "uncle". A red and green marker on your table signals the waiter as to when to bring more meat and when to take a break.

Some of the succulent meats offered include short ribs of beef whose meat just melts in your mouth. Pork loin that has been marinated in a special blend of wine and spices is so flavorful and tender, you'll want to eat more, but save room for the next savory meat. Picanha (pronounced "pee-KAHN-ya") is a boneless filet of top sirloin that is famous in Brazil and tasted even better with a spoon full of their vinaigrette dressing on top. Chicken sausage and linguica sausage are popular favorites, along with chunks of chicken breast wrapped in bacon. Tender chicken is marinated with a touch of beer then slow roasted over the rotisserie for extra flavor. "Fraldinha" is marinated skirt steak, cooked to perfection and sliced right onto your dish. Haven't heard enough? How about barbecued pork spare ribs, tender lamb chops or sliced prime rib of beef.

The buffet at Samba Grill is just as impressive and reflects the diversity of Brazil's culture which includes influences from Africa, Portugal and native Americans. Main courses on the buffet include the best tilapia I've ever tried, cooked with coconut milk, cilantro and mild spices. This fish is so fresh and flavorful and goes perfectly with fluffy rice and your choice of red or black beans. Oxtail stew, grilled chicken in lemon and butter sauce and breaded chicken are other fresh items to try. I loved so many of the side dishes, such as the corn casserole, baked with cheese until bubbly. Fresh okra, collard greens, vibrant beets and homemade slaw, dressed with a touch of olive oil instead of mayo are just a few of the veggies on the buffet. My dining companion loved the butternut squash, sweet plantains and fried yucca. Freshly tossed salads round out the menu.

 

The buffet alone offers plenty of delicious choices in meat, fish, chicken and side dishes and costs just $4.99 per pound. Add some cuts of meat to the buffet and you'll pay $5.99 per pound. You can also order a variety of meat alone for $7.99 per pound to take home or eat in. Samba Grill has a special delivery menu, available at lunch time and dinner time and includes grilled chicken breast over mixed greens, grilled NY strip steak with fried onions, tilapia with lemon and butter sauce and grilled skirt steak with hearts of palm. Samba Grill also provides expert catering with their favorite dishes available in half trays or full trays to make your next party a success.

Make sure you save room for the sweet, creamy flan that's made in house, or the coconut pie, made with chewy coconut and sweet coconut cream. Chocolate cake, rice pudding and light and refreshing passion fruit mousse end your meal in style. While they wait for their liquor license, you may bring your own bottle of wine or beer.

Samba Grill will serve you like a king, with skewer after skewer of tender, juicy meats and dozens of regional dishes on the buffet. Samba Grill is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. Mondays to Thursdays and Sundays they're open from 11am to 10pm, Fridays and Saturdays from 11am to 11pm. Call for free delivery in the area. Put a little Brazil in your life at Samba Grill!

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