Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Rodizio Grill in Braintree

If you dine at a churrascaria, a Brazilian grill where you can eat all you want, and you have room for dessert, then you just didn't try hard enough. When that parade of enticing meats on skewers marches by your table, you can't help but taste a bit of everything until your belly cries surrender.

Last week, I dined, as a media guest, at a new churrascaria, the Rodizio Grill, which is now open at the South Shore Plaza in Braintree. The Rodizio Grill is part of a chain, currently located in ten states, and it was established in 1995 by Ivan Utrera, a native of Brazil. This is their first restaurant in Massachusetts and as it is brand new, some leeway needs to be granted to them in my review, to give them time to work out any initial kinks. Overall, I enjoyed my dinner and believe it has potential to become a popular destination.

As you enter the restaurant, the fully stocked bar is right in front of you, with a couple of televisions behind the bar.

The dining room is medium-sized, simply decorated and with a casual elegance to it. It has an appealing ambiance to it, and even when the restaurant was fairly full, the noise level was manageable.

I like the interesting pictures on the wall, lots of colors and with a cartoon-like style. They help to brighten up the restaurant.

The grilling area is fully open so you can watch them preparing the various meats, or the pineapple, as pictured above. You only have two choices for the menu, either the Full Rodizio (dinner $34.99/lunch $22.99) or Salads Only (dinner $22.99/lunch $12.99), and children under 12 have different, lower rates.
Both choices are all-you-can-eat options.

There is a fully stocked bar though the wine list seemed rather ordinary, and did not have any Brazilian wines, though I liked the fact they have the Taylor Fladgate 10 & 20 Year Old Ports. You might instead want to try one of their eight specialty cachaca cocktails, such as the famed Caipirinha. I decided to try the Caipituba ($8.95), which is basically a caipriniha with the addition of Ubatuba Guarana, a carbonated beverage made from the Guarana plant. The drink was effervescent, not too sweet and you could not taste the alcohol. A fine summer sipper.

Before you go to the salad bar, you are brought three different appetizers, which are also all-you-can-eat. There are Polenta fries, a nice crunchy treat, and Pao de Queijo, a cheese bread made with yucca flour. The bite-sized breads were best when they were warm, with a dominant cheese-flavored interior.

You also receive a plate of Banana Frita, basically sweet fried bananas covered with sugar. Though I liked these, with a fine crunch to the exterior and a creamier, banana inside, I thought they might be more appropriate as a dessert because of all the sugar.

The Salad Bar is a large rectangle, with tons of dishes available, from rice to black beans, from parmesan cheese to slices of bread. One long side has a myriad of salad vegetables so that you can make your own salad. The veggies looked clean and fresh.

The other lengthy side contained a number of prepared salads, such as Artichoke salad, Roasted Edamame salad, and Garbanzo salad. Again, the dishes all looked fresh and appealing. If you only ordered the Salads Only option, you would have plenty of choices on the salad bar. For me, I chose to only sparingly select anything here as I wanted to save room for all of the meats to come. My dining companion though felt that the Couve, sauteed collard greens & bacon, were amazing, some of the best she has ever had.

The Gauchos then began to bring their skewers of meat to our table, slicing off our choices. As the restaurrant is new, the servers were a bit inexperienced, not as polished as you might find elsewhere. They were courteous, pleasant and eager to please, but a little bit raw. I am sure that will change with time as they grow more confident and experienced in their roles. If you like your meat cooked a certain way, such as rare or well done, they will ensure they bring it to you.

On your table, you have an hourglass-like block that is colored green on one side, and red on the other. If you stand it up with the green at the top, the Gauchos will continue stopping by your table with meat. If you need a rest, just turn the red side up and they will pass you by until you turn it back to green. Once you are fully done, you turn it onto its side. This is an excellent way to control the pace of your dinner.

Overall, I was impressed with their meats, which were tender, juicy, and cooked just right. I have been to other churrascaria where the meats were overcooked and dry. Generally, the meats were also seasoned properly, without an overabundance of salt, like some other churrascaria do. Plus, there is a good variety to the meat selection, with maybe 16+ options available each night. Despite the newness of the restaurant, they are on the top of their game with their grills.

Above, is a picture of a skewer of Sobre Coxa, marinated & seasoned chicken, which was quite good.

A skewer of Paiche, a South American freshwater fish, one of the largest freshwater fish in the world. This fish is just starting to be seen on American menus and it has a nice white texture with a more subtle flavor. It reminded me a little of cod and was cool to see it on their menu.

They serve several types of beef, like this Fraldinha, a tenderloin. You will also see choices such as the Picanha, top sirloin, and the Bife Com Alho, garlic beef. The Garlic Beef may have been my favorite of the night, and I had several slices of it. The smell alone was alluring, though the taste was superb as well, with plenty of garlic on the exterior of the beef.

The Frango Agri-Doce, sweet and spicy chicken, definitely has a hot, spicy kick that is balanced with the sweetness. The marinade is delicious, and I loved the heat on the finish.

One of the few items not on a skewer is the Assado, a Brazilian pot roast with potatoes and veggies. Yes, it was tasty too, with tender meat, basically falling apart.

The Linguica were juicy and flavorful.

Some of the other meats included the Lombo, marinated pork loin; Peru Com Bacon, turkey wrapped in bacon; and Coracao, chicken hearts with a twist of lime. All were very good and even the chicken hearts, which sometimes can be tough, were relatively tender.

Besides the meats, there are a couple other grilled treats which you will enjoy. The Tomate Grelhado Com Parmesao, grilled tomato with melted Parmesan cheese, was good but my favorite was the Abacaxi, grilled glazed pineapple, The pineapple slices were still juicy and with only a mild sweetness. You might not think grilled pineapple is that good, but this is compelling and you will want to enjoy more than a single slice.

I didn't have any room for dessert though they looked appealing. The Brigadeiro Royal Banana Sundae is a chocolate cake topped with ice cream, sliced bananas, Brigadeiro sauce, whipped cream, chocolate sprinkles and a cherry.

This is the Rabanada, a warm cinnamon pastry with a creamy center, served with vanilla ice cream and laced with caramel sauce.

The Rodizio Grill has made a very good showing during its initial opening and has potential. The most important aspect, their grilled meats, are already impressive and the rest will hopefully shake out during the next couple months. Come here and bring your appetite as there will be plenty you want to try. Don't load up too much on the salads, saving space for all of the grilled meats, as well as the delicious grilled pineapple.

Rodizio Grill on Urbanspoon


rico said...

I love the food and the exciting ambience. It is a great place to celebrate, celebrate any event, it's fun with all the Gauchos coming and going make it more fun. It is a good party atmosphere.the food is delicious, you can count on that, and the salad bar is beautiful as well as tasty with a great variety of items thoughtfully prepared, a vegetarian would not be disappointed. my only wish is some sound absorbing fabrics or acoustics, and i wish the sign could be angled out over sidewalk so you could see the location from a distance. the location is rather obscure.

Leni said...

Restaurant had a great ambiance, but the service and food were the worst I have ever had! Not only did my waitress know we were angry and upest with the experience but our waitress went ahead and charged us for drinks they couldnt supply! They evidently hooked up the bar taps wrong. To make us feel a bit better the waitress suggested dessert and said," do you like creme brule?" We said, yes,.... well guess what they were out of that too!! AND TO TOP IT OFF SHE RPLIES," this isn't your lucky day." I seriously felt like I was being Punked! You can't make this up! She then proceeds to give us the bill and decided it would be the right thing to give us a 20% discount to a sister restaurant!!!! No, dont take off a percentage from the $200.00 bill at this RESTURANT?. Where do they find these people? I have never experienced such NONSENSE ! My main question is what restaurant will be taking its place ? Do your self and your wallet a favor if you make a left and walk about 20 feet in the mall you can experience a better meal at chipotle!!