Restaurant Review: Na'Brasa Brazilian Steakhouse
At $43 per person (excluding drinks and desserts), Na’Brasa Brazilian Steakhouse is not the kind of restaurant we can afford to go to very often. But after going there for the first time this weekend for a special occasion, I can say it’s easily one of my all-time favorite restaurants. If you like meat, then you need to get yourself to Na’Brasa as soon as possible. If you don’t like meat, what’s wrong with you?
There are two courses in a Na’Brasa meal. The first course is the salad bar, which has a huge variety of foods, which are mostly not meat, at least not primarily. But the real action is in the second course. At your table, you have a small laminated card with a brown side and a yellow side. When you’re ready for meat, you flip it over so the yellow side is facing up, which signals the waiters to come to your table.
But these aren’t just any waiters. It’s a team of about 10 waiters, each carrying a giant skewer and a carving knife. On each skewer is one particular kind of meat: filet mignon, picanha, pork ribs, beef short ribs, sausage, bacon-wrapped chicken, lamb chops, and many other varieties. The waiters are constantly swarming the room, going from the kitchen past each table, looking for yellow cards. When a waiter sees your yellow card, he stops and asks if you want the particular kind of meat that he’s carrying. If so, he carves off a slice for you on the spot. And each skewer typically has three or four different pieces of the same cut, so you can choose the level of doneness for your slice.
As long as you’ve got your yellow card showing, waiters will continually come by and give you more meat. When you need a break, you flip your card over to the brown side. Then flip back to yellow when you’re ready to feast again.This is pretty much the greatest idea in the history of restaurants.
The meat was delicious. The picanha, sausage, and beef short ribs in particular were simply amazing. The picanha had a nice fat cap that was perfectly crisped. The sausage and short ribs were ridiculously tender and richly flavored. There was also salmon (technically part of the salad course, but it’s carried around the room and brought to your table like the rodÝzio meats) that was quite good.
And then there’s the desserts: you’re so stuffed that you can barely even think about them, but you made the mistake of checking them out online beforehand, so you have to get one. I got the Peanut Butter Bomb and loved it. I also had a bit of Travis’ Cheesecake Xango which was wonderful.
In addition to the food being excellent, these were some of the best waiters I’ve ever seen. This guy was especially good:
He’s picanha guy, and he spent a lot of time at our table. I wish I would have taken some photos of the meat slices before devouring them, but in that photo, you can at least see the picanha on the skewer.
Na’Brasa also helpfully labels everything on their salad bar to indicate which items are gluten-free, and 14 of the 17 meats are also gluten-free. It’s nice to see a restaurant catering to this common food sensitivity, rather than worrying about silly fads like the low-fat diet.