The girls to the left gorged on meat, meat and more meat. The guys to the left were nearing a meat-drunk stupor. Tampa’s newest Brazilian steakhouse, Texas de Brazil, which translates as “house of stuff yourself”, makes for greater people watching than a Vegas extravaganza.
This churrascaria (tchu-RAS-ka-ria) or “meat orgy” features spear-wielding gauchos prancing pork, beef and lamb loins, flanks, ribs and filets up to patrons, again and again.
Under a sofa-sized floral canopy, the salad saloon is a vision of bounty with 50 appetizers, fruits and vegetables. Sushi, shrimp, salami, crisp greens, fat hearts of palm, peppered bacon, fresh mozzarella balls and purple pearls (actually, gorgonzola grapes) caught my attention. A hot station holds a pretty, coral-hued, lobster bisque. There are enough non-meat items here to fill any herbavore. Little salad nymphs quickly replenish the selections as they empty.
Texas de Brazil’s meats are given a spray of sea salt, spin-roasted, and shaved into strips or served in manageable portions. You better pace yourself because, like Texas, everything here is huge. While grilled chicken with Parmesan cheese or chicken breasts wrapped in bacon are perfectly acceptable elsewhere, they aren’t the stars here. My intrepid hubby honed in on tender spareribs, moist beef ribs, spicy Brazilian sausages and plump pork chops.
I zeroed in on a juicy, top sirloin called picanha, which arrived so hot it almost hissed on the plate. Did it give me a tan?
The churrascaria has a full bar and the waiters recommend the caipirinhas, Brazil’s national cocktail. The sweet-tart drink made with rum-like cachaça tasted like the Rio thing to me.
Texas de Brazil’s full indulgence costs $42.99. It’s open for dinner now and lunch arrives in June ($20). Watch out though, you can gain Brazilians of pounds.
Find it: 4112 Boy Scout Blvd. (in MetWest International)
Way to pay: AE, V MC, Discover
To get in:(813) 871-1400
Full liquor bar
Tara Hustedde, of Pure Public Relations & Marketing, gave me Texas de Brazil’s Gorgonzola Grapes recipe, which serves 4-8 people:
1 1/2 cups red grapes seedless
1 1/2 cups green grapes seedless
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
Combine ingredients in a large bowl. Refrigerate before serving.
My intrepid hubby lived on hoagies as a youth. The name comes from Italians during WWI who worked at the shipyard known as Hog Island in Philly. The Italian ham, prosciutto, salami, provolone cheese, and pepper sandwich was nicknamed the “Hog Island,” then shortened to “hoagie.” I’m making mine with leftover Easter ham. Next time you are in Philly, here’s where to eat.