Last night we got together with Cy-n-Ide for the meat fest that is Texas de Brazil. My first impression was that it was awfully strange to put an upscale restaurant in a dying mall like Regency. You could almost feel the Azalea Mall-like desolation as you drive in and then, in the middle of that, is all the activity of a very busy restaurant. Finn didn’t join us but he would have appreciated the big copper bowls of fire on either side of the entrance a’la Hell’s Kitchen. One appreciates the impact of your choices of TV viewing when your three-year-old puts a pencil behind his ear, proclaims himself Gordon Ramsey and welcomes you to Hell’s Kitchen!
Wonder what the carbon footprint is for those bowls of flame…
The inside is pretty impressive but one has come to expect the push for the ‘wow’ factor among these upscale chains. A closer look reveals cheap workmanship on the walls and ceiling and that the flowers are fake. The bar was nice but seemed more of a holding area than someplace you would want to go to enjoy a cocktail.
Once seated the waiter (one of many that would be taking care of us) began his scripted speech. When some marketing hack back at the home office wrote this he/she probably meant well. New concept, unusual dining experience, blah, blah, blah. When a waiter gives a canned speech in a monotone you start to wonder where the nearest exits are and if your seat cushion can be used as a flotation device. Gladly, things got better after that.
The ladies ran off to the salad table while Cy and I perused the wine list. It was a complete list with all the usual suspects but a bit top heavy. Very little under $50 and not too much in the $50-$90 range. I selected a 2003 Panther Creek (OR) Pinot Noir for $89. It came out as a 2004. Except for a few stellar vintages that I like (2001 Napa Cabs or 2003 Rhones) I am not picky about years but I alway do feel a little bit ripped off when I order a wine and they bring out a different year than advertised. It did turn out to be excellent so no worry.
The concept of TdB is pretty simple. Big salad bar, lots of cool items like rare tuna, smoked salmon, shrimp salad, soups and the like. All very tasty but you can never really escape the lingering ‘buffet flavour’. The big draw is the meat. Lots of it. Carved at your table off of long pointy sticks. We were constantly barraged by offers of filet, sirloin, or flank steak. Parmesan chicken or roast pork. We realized being parked at a table close to the kitchen was not a bad thing here. The beef dishes were all great, crusty on the outer layer and medium rare inside. Sliced off for you to grab with a handy pair of tongs. The chicken and pork were ‘ok’, a little dry I thought, but the little sausages were excellent.
Since Cy and I were the only ones still drinking we chose to forgo a second bottle and, since I was a mojito virgin, well, not so much now. Mojito’s are not too bad – light rum, cane sugar juice, mint leaves, lime and soda. A little sweet for my taste but they go down fast. Too fast. May have to get a proper recipe and make a pitcher for our Super Bowl party.
All in all, a pretty good meal. Word of warning, not cheap. It’s all you can eat but at a premium price. We had a 50% off coupon (sign up for these online) and Cy-n-Ide had some special gift certificate so we got out fairly reasonably (service was good so we tipped, as you should, on the full, pre-discounted amount). Without the discounts I probably wouldn’t go back. Don’t get me wrong, it was good, and probably worth the full price. If, however, I am going to drop that kind of cash I don’t want to have to get my own salad and appetizers, and I really would like more flavours and textures than just roasted meats.