My wife and I had an opportunity to visit Texas de Brazil at City Creek Center over the weekend. Texas de Brazil is a Churrascaria, which is roughly translated from the Portuguese word for “Barbecue”. The concept isn’t new to Salt Lake City, there are several others in town, and they all share common elements between them. You take a lot of meat of all sorts from beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, duck, etc. and place them on skewers roasted rotisserie style, where it is then brought to your table in wonderful fashion on those same skewers and cut directly onto your plate over, and over, and over again until either you, or your stomach that is ready to burst at the seam screams STOP! While some of these elements are shared amongst some of the churrascaria players in Utah, Texas de Brazil stands alone with their restaurant from the building, to the service, to the quality of the food. If you seek a place to host a special date or event in your life, and you like food, and you especially like well prepared delicious meat, then look no further than Texas de Brazil.
Texas de Brazil is located in the heart of the City Creek outdoor shopping center just South of Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City. You can find it directly West of the light rail station off of Main Street. Stepping into the building itself, you feel like you are stepping into a different world. There were several hosts standing attention waiting for our arrival, and upon giving our name and reservation time, we were ushered through a magical realm where we were king and queen for the night. I didn’t notice an actual red carpet, but given the service, and plethora of meats and delicious smells in the air, I knew I was in for the night of my life.
A few pics from inside this palace of protein:
I was also granted access to view where they actually grill the meats. I could have stayed there all night if it weren’t for my wife waiting for me back at our table. It was every barbecue enthusiast’s dream.
As I was checking out the meat, the guy in charge of the grilling asked me how I liked my meat cooked, to which I replied “I like pretty much anything” Most of the meats start our prepared at a medium-rare temperature, but my wife likes here meat well done. For the rest of the night anytime anyone came to our table with a skewer, there was always both medium, medium rare, and well done cuts for both of our tastes. This was coordinated and communicated out to several different servers, and we didn’t even have to say anything twice. This is just an example of the level of service and detail that you can expect from Texas de Brazil.
Back at the table we were just sat down to our elegantly decorated spot. As we sat down the hostess took our napkin and neatly folded it on each of our laps? Are you kidding me, I almost chuckled out loud, because you just don’t get this type of pampering from other places. Even something as ordinary as a glass of water was anything but ordinary. We got our choice of bottled spring water or sparking water as shown below:
One thing I remember from my past experiences at churrascaria places was the lemonade. I’m a big fan of Brazilian lemonade, they definitely know how to make drinks. Texas de Brazil was no exception and they had several flavors to choose from. We went with the strawberry and lime versions, and they were spectacular. Getting them refilled was no problem either. Every time my glass came dangerously close to being empty, a new fresh glass was brought out.
There were a few other additions that were brought to our table, and it is hard to say which one was my favorite. Each one served a special purpose. First the pao de queso. Unlike other steakhouses that bring you bread and whipped butter, these guys bring a special South American treat. Pao de Queso in Brazil is much like the pan de buono in Colombia. I’m sure other countries have their own iterations, but they are basically round balls of bread with cheese mixed in with the dough and not separate. They were chewy and delicious!
Something else brought out that tasted incredible were the caramelized bananas. Bananas and Plantains are really big in South America as well. This dish could have been a dessert in its own right, but was a good pallet cleanser between meat cuts. I suggest taking your time with the meat and savoring each cut and flavor instead of rushing through everything. This took a great deal of constraint for me personally, when I was 6 years old, every Halloween I would map out an area of our neighborhood and plan several possible trick or treating routs to maximize my candy grabbing potential. In related fashion, my plan at Texas de Brazil was to pace myself, savor each of the meats, try out the mint jelly and chimichuri sauce specially created by Texas de Brazil for your dinner, and get the most out of my meal. The bananas were perfect, I had a bite in between everything and they were wonderful.
Finally we were brought out a nice dish of garlic mashed potatoes, because honestly how are you going to have steak without having mashed potatoes?
Okay if you are not hungry yet, you are about to be. On to the salad bar. I have read some of the reviews around comparing Texas de Brazil to their competitors. It is true others have more perceived selections at the salad bar, but in my opinion this may be somewhat of a smoking mirror. What Texas de Brazil does have is quality and well thought out accompaniments for your dinner. You are not eating at Zupas you are eating at a churrascaria. Here are a few of the dishes that these guys do well, but definitely one of my favorites was the lobster bisque.
The salad bar actually had about a half-dozen different cheeses, all of the highest quality. The pictured above parmesan cheese was perfect for the lobster bisque and added that nice little bite of flavor to the soup. They also had fresh mozzarella balls for the taking along with a fontina, gruyere, and others. Another common staple was the feijuada or black beans that came with a bed of rice. They were both delicious. Here are a few of the other items we found.
Finally the salad bar had a few sauces that were great garnishing for the meats. My favorite was the chimichurri sauce which was almost like a pesto. It went great on everything I tried it with.
Okay I guess its time to show off the stars of the show. We had garlic steak, sausage, flank steak, duck bacon wrapped fillet mignon, a leg of lamb, barbecue pork ribs, and parmesan crusted pork tenderloin. Yes … it was glorious!
One thing I didn’t take a picture of, but wish I had, was the pineapple slices. Texas de Brazil takes pineapple and grills them in sugar, sugar, and basil. The pineapple is best saved for the end of the meal, because of pineapples natural meat tenderizing properties. It will help with digestion. Texas de Brazil also brings offers tea, coffee, or cappuccino at the end of your meal.
Texas de Brazil has a variety of desserts to choose from. I’ve always been amused with the tray of plastic desserts some places have. While I would have gladly chosen any of these, we instead opted for the fresh papaya mixed in with ice cream accompanied with some blackberry liquor of some sort. Papaya was meant for ice cream!
A few other things to note before my final remarks, Texas de Brazil has an eClub where you can get special deals for anniversaries and birthdays. You can sign up by visiting this link. They also have special kids prices where 2 and under are free, 3-5 years old are $5, and children 6-12 are half off. Senior citizens and military also receive discounts off their bill. Follow then on Twitter @texasdebrazil or on Facebook.
My wife and I had a wonderful visit to Texas de Brazil. I knew it was good, because for the rest of our evening we talked about our favorite dishes, how much fun we had, and have nice everything was. There are other churrascarias in Salt Lake City that are slightly below Texas De Brazil’s price point. Is it worth the few extra bucks to go to this location? Absolutely! If you are in town on business, or are celebrating an anniversary or birthday, you are probably looking for not just great food, but the experience absolutely matters. I’ve mentioned several examples in this review of how much attention to detail was given to everything from the dinner to the service. Let the staff at Texas de Brazil pamper you for an hour, and you won’t regret it.