Boi Na Braza
Where meat is king; the rest is details
Carew Tower, 441 Vine St., downtown 513-421-7111 www.boinabraza.com
Remember when you were a kid and your mom made you eat all your vegetables? That won't happen here.
At Boi Na Braza, meat is the star of the show.
In fact, as I settled in during a recent visit, our server, decked out in the traditional costume of a Brazilian gaucho (i.e., cowboy), advised us to "take it easy" on the massive salad bar.
New to Fountain Square in 2007, Boi Na Braza is a churrascaria, a concept restaurant based on the barbecuing technique of gauchos, who prepared skewered meats over open coals while tending cattle on the plains of southern Brazil.
My dining partner and I prepped for our carnivorous feast by ordering a glass of Malbec ($9), a red wine from Argentina, at our server's suggestion.
He quickly gave us the run-down: Meals start at the salad bar, a gleaming four-sided buffet in the center of the dining room that doesn't take the designation "salad" too seriously. After salads, it's time for the meat disk - a slip of paper, green on one side, red on the other, that signals we are ready for meat.
The salad bar has as many hot side dishes and animal products - smoked salmon, huge curls of bacon, chilled shrimp - as it does salad fixings. We dutifully followed our server's suggestion and sampled sparingly, agreeing that the marinated shiitake mushrooms were delicious.
While we ate, a dish of fried nibblers - plantains, bananas and more - arrived at our table, along with a basket of cheese biscuits. We took a few bites, but didn't want to ruin our appetites. Cautiously, we flipped the meat disk to green.
Immediately, gauchos lined up at our table, carving slices of any of 15 different selections of meat onto our plates. We agreed that the sirloin was fantastic - prepared medium, it's juicy, tender and very flavorful. The filet mignon, wrapped in bacon, scored only slightly less favorably. Leg of lamp got a nod of approval from my dining partner, and we were both pleasantly surprised by how good the chicken breast (again, wrapped in bacon) was. It was not too long before we had to flip our disk to red and take a breather.
Only after the server wheeled over the dessert cart and we selected, against our better judgment, a piece of chocolate cake and a Key lime pie, did we realize that desserts were not included in the fixed-price menu.
Ultimately, if you're looking for an elegant evening out, an all-you-can-eat meat-fest might not be your best bet. But the food was quite good, the atmosphere was pleasant, and best of all, Boi Na Braza is one more reason to return to Fountain Square on the weekends.
HOURS: Open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m. Monday-Friday, 5 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, and 4 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday.
FOR SALAD BAR LOVERS: A salad-bar-only meal ($19.50)
FOR THE CARNIVORES: An all-inclusive meal ($47.50)
DESSERT: Key lime pie ($5.95)
Click here to leave your own review of Boi Na Braza.