There are many places unfriendly to vegetarians. But only a few special establishments that are completely antithetical to those of the veggie-persuasion.
A Brazilian churrascaria, otherwise known as a steak house, is one of those particularly unsuitable places. And that is where we went for a company lunch today.
Though all my coworkers assured me of their plentiful salad options and many vegetarian dishes, I was skeptical. It is a meathouse and I expect only one thing of a place like that.
This little sign was ingenious. Flip to green side to signal to servers to keep coming around with offerings of different meat cuts. Flip to red to take a break or end service.
Turns out there really were a lot of salad options. I was impressed by the array until I started eating.
Starting clockwise from the Brazilian potato salad at 8 o’clock (tasted like underseasoned regular potato salad), I had grilled marinated eggplant, half a very bland egg with cream sauce on top, oversalted couscous, extremely balsamic-tasting grilled squashes, chewy dried corn salad, beets and a tomato slice, and regular romaine salad with great tangy Brazilian salsa on top.
I was pretty hungry so despite the mediocrity of the food, I ate mostly everything. And that little golden nubbin next to the couscous was a fried polenta stick hot from the fryer. It was amazing. Each bite was like a hot explosion of garlicky oil in my mouth. Better than any fry. I actually stole all the polenta sticks on the table and devoured them. My coworkers let me. I think they felt bad subjecting a vegetarian to a steak house.
Besides the polenta stick and Brazilian salsa, I probably would not eat any of those salads again. I really wanted to like the chewy corn salad because it sounded cool, but the texture was unpleasant and the flavor indiscernible.
Then the meat started arriving.
Sword-like skewers running through haunches of meat started parading around the table with the server stopping at each plate and asking whether we would like a slice/leg/wing/sausage. Pretty much what I expected. But then something completely horrible came around.
Those, my friends, are not little wieners. They are not baby sausages. They are chicken hearts. Each little nugget is a chicken heart. That stick is carrying 30 dead chickens. It is an immense rapier of death. I was sad for a moment, then thought they were just using as much of the chicken carcass as possible. And that is a good thing.
Plate two was slightly better. I got some more of the salsa with black beans and toasted yucca flour. The yucca flour was so interesting. It tasted like coarse ground, seasoned croutons with the consistency of rough sand. In a good way. Clockwise on top was a garbanzo and kidney bean salad, mango salad, mint, cucumber, and tomato salad, Brazilian slaw, and a creamy mushroom dish in the middle that went uneaten after I realized it contained chicken.
The only thing worth mentioning besides the yucca flour is the mango salad. Super sweet with very thin slices of onions (I could handle it so it was very mildly onion-flavored), it was refreshing and juicy. All the other salads were tasteless except for the beans which were salty. I did not eat very much of this plate.
I guess the theme of the day was either completely flavorless or overly salted.
I was a underwhelmed, but somehow still managed to eat myself into a food coma.
And there was still dessert.
I love tres leches cake. Up there with crème brûlée as one of my favorite desserts. This one was exceptional. Creamy, sweet, drenched with the milky sauce, the cake held its shape well and melted in my mouth.
I was helped out of Espetus in a wheelbarrow.
No. More. Buffets.