OFF BEAT

OFFBEAT: Texas de Brazil a Brazillian Steakhouse with high spirits

Phil Potempa's daily entertainment news column
2012-12-19T00:00:00Z OFFBEAT: Texas de Brazil a Brazillian Steakhouse with high spiritsPhilip Potempa philip.potempa@nwi.com, (219) 852-4327 nwitimes.com

Today's food section coverage of Brazilian steakhouse claim-to-fames in our Chicagoland area would not be complete without including Texas de Brazil Churrascaria Brazilian Steakhouse., 51 E. Ohio St., in Chicago

Celebrating its five-year anniversary, this restaurant location with its sword-swift "guachos" servers, not only carve up large portions of prime meats, but have even offered cooking classes.

Texas de Brazil, a 700-seat restaurant featuring a menu of slow-roasted meats served on skewers, also has a selection of more than 70 salads and hot and cold, appetizers as well as a sushi bar and assorted desserts.

And at the Chicago location, the eatery also stars wine aerialists who retrieve bottles while performing in Cirque du Soleil fashion, floating from wires.

Also about to celebrate a five-year anniversary (working at our newspaper with me), is my Times columnist colleague Eloise Valadez, our Restaurant Scene columnist and food and entertainment sections' editor. One of my favorite memories of Eloise is when she agreed to trade places with the wine sommelier aerialist at Texas de Brazil in 2009, and I've included the photo here.

It was Texas de Brazil Vice President Salim Asrawi who thought up the flying wine expert idea, which he said was inspired by something similar he saw while dining at Aureole Restaurant in Las Vegas.

At the tables down below in the dining area, guests agree the house special is picanha (top sirloin), along with lamb and Brazilian sausage, all sizzled over an open fire with charcoal, with most of the meats seasoned with sea salt and marinated overnight.

They also serve variations of the traditional Brazilian caipirinha drink featuring lime, sugar cane syrup and cachaca, with coconut being a signature favorite, as well as sides like fried bananas and as a finale, papaya cream, a mousse-like dessert.

While visiting Florida earlier this month while traveling with my parents Chester and Peggy, we dined at the Texas de Brazil in Tampa and found the food and hospitality just as delicious and gracious as our Chicago location.

As General Manager Carlos Restrepo pointed out to me, his location didn't have a trapeze artist wine sommelier, but rather a very tall wooden ladder on wheels that he used to scale the wine racks throughout the night.

"It's not quite as entertaining, but I get the job done," he said.

Texas de Brazil is family owned and operated. Started in 1998, the company currently operates 20 domestic locations and three international locations. I'm told there are "future growth" plans, including locations for Salt Lake City, Columbus, Pittsburgh and Houston.

FYI: (312) 670-1006 or texasdebrazil.com

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at philip.potempa@nwi.com or (219) 852-4327.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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