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Posts from the ‘Brazilian’ Category

Shovel Time: Copacabana Brazilian Grill

In the last five years that I’ve lived alone, my interest in cooking has gone way down. Not into it after work, and not even into it as a Sunday project. Even when I force myself to make something Sunday night that sounds great (most recently, a Korean short rib stew) by two consecutive dinners and a lunch I’m sick of it. It’s only on the verge of moving that I’ve become ok with this. I’m not going to feel bad for relying on the completely reasonably priced restaurants in my neighborhood.


Which brings me to Copacabana, kind of like a low-rent churrascaria, which is very cost effective if you’re into meat trying to go light on carbs (I can’t give up bread!). I couldn’t justify buying ribs, pork belly, and prime rib just for a few slices.  On some nights the self-serve buffet is just ok (I’m sad when there is no chicharron) but on my recent visit it was great and had everything freshly replenished. There’s also a guy who cuts slices of around eight skewers of meat on a rotisserie. Most cuts are closer to well done than rare (and I’m sure you could ask for slices closer to the middle) but aren’t dry and flavorless at all.

There is green salad and toppings plus fried yuca (carby, whatever), plantains, beans, rice, and also multiple Brazilian dishes that I don’t know the names of like one with shrimp, mushrooms in a pinkish cream sauce, a black-eyed pea thing with ham and hard-boiled eggs that is almost like fried rice and I could eat a whole bowl of, and slightly odd cold dishes, one which looks like julienned beets from afar but is actually vinegary ham.

Anyway, you can be strategic and less dense items. If I’m correct, the meat is $9.99/lb and buffet and meat is $6.99/lb. The above takeout container’s contents cost around $12 (there’s more in there than it appears) and that was dinner and lunch the next day, which isn’t ridiculously cheap but totally reasonable considering I might spend $12 on a midtown sandwich when I go to the office.

Copacabana Brazilian Grill * 80-26 Roosevelt Ave., Jackson Heights, NY 

Katmandu Spice

I think this might be a record between a visit and a closing; Katmandu Spice is already closed. (9/13/10)

Queens is a melting pot, sure. And sometimes that pot bubbles right over. Whether or not you enjoy the culinary chaos might depend on how you feel about eating Brazilian, Nepali and Chinese-Indian food cooked by the same chef.

Kathmandu spice interior

I will never say no to novelty, so Kathmandu Spice, closer to the Irish end (after dinner, I was getting into the scene at the The Cuckoo’s Nest until they turned off The Smiths, flipped on the strobes and the techno DJ took over) of Woodside, lured me in. Sadly, others weren’t so convinced. Not a single other diner showed up during our visit on a prime Saturday night.

Kathmandu spice bbq appetizer

Oddly, we only ordered from the Brazilian section—I was more in the mood for grilled meats than momos or Manchurian chicken. The mixed grill contained a few chicken and beef chunks, breakfast sausage-like franks, farofa for sprinkling, and a vinegary salsa. It was a sampler but I could’ve gone for another pão de queijo even if this one was a little heavy on the bottom.

Kathmandu spice peixe de praia

The peixe de praia is a very similar presentation, just with the addition of rice, beans and plantain coins atop the farofa.

Kathmandu spice bobo de camarao

They weren’t able to make the ensopado de frango, a chicken okra stew, so I opted for the bobó de camarão instead. I knew intellectually that the sauce was made of yuca puree, coconut milk and dende oil, but I kept thinking it was cheese with a hint of pineapple. Something about this dish seemed Asian, similar to a  Hong Kong fusion marrying American cheese with lobster. I ate it, and my leftovers too, so I wasn't put off by the mix. I'm not sure that I would order it again, if only to  give the Nepalese food a chance. Hopefully, diners will give Katmandu Spice a chance, period.

Next stop:  Indo Hut, the self-proclaimed "Indo Continental Bistro" covered in grand opening flags I passed this weekend on Queens Boulevard.

Kathmandu Spice * 60-15A Woodside Ave., Woodside, NY

Brasil Coffee House

1/2 So, I grew up in the freaking coffee capital of the US (or is that Seattle? I get confused. Maybe Portland is the nation’s microbrew capital, though I swear on some horrible Food Network show I was trying not to pay attention to said that Denver had that honor) but all I drink is black drip coffee. Even though I choose to drink sucky coffee cart coffee, I can tell when coffee doesn’t suck.

Brasil_coffee_house_yuca_cakeI wouldn’t be opposed to drinking Brasil Coffee House’s product if one existed anywhere near me. And almost more importantly, their yuca cakes, croquettes and cheesey pan de queijo are way more exciting than muffins (but then, I’m muffin averse). By the way, that's not a muffin on the right–it's a springy, coconut-topped yuca cake that just happens to be in a muffin wrapper.

Read my review on

Brasil Coffee House * 48-19 Vernon Blvd., Long Island City, NY


Malagueta_shrimp_stewI was semi-secretly relived that when I arrived in Astoria around 8pm, the restaurant had run out of the Saturday-only feijoada. I felt a little bad because I’ve never tried the Brazilian national dish and not many places in NYC do it, instead they frequently opt for the rodizio-style parade of skewered meat until you’re ill approach (which reminds me of what I think was my second Valentine’s Day celebration with James when he took me to Churrascaria Plataforma, which seems more wrong now than it did at the time. I’ve grown picky with age—I used to be thrilled to be taken out anywhere. Valentine’s days never end up being terribly romantic, at least in my world, but all-you-can-eat grilled beef certainly doesn’t help matters). I’d eaten Argentine parillada the evening before and had used leftover skirt steak and sausage enhanced with an egg and potatoes for breakfast (eating light is a tough concept for me) so I was meated-out for the rest of the weekend.

Malagueta_frittersAt Malagueta, a warmer, cozier place than I’d expected, I tried the moqueca de camarao, a Bahian-style shrimp stew with palm oil, onions, peppers and coconut milk over rice. More Afro than Latino. I always thought dende was one of those sure to kill you fats but at least they were being authentic. Sometimes I hate it when restaurants use olive oil when it had no place in the cuisine. The dish was fairly light, slightly New Orleans-ish and thankfully free of grilled meat.

For an appetizer, I had fried cheese-rice balls with an orange dip that’s similar to what accompanies a Bloomin’ Onion. That’s a good thing but I felt a little guilty so I split them with James even though he had a green pea soup of his own. I’m not sure how Brazilian these fritters were, but Malagueta isn’t purist. Malagueta_chocolate_mousseThey use the term continental to describe some of their cooking, but that phrase has such derogatory connotations. James’s pork loin with mashed potatoes and bacon vinaigrette wasn’t like bad hotel food.

Everyone around us was mad for the chocolate mousse, to the point where diners waiting for seats were saying, “I hope you save some chocolate mousse for us” to the waitresses. Strange. I’m not nuts for pudding-ish sweets, too soft in the mouth, no texture. But we got the mousse anyway and well, it tasted like rich chocolate. No complaints.

Malagueta * 25-35 36th Ave., Astoria, NY

Master Grill

Master Grill is to rodizio as East Buffet is to Chinese. Over-the-top,
all-you-can-eat decadence with live entertainment, lights, neon, large
families. When it's a choice between quality or novelty, the latter tends to
win out with me.

I wanted meat, and I got it: beef, quail, bacon-wrapped turkey,
sausages, duck, lamb. Crab legs and salmon from the buffet rounded out my
low-carb frenzy.

It's not the sort of place you'd want to make a habit out of, and
located on that crazy industrial strip of Queens with a view of The Bronx,
it's unlikely you would unless you lived in the area.

MasterGrill * 3409 College
Point Blvd., Flushing,NY

Plataforma Churrascaria

Yes, it's true. Nothing says I Love You like meat, meat and more meat. I did find Churracaria Plataforma to be a mildly odd Valentine's dining choice. But I wasn't disappointed, I had wanted to try the place and I've never gone in for any of that oysters, champagne and chocolate-dipped strawberries, intimate dining nonsense. This un-subtle choice actually kind of made me feel relieved. Stuffing yourself silly on the most romantic of holidays is a brilliant idea, if you ask me.

I'd been to Riodizio, which didn't even have a salad bar so I was pretty excited about Plataforma (even though I know you're not supposed to fill up on the side dishes). This is sort of the king of NYC rodizios, at least in price and popularity. The salad bar is enormous with selections like sushi (strange for a Brazilian place, though I hear there's a large Japanese population in the country), hearts of palm, a handful of different seafood concoctions, green salad, shrimp, vegetables and loads loads more.

Then once you're done with that course, the games begin. You flip your coaster from red to the green side and the meat starts filling your plate–like five different beef preparations, chicken, sausages, salmon, pork loin, ribs, etc. On top of this, they bring side dishes to the table to accompany the meat: rice, fried plantains, polenta, asparagus, mashed potatoes and this confusing one I never figured out–it looked and tasted like a large plate of bread crumbs with bacon mixed in. What the heck do you do with that?! (I've since learned that it's farofa, toasted manioc flour that should be sprinkled over anything soupy).

Of course I couldn't resist a piece of coconut caramel cake and a glass of dessert wine (stiff caipirinhas were already sipped with dinner) to round things out.

I was interested in seeing what sort of crowd Plataforma would draw on Valentine's Day. It was a melting pot really. We had some pouty Eastern European girl on our left who shared three heaping plates of salad with her date and then not surpringly ate little else when it was time for the meat. Sheesh, what's the point.

Originally on my right, was this freaky, frumpy couple. The guy never took his stocking cap off, the girl was all stringy-haired, they barely exchanged a word. I could see them getting excited about the upcoming Lord of the Rings movie and sitting around engrossed with their Playstation or hanging out in Xena chatrooms.

They were replaced with a livelier couple, though I can barely remember the woman since I was too busy checking out the guy's sparkling diamond earring and glistening jheri curl (to be honest, it wasn't a full blown jheri curl, but that's how I like to remember it).

The couple I was most fixated on were the little hipsters sitting behind James. Didn't they have someplace cooler to go? I mean, Plataforma verges on carnival-like (and the contorting piano player was charmingly grotesque), but it's not really campy enough to go just for shits and giggles. The girl looked like she was in grade school and had the ten-year-old-boy Williamsburg body to finish the look. The guy was a bit older and was wearing a muscle tee (so hard for guys to pull of that '80s retro look) with a green Space Invaders-like character on front, had a giant funky, rectangular, flat-screened watch, compact futuristic Sony camcorder, horn rim glasses and lots of shopping bags. He was all Mr. Gadget/internet millionaire chic. So gross. What really irked me was the way the girl let her chocolate mousse just sit in front of her for like 15 minutes without touching it. I was this close to going over and eating it for her.

A night to remember? In a way. The food did me right, but I ended up having a bit of trouble with my tights falling down in Time's Square on the way home. But that's a whole other sad story.

Churrascaria Plataforma * 316 W. 49th, New York, NY