Sunday, June 30, 2013

Brazilian Steak House - Espetus!

So we embarked on another food adventure today, which led us to Espetus Churrascaria in San Mateo.  We were originally going to go to their restaurant in San Francisco, but we realized that today was the Gay Pride parade in SF.  Their restaurant in SF is on Market St, the same street as the parade was headed down!  So safe to say, parking would've been absolutely impossible!  Good thing they did have this second location, as it was much more convenient for us to go to.

Now you might ask, what is a Brazilian Steak House?  Well what it is is a buffet of meat really.  They have side dishes of salads and other traditional Brazilian goodies, along with appetizers.  But the main part of the buffet is meat!  Lots of meat!  This place had 14 different types of cuts you could choose from.  Everything from chicken, to pork, to lamb, to filet mignon!  Just a warning, with all this meat at your disposal, it doesn't come cheap.  Makes sense though right?  Our Sunday lunch was $37.99 a person.  Honestly not bad for all the meat you could want.  I was so excited and there were so many different types of meat, that I forgot to take pics of all of them haha.  First we'll start with a lesson on how it works...
You get this sign at your table that tell the waiters if you want more meat or not.  Green means yes, red means no.  Yes please!
First off, the appetizers.  On the left is a bread with cheese inside.  Yummm wasn't that good.  Very light and fluffy.  I wouldn't eat more than one though, cause its all carbs and will make you full before you even start with the real stuff.  In the middle is a deep fried banana.  Also, very good.  These were pretty popular at our table and we asked for thirds I think haha.  The deep fried thing on the right is deep fried polenta.  I'm a fan of polenta, so this was very good as well.  The outside was pretty crispy and gave the soft polenta a nice contrasting taste.

Once the waiters start coming around with the meat, it is game on!  They just keep coming at you with the meat.  How they do it is they have these skewers with the meat they are presenting.
Depending on the meat, they will cut you a slice like in the picture, and you take it with tongs, or if it's individual pieces, they take their huge knife, partially cut into the piece, twist the skewer and put it on your plate for you.  It's actually pretty neat to watch.  Sorry, no video for you guys though.  You'll just have to see for yourself :P.

First meat I tried was a bacon wrapped piece of chicken.
Everyone says everything is better with bacon.  Totally true.  Honestly, chicken is probably the cheapest meat on the menu, so this is the only piece of chicken I tried.  It was fine, the bacon made it better.  I wouldn't say there was anything special about the chicken though.  It was good and that's all.
Filet mignon!  How can you go wrong with filet mignon?  Very good slice of meat and seasoned nicely.  Usually when I think of filet mignon, I always think of the first time I had it from Omaha Steaks in that circular chunk form everyone is used to.  That one was even wrapped in bacon too.  But this one was the actual cut, so no fancy circular chunk.  I believe the skewer picture above was the filet mignon cut.  Very good.  I could get this all day if they'd keep bringing it around.
They had a garlic seasoned top sirloin cut. Top sirloin is a cut I really like buying when I can.  Probably one of the better cuts in my opinion and there's not too much fat on this cut.  It was very tender and the garlic added a nice touch to the taste.  I could get this cut all day too!
Beef rib.  Usually you'd think they'd give you the whole rib, but this place cut the meat off for you and just gave you the good stuff.  Maybe that's a traditional thing?  Either way, it was nice not having the fight the bone on this one.  The meat was good.  Very tender and not tough or overdone.  I don't remember anything special about this one, but totally worth a try to get your variety in.
Chicken heart.  I think most people are scared of eating animal organs, but me, not so much.  This meat was actually pretty good.  It wasn't too tough like you'd expect since it's such a strong muscle.  It wasn't very game-y tasting either.  There was a slight game-y taste, but not over powering.  They tasted a lot like beef actually.  I had a bunch of these, so that should tell you they weren't bad.
Top sirloin.  Nice and tender, with a salt seasoning.  It was pretty good.  But by this point I was starting to get meated out, so the salt was getting to me a little bit.
Beef chunk with bacon.  MmmMMmm this one was good too.  Again, bacon makes everything better!  I don't remember which cut of beef they used for this one, but it was good none the less.  Nice, tender and juicy.  Can't go wrong with these types of meats.
Pork with parmesan.  I'd have to say out of all the meats, this one was probably my least favorite.  The parmesan was good, but it seemed like this pork was a little dry.  And it was a huge thick chunk, not what I needed as I was getting pretty full.  I think if I had just eaten a small slice from the outside with some parmesan, I would've felt better about this one.

That's all the pictures I have from the meats we ate.  I can't believe I didn't take any pictures of the lamb we had.  They had two different types of lamb.  Both were good, but of course with lamb, there is always going to be that game-y flavor.  I really like lamb, so the game-y taste is no problem for me.  But just beware it is there.  They also had these jumbo shrimp.  I didn't even get to try one of those :(.  The guy kept forgetting about me and I never got a chance.  They looked good though.  Looked like they were grilled on the BBQ with some sort of seasoning on it.

That was pretty much it for this place.  I was the last one standing and kept making the waiters bring me lots of meat haha.  So I took a pic with the sign for just fun.
Bring me more meat!  Haha.

They offered us dessert, but we were all too full and it was extra, so we passed.  But they had this funny dessert called "peanut better thing."  What kind of name is that for a dessert?  Haha.  Anyway, here's the proof.
If I wasn't so full, maybe I would've tried it.  Seems like a nice, simple dessert.  Maybe next time :P.

The ambiance of this place was very nice as well.  Definitely a fancier place to dine.  Nice solid wooden chairs, some nice art work and all around fancy looking.  My cousins and I (well the guys) all plotted to wear polo's and shorts since it's been so hot out here lately.  The ladies had their nice summer dresses on.  But it worked out, the staff didn't say anything and I saw people in t-shirts and looking more casual than we looked.  Overall a fun experience and good chance to hang out with just the cousins.  I qualify this experience as sort of a once in a lifetime thing since it's expensive at $37.99 a person just for lunch.  If you're into meat and want lots of variety, I'd recommend this place to try.  The staff was also very courteous to us and did a great job serving us.  Bom apetite!  (Yes, that's how you say it in Portuguese :P)

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