Texas de Brazil Offers Continuous Dining Experience
December 29th, 2014 | Press
NASHVILLE, TN — Open nearly a month, Texas de Brazil is a protein powerhouse offering flame kissed meats directly from the fire for immediate satisfaction. On the northeast side of Centennial Park, the new to Nashville restaurant is next to Kobe Steaks. But instead of a cook at your table, waiters — roving gauchos — bring skewers of meat to your table directly from a high open flame. That’s churrascaria style cooking and service, including a disk at each plate. Place the disk green side up and meat is brought to you until you flip the disk and display the red side to stop deliveries. Guests are provided tongs to take a slice of meat as it’s carved.
“We were already familiar with churrascaria,” said Micah Matheny of Hermitage. He grew up in Brazil where his parents were missionaries and, while he was looking for chicken hearts as well as beef, chicken, lamb and pork, Matheny gave Texas de Brazil two thumbs up.
Matheny had been to Texas de Brazil in Memphis, which opened 13 years ago. “A lot of people have come into our Memphis location and asked when we’d open in Nashville,” said Aaron Wilkins, corporate training manager for Texas de Brazil. “How could you miss the capitol of the state? Eventually, it would come.”
Texas de Brazil has 46 locations in major American cities, with a Huntsville restaurant opening in January, and half a dozen overseas locations. Clearly the business has found a way to satisfy discerning Americans and an international clientele.
Ikbal Salman is Lebanese by heritage, a grocery manager by trade, and a former proprietor in Brentwood at her Greek Island Deli, closed for family reasons. She favors lamb at Texas de Brazil. “It is our meat, actually,” Salman said, “but our lamb is different. This is outstanding.” She’d never experienced churrascaria servings with meat carved from a skewer. “It’s a very good idea,” Salman said.
Rodriquez Jones, another guest, agreed. “By the time you finish with one bite, they’re right there at your table offering another slice.” He and his wife, Katrese, “had a great experience.” Katrese Jones enjoyed the variety of meat and went to the salad bar several times, he said, adding, they got value for their money.
Tribune Social Media Director Jason Luntz (right) holds a slice of steak being cut by Thiago Alves who holds the meat on a skewer resting in the middle of what’s called a racket or paddle to provide churrascaria-style table service.
There’s one price, $44.99, for dinner with an unlimited salad bar and meat service. The salad bar is $24.99. It has 50-60 offerings, including vegetables.
Hot vegetables and potatoes are brought to tables with beverages “This eatery is a carnivore’s delight, a South Beach dieter’s nirvana,” The Tampa Tribune reported on Texas de Brazil in one of seven Florida cities. “But they also have buffalo mozzarella, stuffed artichoke hearts, Brazilian hearts of palm, shrimp ceviche, roasted red and green peppers and baby beets, prosciutto and a nice assortment of breads and crackers. There’s also deliciously creamy lobster bisque that could compete with any high-end restaurant. As an added treat, there is handshaved fresh Parmesan for your salad.”
The Dallas-based chain was founded in 1998 by “a Texas family with Brazilian roots,” said Wilkins, a corporate training manager who’s worked his way up from clearing tables. He’s worked at virtually all the chain’s restaurants and represents the owners well, with enthusiastic explanations on everything from cheese bread made with Yucca flour, to how the serving concept “is super easy for servers.”
Texas de Brazil has no menu to fumble through.
Barkeeper Richard Childress shakes a fine dry Martini with Slovakian vodka and pleases guests with the house favorite, a Caipirinha made with lime, sugar, ice and Cachaça, a distilled spirit made from sugarcane juice. Cachaça is also called Brazilian rum. The drink is like a Mojito without mint.
Restaurant Manager Jennifer worked 11 years at the Memphis location and was eager to run her own store, especially one closer to Knoxville where she grew up and went to college. Murray wants her gauchos to have fun roaming the large dining room looking for green disks, indicating guests want more meat. She looks forward to spring when a sidewalk dining area may be more comfortable. The view of the park will be enhanced when festivals and craft fairs are held in the park. As for Kobe Steak next door, she says, the restaurants have “two completely different concepts.”
Wilkins’ point about Texas de Brazil being a destination restaurant is emphasized by a review in the San Antonio Express News. “As opposed to dinner and a movie, or even dinner and a show, in an evening that includes Texas de Brazil, it’s just dinner… the show is included in the dining experience.”