TEXAS DE BRAZIL: There is the gaucho, amigo, standing with his meat-spangled skewer…

The Red Dirt Report

LOUIS FOWLER | JANUARY 11, 2017

OKLAHOMA CITY — When I originally heard about Brazilian steakhouses and the concept of a churrascaria, it was hard not to imagine a scenario reminiscent of Charles Laughton as King Henry VIII, meat being shoveled into plate and mouth faster than could be eaten.

And, as I dined at Denver’s Fogo de Chao for the first time five or six years ago, it was truly a peaceful, well-paced affair, with servers (nicknamed “gauchos”) bringing skewers of various meats hot off the grill to the table, slicing off small portions to sample. While not the bombast of decadence I imagined, leaving there, it was still easy to feel like the overstuffed aforementioned King and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

After years of patience and longing, churrascaria dining has finally hit Oklahoma City as one of the most exciting recent additions to the Metro proper dining scene, Texas de Brazil, located at 1901 Northwest Expressway in Penn Square Mall, has finally opened its doors and, having just spent the evening dining there, as I sit here, writing this piece, one hand on the keyboard, the other clutching my heart, let it be known that if I die tonight, if this blood-pumping machine inside my body finally decides to give out on me, know this: it was absolutely worth it.

As the highly professional waitstaff greets you as you walk in through the doors, so does the highly intoxicating mélange of numerous spices and charring meats wafting through the air; seeing the gauchos walk around, as you are being seated, glistening meats ready to be slivered, it’s enough to make one’s mouth not only water, but flood.

My dining partner and I started off the meal by ordering a pitcher of their non-alcoholic mango lemonade which perfectly cleansed the palate before embarking on our Brazilian adventure. Before you can get to the cavalcade of carne, of course, it’s highly recommended to take a trip to their absolutely gorgeous salad bar—which can be purchased by itself, natch—to sample treasures that I guarantee you’ll never see on the opposite side of a Wendy’s sneeze-guard. From fresh salmon and tabouli, to lobster bisque and potatoes au gratin, enjoy sampling these culinary delights, but pace yourself.

For God’s sake, pace yourself!

Once you are ready to Fitzcarraldo the massive uphill battle that is wantonly sampling each of these meats in a well-portioned, quietly demure manner, simply flip the small badge on the table from red to green and sit back as well-trained servers bring only the finest cuts of things like succulent lamb chops and leg of lamb, fatty cuts of flavorful pork loins, tender treats such as filet mignon and braised beef ribs (so tender I actually ate the bone), as well as various inventive takes on chicken.

Perhaps the best part of the meal and the cuts that you’ll be asking for again and again, as I did, are the otherworldly Brazilian sausages—cured and spiced like a Ipaneman dream—and both varieties of Texas de Brazil’s specialty, the Brazilian Picanha and Garlic Picanha, thin cuts of beef, both of which are so seasoned, cooked and served in such a state of heavenly grace that it might replace prime rib as the most tantalizingly top-notch money meats that I crave most often.

It’s hard to say stop. But, eventually, you have to and, per our server’s suggestion, nothing settled our meals and stomach better than a cup of their Brazilian roast coffee, a sincere nightcap that topped off a stunning meal to which there was no room for dessert, even as good as their sample tray looked.

Texas de Brazil is the very best in “special event” dining, one that works both as an everyday treat and a ritual celebration. Dinner (with salad bar) is $44.99 and salad area only is $24.99; weekdays, lunch is $24.99 (salad area $19.99) and weekends, lunch is $29.99 (salad area still $19.99). It’s a meal fit for a King and totally worth the price of feeling like it. Sitting here, still feeling satisfied hours later, if I should die before I wake, I can only hope and pray that the meal in heaven will be just as good as the one I just had at Texas de Brazil.

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