There is a Carnaval bar and lounge at one end, a long buffet at the other, and a sea of mustard-yellow chairs between; paintings from Brazil radiate color from brick walls.
There are two ways to have a meal here, usually combined. One is to cruise the buffet that has plenty enough to eat, like white or yellow rice, red potatoes, very sweet plantains, chicken with yellow strogonoff sauce, spinach, black beans, and soft rolls. Be sparse with your selections, because while you can stuff yourself at the buffet, what you want is the meat.*
There is a wooden cylinder at your place setting, painted red at one end and green on the other. Set the green side upward and you will soon have a trim young man in brilliant flowing pantaloons sweeping by your table with a giant knife and a skewer of one of several churrasqueira delicacies: garlic beef, spicy chicken thighs, top sirloin steak, Brazilian sausage, or, to add insult to this, chicken wrapped in bacon. The gaucho will ask if you want any, and how much. He will shave off glorious slices of meat until you say stop.
(There are other things to order, too, so don't neglect them: fried yucca, salads, empanadas, and a bevy of cocktails.)
The gauchos appear sporadically, somewhat like being at Dodger Stadium and hoping the chocolate malt guy will get to your aisle soon. You eat, unable to resist new cuts of meat, knowing that you are stretching your stomach lining. When you simply cannot bear to have another young man in pantaloons stop by with protein impaled on metal, you reluctantly, sadly, painfully, slip the wooden cylinder red-side-up.** You then wait for your check, which may take a while because Brazilians know you aren't moving anywhere very quickly.
That isn't all that Gaucho's Village does. In the evening, they will accompany your meal with Brazilian musicians and Samba dancers weaving and revolving like feathered goddesses. So Gaucho's pretty much wins on the indulgence front.
Oh, it hurts to not be devouring chicken breast wrapped in bacon right now.
* Vegetarians, I apologize for this entry. While the buffet does have some items free of carbonized animal flesh, a Brazilian churrascaria is not veggie-friendly. I freely admit to occasionally being a carnivorous bastard.
** Do not make comparisons to the "Run Forrest Run" signs in a Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., because I will hit you.
( Categories: Cuisines (by Region), Brazilian, Glendale/Atwater/Eagle Rock )
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