We had a team dinner back in January at Pampas, a Brazilian steakhouse. I’d heard of Pampas before and of Brazilian steakhouses in general so I had some idea of what to expect. But, as is the case most of the time, reality was way better than theory.
|Cheese bread, fried bananas, fried polenta|
If you’ve never been to a Brazilian steakhouse before, my advice to get your money’s worth is: go hungry, pace yourself, and go easy on the sides. If you’re on a high protein diet, this is very diet-friendly for you. If you can manage to pass up the Brazilian cheese bread that is, served warm with a crunchy crust and is soft, cheesy goodness on the inside.
|Best cheese bread ever|
At Pampas, we were a large enough group that the restaurant gave us part of a separate room on the lower floor, away from the madding crowd. It was perfect. While we waited for everyone to arrive, we went to the “salad bar”. If you’re a vegetarian, you can still get a decent meal here. The side bar is filled with all manners of veggies and other non-protein choices, including a variety of cheeses. I was there for the steak so I limited my carb choices to a few chunks of cheese, half an ear of corn and a little mashed potatoes.
Once most of our tables were filled, the servers began arriving. The hallmark of a Brazilian steakhouse is the servers come to the tables, with long metal skewers of various proteins: different cuts of steak (sirloin, roast, filet mignon), poultry (turkey breast wrapped in bacon, chicken hearts, chicken drumsticks) and lamb. They snip off a serving to anyone who
salivates asks for it. And they just keep coming until you turn the
sign on the table to red, indicating “stop! I’m stuffed to the gills”.
Although they tell you what each thing is as they serve it, there were so many items that I have to confess I lost track of what I was eating. All I can say is it was amazing. All of it. Seriously flavorful, tender cuts of beef. I passed on the lamb because I was getting full but my favorite protein turned out to be the turkey breast wrapped in bacon. Bear in mind, I don’t normally like turkey and I’m usually indifferent to bacon. But this thing was extremely delicious.
Ironically though, despite it being a (to me) very good Brazilian steakhouse, the two things I loved and would go back there for those alone aren’t meats at all but the cheese bread and the roasted pineapple. I’ve never had Brazilian cheese bread before but it was so good, crusty on the outside, melting-warm on the inside, just cheesy goodness all around. I need to learn how to make it (more to follow on that).
|Bacon-wrapped Turkey Breast (top), sausage (bottom)|
And the pineapple! I usually prefer my pineapple to be cold because that’s what I’m used to. But served warm off the skewer with perfectly sweet goodness? I’m now a fan. The roasted pineapple comes at the end so next time I would do a better job of pacing myself so I leave room for it.
|Roasted Pineapple - so good|
All in all, thumbs up on Pampas. It’s rather pricey at $55 a head if you get the full meats and side bar option ($29 if you just want the side bar) but the service was good and the food was amazing.
|Peanut Butter Cup|
|One last look at the cheese bread|