From my last post of a vegetarian cafe to a meat-filled debauchery. If you’ve never had churrascaria, or, Brazilian barbecue, then you’re missing out. It is one of those things which even if you’re not a big meat eater will find to be a fun experience. It is also great for a big party because it is a set price ($25/lunch and $43/dinner, children 6-10 is half price).
I’ve been to Agora several times before this visit. This time, we were invited as part of a blogger media event where some of my fellow bloggers and I sat down to enjoy some meats, drinks and each other’s company.
We started with a few caipirinhas, probably the most notable Brazilian cocktail made from cachaça, sugar and lime juice, and sat down to begin the night of serious eating.
At Agora, a lavish buffet is laid out for you to help yourself to. You start the meal by selecting items from the salad bar — which by the way, is complete with shrimp cocktail, smoked salmon, a myriad of raw salads as well as created ones such as potato salad and sauteed mushrooms.
There is a hot food area as well including steamed clams, mussels, and the feijoada, a black bean stew, considered by most to be the national dish of Brazil. Although I’m a big fan of feijoada, the one here is usually a little under-seasoned and watery for me. I do love the clams though and can’t get enough of it.
So, before you even start the barbecue chow-down, you might already have filled up on the buffet. This is why I usually wait to visit the buffet and opt to start with the barbecue.
The passadores, or ‘meat waiters’, dressed like gauchos (cowboys), will start circling your table with skewers of meat which they will carve at the table. With the help of your own personal tongs, you aid the gaucho by gripping onto the carved piece of meat while he slices it off. I usually ask for one piece so I can taste everything before embarking on round two.
There are at least 16 types of meats on offer. Specialty items such as chicken hearts are by request only. Generally, various cuts of beef, chicken and lamb is offered and you can work your way through the different items.
While you wait, you can munch on the delicious pão de queijo — gluten free Brazilian cheesy bread rolls — but make sure they are still warm when you bite into one because the level of enjoyment is greatly enhanced that way.
Picauha was definitely the favorite of the evening, a traditional Brazilian cut of sirloin seasoned with rock salt is flavorful and tender.
Linguiça are seasoned pork sausages which are slow-roasted and you can really taste all the seasonings used in them. If you are a sausage lover, these are a must. They’re not too big so you can easily devour one or two and still have room for the other items.
Mamiuha is a whole tri tip steak roasted and brought whole to the table. Depending on your preference of temperature, the gaucho will carve it accordingly and you will get a slice of medium beef, or, a lovely pink medium-rare piece for your plate and belly.
I also enjoyed the bacon-wrapped chicken and bacon-wrapped filet, nicely seasoned with the smokiness of the bacon encompassing the meat. The chicken leg is also beautifully flavored and very moist indeed.
The beef skewers were also tasty with onions and bell peppers interspersed between each morsel of meat lending an added aroma to the beef.
There is also salmon, baked and served table-side. A whole salmon fillet is seasoned and baked and brought to the table in its entirety. I’m not a fan of cooked salmon, but if you like salmon, it is definitely a good alternative.
If you have room for dessert after you can try one of the sorbets they have on offer including cabernet, vanilla bean, or blood orange, my personal favorite.
Or alternatively, the flan is a traditional dessert you might enjoy. It is a little much after all that meat though so maybe you should share it with your dining mates.
I have a $50 giftcard to Agora for one of my readers this week. Tell me your experiences at a churrascaria or there lack of one. Remember to leave your FULL name in your comment somewhere. Entries close on Sunday, June 24th. Good Luck!
1830 Main Street
Irvine, CA 92614