Brazil­ian Chur­ras­caria For Saigon's Car­ni­vores

Oi Vietnam - - Front Page - Text by Wes Grover Images by Ngoc Tran

WE ALL KNOW SAIGON IS a food town, but a good piece of meat can be tough to find. And some­times, one piece of meat just isn’t go­ing to sat­isfy.

So if you have a han­ker­ing for a place serv­ing up qual­ity meats (plu­ral), the type of place where overindul­gence is seem­ingly en­cour­aged and will leave you in a self-in­duced food coma, per­haps Rio

Chur­ras­caria (10AB Thai Van Lung, D1) is the place for you.

Upon ar­rival, the sleek dé­cor sets an up­scale tone, mak­ing it an en­joy­able set­ting to wind down and take your time feast­ing. Over­look­ing the cor­ner of Thai Van Lung and Le Than Thonh, this Brazil­ian steak­house de­liv­ers dra­matic flair that starts with the pas­sadores, or trained meat wait­ers, on the con­stant prowl with gi­ant slabs of beef, ready to fill your plate. The Brazil­ian chefs here boast ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence cooking chur­ras­costyle bar­be­cue in their home coun­try, which is im­me­di­ately ev­i­dent with the first bite.

Of course, the main event on the menu is the Buf­fet + Meats (VND689,000)—an all-you-can-eat ex­trav­a­ganza. If you’re a veg­e­tar­ian, or sim­ply look­ing for a lighter meal, you can opt solely for the Buf­fet Counter (VND380,000), and chil­dren ages 7-14 can en­joy ev­ery­thing for VND350,000.

Start­ing with a round of stiff caipir­in­has (VND120,000), we took a minute to process the frenzy of meats cir­cu­lat­ing be­fore jump­ing into the fun. Proper deco­rum would have en­tailed start­ing with a fresh salad from the loaded buf­fet counter, but we didn’t have the dis­ci­pline. The first pas­sadore came around with a drip­ping beef rump steak and the feast be­gan. Lightly salted and avail­able cooked to dif­fer­ent de­grees, a bite of this se­ri­ously sa­vory cut and we knew we were in for the real deal.

Be­fore we knew it, our plates were filled with beef ribs, chicken breast wrapped in ba­con, and sweet, caramelized pineap­ple that proved the per­fect palate cleanser. If you’re look­ing to spice things up, a va­ri­ety of fix­ings, in­clud­ing home­made chili sauce, mush­room sauce and pep­per sauce, gar­nish the ta­ble, though we didn’t feel the need to add

any­thing to these fla­vor­ful of­fer­ings.

Once we cleared the first round, we made our way to the buf­fet, where they have 22 dishes that are changed daily. In ad­di­tion to a wide­spread as­sort­ment of greens, we found such dishes as farofa, stuffed eg­g­plant, black beans and a par­tic­u­larly pleas­ing pump­kin puree, forc­ing us to walk a fine line so as not to fill up and miss out on the many more meats to come.

The pas­sadores kept mak­ing the rounds and sud­denly our plates were over­loaded yet again, this time with tasty lit­tle chicken hearts, juicy beef ten­der­loin with gar­lic, and a spicy pork sausage pack­ing a punch of fla­vor.

By this point, things started get­ting blurry. We were slip­ping into the afore­men­tioned food coma, but we had to push on for the sake of our read­ers. We topped our­selves off with beef hump, beef rump top side and lamb shoul­der. It was be­com­ing bor­der­line self-de­struc­tive be­hav­ior as each piece melted in our mouths, send­ing us fur­ther and fur­ther into a state of full­ness that our doc­tors would most likely ad­vise against.

We’re not pos­i­tive, but we’re pretty sure we or­dered dessert be­fore tap­ping out. If mem­ory serves cor­rectly, we opted for a moist Brazil­ian choco­late cake (VND99,000) and pas­sion­fruit mousse (VND99,000). This fi­nal round of food, while deca­dent and de­lec­ta­ble, pushed us right over the edge.

Loos­en­ing our belts as we rolled out onto the street, we had defini­tively over­done it and we don’t re­gret it.

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