This column offers a sampling of dining experiences in the area. It is not intended as a review of the restaurant other than to provide the reader with one diner's experience. It also appears in The Herald's Friday entertainment section, "Ticket."
BRAZAS BAR & GRILL
LOCATION: 4508 E. Independence Blvd., Charlotte
HOURS: 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5:30-10 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, noon-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
CONTACT: 704-566-1009; firstname.lastname@example.org
WEB SITE: brazascharlotte.com
AMBIANCE: Vibrant Brazilian steak house
Some places you go to just to eat. Then there are places with great food, but just as great an experience.
Brazas Bar & Grill, with two Charlotte-area locations, fits in that latter category. The Brazilian steakhouse offers just about anything a diner could want in perhaps the most unique way most diners could expect to get it. The "Rodizio" experience is priced at $14.95 for lunch and $24.95 for dinner, regardless of how many servings the wait staff brings.
And boy do they bring it. In the traditional Brazilian style, waiters bring out "sword-sized skewer" after "sword-sized skewer" of sizzling meats including filet, sirloin, prime rib, chicken, sausage, skirt steak and flank steak, with many of the meats also appearing in smaller, bacon-wrapped versions.
Specialty meats also appear from time to time, including venison, quail, ostrich and rabbit. Small red and green cards, similar to coasters, are used to inform the wait staff you are interested in more meat (green) or are presently satisfied (red).
Having visited the Independence Boulevard location once before with my wife, we returned recently with a game plan. First, we planned to drink plenty of water. Then, we worked on eating slowly, taking our time and turning down a portion of meat every now and then.
Plus, we wanted to enjoy the salad bar, with enough unique side and salad extras to make a meal in itself.
It can be difficult deciding where to start -- with rice and bean entrees, fried plantains, incredible desserts including a roasted pineapple, plus an entire wing of the restaurant is devoted to all things Indian food -- but everything always returns to those tableside carved meats. The flavor is incredible, and you can have as much, or as little, as you want.
Plus, everyone finds something to enjoy, whether it's the meatatarian trying to get his money's worth by refusing everything but filet and prime rib to the salad bar and rice and bean crowd, who might occasionally enjoy a piece of chicken wrapped in bacon.
My only complaints about Brazas would actually be complaints about myself, like not drinking enough water to even out the meat, eating too quickly or just -- imagine this -- eating way too much. But with a good game plan, the restaurant makes for a great night out or even a special occasion -- my wife and I went on a holiday and birthday celebration. Just keep that red and green card on the right side.