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Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013

Brazil is Back

Rodizio Grill fills the gap in South American dining

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It was quite a surprise last summer when Sabor, Milwaukee’s only Brazilian restaurant, suddenly closed its doors. In early December, Rodizio Grill filled the vacant venue. Rodizio is an upcoming, Brazilian-themed chain with 12 restaurants in 10 states. The décor at the Milwaukee branch is largely the same as Sabor but with warmer wall colors, providing a year-round tropical effect. The full dining experience includes a large salad bar with abundant variety. It can be ordered as a separate option ($12.99 lunch, $18.99 dinner) for those shunning the copious amounts of meat. There is everything from blanched asparagus to fresh mozzarella and meat salads. There also are a few hot dishes such as Brazilian black beans, collard greens, whipped potatoes, stroganoff and a pasta or two. While the lunch costs a bit more than Sabor, it is still a good value.

Most will opt for the full Rodizio experience ($18.99 lunch, $31.99 dinner). Although lunch costs a bit more than at Sabor, the dinner is cheaper. Both lunch and dinner start with a few sides. There are cinnamon-glazed bananas, fried polenta and pao di queijo, an addictive cheese bread made with yucca flour. After nibbling on these, take a trip to the salad bar and wait for the meat to arrive. Servers dressed as gauchos bear skewers of grilled meat to your table. There is lombo (marinated pork loin), linguica (Brazilian sausage), sobre coxa (marinated chicken) and several cuts of beef among the many choices. A nice feature is that the beef is cooked in ranges from medium-rare to medium-well, which is not typical for South American restaurants that tend to overcook everything. Definitely be on the watch for abacaxi, the restaurant’s crowd-pleasing grilled pineapple. Between the cinnamon bananas and the pineapple there really is no need to order dessert, although six are offered at an additional charge. This is a family-friendly place with reduced prices for children.

While Sabor is missed, the Rodizio Grill does a good job filling the Brazilian restaurant gap. Sabor’s extensive wine list is gone but the food variety is now larger and the new dinner prices are more affordable. The service is also every bit as good and the staff pays attention to the smallest details. Give this Brazilian churrascaria a chance. The food is very accessible to northern palates.

 

Rodizio Grill, The Brazilian Steakhouse

777 North Water Street

414-431-3106

$$-$$$

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