Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Espeto Brazilian Steakhouse

The cat is still missing, so I'm going to keep myself busy and keep myself from driving around the neighborhood at 2am with a flashlight by blogging.

Mike & I went to Espeto Brazilian Steakhouse in Jacksonville on St. Johns Avenue back in April as a newlywed thing... we had kind of a "minimoon" of sorts because I was on break from school and he took a little vacation from work. We didn't travel or anything, but did some local stuff.

Espeto is actually right on the St John's river (this I did not know until we were seated in prime seats). It seems a bit crowded in the main dining room, but that is mainly in comparison to the other Brazilian steakhouses I've been to. Also, they are located on the second floor, so skinny heeled shoes are a no-no if you intend on not busting your tail on your way up or down the stairs. We went on a Friday night and made sure to have a reservation, and we were seated right away... no wait at all. So, make sure to have a reservation, you're more likely to get a good table and seated faster than if you just come in as a walk in.

I've done the Brazilian Steakhouse, or churrascaria, thing before with Texas de Brazil in Memphis, TN and some other place (don't remember the name!!!) in Dallas, so we knew what to expect from the experience. Anyway, for those that are interested, Brazilian style steakhouses are an "all you can eat" type of place but classier. The basic concept is that all side dishes are served through the buffet (soups, salads, pastas, veggies, potatoes, etc) and meat is served by gauchos on huge skewers, with coasters having one side with green (yes bring more meat!) or red (no I need a break!). You have a little pair of tongs on your plate to grab the meat as it is being sliced off the skewer (good idea). Only worry is that if you are worried about drips of anything, be sure you have an experienced gaucho... I got a few splatters from the grabbing process.

Here's a gaucho:

Here's what my plate looked like after a round at the buffet to pick up veggies and sides. Some things are hot (mashed potatoes) and cold (pasta salads, veggies). I'm not a fan of raw tomatoes... most of the time they just aren't ripe enough and taste gross. But this tomato with olive oil and smoked mozzarella cheese was GOOD!

Here's Mike's plate... Sorry for the blurry image... I think it was a little too much tequila! LOL. He wasn't a fan of the couscous... he said it tasted gross.

And this is a plate all filled up with meat... yuuuummmmm, well for the most part.

I'm sure they were still working out kinks in the rotisserie process (I'm trying to give the benefit of the doubt) but some things were over cooked. The ribs (I believe pork), were outright disgusting. Their sausage had a funny flavor... like too much fennel or something. Their chicken was a little dry... However, their sirloin, filet mignon, Parmesan pork tenderloin, beef tenderloin and the lamb were amazing. I don't remember the exact one, but there was a garlic and a pepper version of one of the beef meats, and the garlic was just missing something... maybe a little more salt or something. However, it was still pretty good.
Mike prefers his meet a little more medium to medium well, whereas I prefer mine to be more rare to medium rare, so we just made sure the gauchos cut his pieces first so I would get the more rare piece. The sirloin guy should have just parked his tail at our table because he was a little cheap on the portions, but I just said "keep going" until I got as much as I wanted. The waitress suggested I try a caipirinha instead of a margarita, as it was a Brazilian drink... well after my first two or three sips, I knew it wasn't going down, no matter how hard I tried. I'm just not a rum or Cacha├ža girl. Just not my thing. And it was WAY too sweet for me! I like my drinks tangy but tart. No sweet kickers for me. So when she came back, she offered to swap it out for me for a margarita for no charge. For a $9 drink, I was happy she offered that. Cause I was not paying another nine bucks! I would have waited until I got home! Their customer service was great.

For under $100, we had a great experience, great customer service, great food, and an awesome view... which I would so post, but I forgot I had the camera until after the sun went down.

Espeto Brazilian Steak House on Urbanspoon

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