The student voice of Berkeley Preparatory School

The Fanfare

The student voice of Berkeley Preparatory School

The Fanfare

The student voice of Berkeley Preparatory School

The Fanfare

Review: A Bite From Brazil

Toston Gaucho de Pulpo (Lily Van Wyk)

Searching for a new favorite restaurant? Look no further. Just off Hillsborough Avenue, there is a little Brazilian restaurant that flourishes in a spot no other business has. Over the years, its businesses have ranged anywhere from American cafés to Greek cuisine, but none of them have had a grip on me the way El Churrascaso has. 

Upon walking in, the atmosphere is lively; quiet chatter from nearby tables fills the air. The clientele is diverse, and you can hear a multitude of languages being spoken in every corner. The clean, lacquered wooden tabletops shine under the warm lighting. The restaurant has a homey, welcoming feel to it. Delicious smells waft through the air, making me hungrier than I already am. A friendly waitress guides us to a booth by the window, smiling brightly as she asks us what we’d like to drink. 

She soon returns with three glasses of water, a sangria, and a virgin piña colada. As my mother asks a seemingly endless list of questions about their menu, the waitress kindly and patiently answers them each. 

Their menu, written in Portuguese and English, offers a variety of Brazilian dishes such as pan de queso, yuca fries, and tostones. However, the main focus of this restaurant is meat. They serve virtually every type of steak: you name it, they have it. Top sirloin, filet mignon, churrasco, bacon-wrapped, the list goes on and on. In addition to their wide array of beef products, they also have pork tenderloin, chorizo, bacon-wrapped chicken, chicken thighs, and lamp chops. Their seafood options consist of grilled shrimp and octopus. 

When our meal comes out, we stare at it with stars in our eyes as we finally get the chance to taste the source of the fragrance permeating the air throughout the restaurant. Even before biting into any of the steaks, I can tell how tender they are by how nicely they cut. The steaks are juicy, glistening in the light, and with a beautiful pink color in the center, gently seared on the outside but not overdone in the slightest. The chicken thigh is seasoned to perfection, not too salty, not too strong, but enough to add depth to the flavor. The pork tenderloin is cooked excellently as well, not dry and hard to chew as it is so often. The Greek kale salad tasted clean and very fresh, the leaves having a nice crunch to them in every bite. Although I’m not a fan of feta cheese, I’ll say I was a fan of it in this salad. 

Being a Brazilian steakhouse, El Churrascaso and Texas de Brazil have much of their menu in common. However, Texas de Brazil is a higher-end, classy type of restaurant where you’ll likely have to book a reservation beforehand. While some may prefer a fancier dining experience, El Churrascaso trumps Texas de Brazil not only in flavor but also in experience. El Churrascaso has a wider array of Brazilian dishes to choose from, whereas Texas de Brazil has a more Americanized menu. The quality and flavor of the meat are very close to equal, with Texas de Brazil being slightly on the saltier side. Texas de Brazil is also more than double the price per person for a meal compared to El Churrascaso. If you are seeking a clean, light meal at a reasonable price, I would recommend you go to El Churrascaso.

Overall, El Churrascaso is one of Tampa’s hidden gems. For affordable prices, you can get a taste of high-quality meats and authentic Brazilian cuisine. 

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