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If Heaven Was Carried On Swords

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

All-you-can-eat chicken wings, pork loin, sausage, tri-tip, pork ribs, top sirloin, ham and pineapple. It’s a heart attack waiting to happen. Dr. Atkins could only dream of such a place- but it’s a reality. It’s called churrasco and for $18.25 you get all the meat you can eat, and as many trips to the salad bar as you want -which probably won’t be too many after you stuff yourself with Cafe Do Brasil’s amazing carnivorous treats.

Churrasco, of course, is nothing like the hot-dog-and-hamburgers, back-yard barbeque you’re probably used to. It involves a man in traditional Brazilian garb carrying around one of your dinner’s infinite meat courses on a sword. All of your basic meats are covered — beef, chicken and pork– and they are exquisitely seasoned and prepared. The meat is so tender and juicy; don’t be surprised if you ignore the salad bar in favor of more meat. Even the salad bar has chicken dishes aside the rice and beans and is a great option when the service starts to slack off. Sometimes it seems like the man carrying the meat is taking a coffee break between every trip.

Of course, slow service is only a minor inconvenience with food this good, just make sure you come with plenty of time to waste. With a window seat, the guilty faces of people leaving the Market Street Cinema can prove for an entertaining break from the restaurant’s clean and cheerful atmosphere. To make the wait even more tolerable, order a few caipirinhas. These sweet-yet-hard concoctions are made from lime, sugar and cachaca -a sugar-based liquor similar to rum. The light, no-nonsense cocktails are a perfect option for those who want an alcoholic drink without becoming too full.

For designated drivers looking for exotic drinks, there are always Brazilian sodas, both guarana and passion fruit flavored, called sumol. If you focus long enough on the wavy green stripes along the yellow walls, you might even feel a buzz if you’re just drinking water.

And for those who don’t feel like being gorged with all-you-can-eat-meat, Café Do Brasil offers a number of other entrees including vegetarian and seafood options. Bobo de camardo, which is puree of yucca topped with prawns, has a unique, savory flavor and tofu moqueca, which features tofu in a coconut sauce, offers patrons a vegetarian option with a Brazilian flare.

For smaller portions that still fill you up, try Brazil’s national dish, feijoda completa -made from black beans, pork and sausage- with a pork chop, salsa, rice, collard greens, yucca flour and a slice of orange. The xim xim -a chicken dish with pureed dried shrimp, peanuts and cashews- is also a good choice; it’s extremely tender and flavorful.

As for dessert, the light and fluffy passion fruit mousse is good, but with a slice of pineapple left over from the churrasco, it is absolutely perfect.

So next time you have some cash to spare on an infinite-course smorgasbord, drop by Café Do Brasil and try their barbeque. It’s definitely worth the wait and the cost.

Café Do Brasil is located at 1106 Market Street. Dinner is served nightly from 5:30 till 9:30, and the barbeque is available Thursday through Sunday. For reservations or inquiries, call 415-626-6432.