Churrasco Brazilian Steakhouse opened its doors to Reno on Feb. 19, 2020. The restaurant offers all-you-can-eat (AYCE) Brazilian barbecue that features 15 cuts of meat including beef, chicken, lamb and pork. Many of the cuts are lesser known and quite attractive. Their fresh market table offers distinct condiments, Brazilian staple foods, freshly cut produce, salads and other sides.
Details about the concept and operation
I give high marks to the restaurant for very clearly laying out how the process works on their website. The servers do an excellent job of explaining the process, too.
“In Brazilian tradition, a rodízio is an all-you-can-eat style of restaurant where customers pay a fixed price, and waiters bring food to the table several times throughout the meal, with sides offered buffet-style …” reads their website.
They offer quite a few different pricing options. The AYCE rodízio dinner, including grilled meat and fresh market table, is available at $47.95. The fresh market table (salad bar) is available for stand-alone purchase at $31. Check their website for lunch and children discounts.
Diners use green and red “chips” to indicate that they are ready for more cuts of meat. Green signals the desire for more, and red signals hold off.
The “gauchos” are your meat carvers. Their outfits resemble South American cowboys. At any one time, there are about two to four different cuts of meat being served by various gauchos. They will identify the cut and ask you about your desired doneness and quantity. You assist the gaucho at plating your carved meat with the help of small, pronged tongs. Your assistance helps to prevent splashes or drops.
The gauchos do an excellent job at cutting the larger pieces thinly, so you can try a wide variety. Some of the smaller cuts, linguiça or Frango com Bacon (bacon-wrapped chicken breast nuggets) for example, are served whole.
If you’d like to try a cut that isn’t currently being served by the gauchos, you can notify your server of the cut you’d like to try and they will send the request to the kitchen.
My wife and I specially requested two cuts, and each took about 15-20 minutes to arrive. Our server checked on our special requests multiple times. I think they hope to improve on this turnaround time, but I found it to be just fine. Because so many cuts are available and because the fresh market table is so attractive, there was always something delicious to eat.
A few words about the owners, staff
My wife and I had the pleasure of speaking with Diego Zaroski, co-owner. He shared with us that it was a struggle to secure Churrasco’s restaurant space, and to renovate it. Establishing Churrasco’s elegant champagne and white aesthetic took time and many DIY hours.
Acquiring skilled meat carvers was another challenge. Zaroski and his business partner brought in carvers from Chicago, Las Vegas and Bellevue. He went on to say that outside his carvers, only two of Churrasco’s employees had tried Brazilian barbecue previously.
We spoke with our server, Dave Taylor, and one of the gauchos at length about how they came to work here and how they’re enjoying Reno. The gaucho spent time in Dubai before traveling to Boston and before ending up here. He said he’s already fallen in love with Reno due to our expansive outdoor scene. Dave explained that Reno is growing on him, but he’s still in a period of acclimation.
A robust fresh market table at Churrasco
I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect with the fresh market table, and I was pleasantly surprised at the variety of flavors, textures and dishes. I had the opportunity to try the black beans, Farofa, Brazilian peppers, heart of palm, ceviche, marinated onions, chimichurri and quinoa salad.
Everything tasted freshly prepared, and I was surprised at how punchy the flavor was with some offerings. In particular, the Brazilian peppers had a serious amount of enjoyable heat. The chimichurri seemed to be made with red wine vinegar, dry herbs and a touch of oil. Just about all of the meat was delicious when dipped in the acidic condiment. I came back for seconds of the quinoa salad, which had a nice variety of texture and acidity.
We came to learn that the table neighboring ours included a woman who lived in Brazil. She advised that the grilled meats were on point. She also gave us the tip to layer the white rice with black beans and Farofa. Farofa, a typical Brazilian dish, includes pork, onion, garlic, green olives, parsley, raisin, egg, butter and yucca flower. My wife and I agreed that this trio of foods were all stronger together than apart.
Diners will appreciate that the fresh market table offerings include placards that list ingredients when they are not obvious. The placards also list applicable food concerns for those with allergies or who have other diet restrictions.
Vegetarians and vegans can enjoy much of the fresh market table, but definitely not all of it. Because Churrasco is a steakhouse, I think the variety of food they offer is right in line with what I would expect.
Rotisserie roasted meats from a wood-fired grill
Every meal at Churrasco begins with the option of freshly prepared, hot starters. Ours included mashed potatoes, pão de queijo (Brazilian cheese bread) and a sweet, fried plantain. We enjoyed all three. Our table-neighbor from Brazil advised that the pão de queijo is well-prepared at Churrasco.
Some diners will take issue with Churrasco claiming to be a barbecue spot. Many take barbecue to mean smoked meat that is slowly cooked over the span of hours. At Churrasco, the meat is cooked with a rotisserie over a wood-fire grill. I would guess that all the meat at Churrasco is cooked in minutes and not hours. I can’t speak to how the rest of the world defines their barbecue parameters.
The marinating ingredients for most of the cuts seem to be simple. They use ingredients such as rock salt, garlic and parmesan cheese. In many cases, the smoke and char from the grill in conjunction with the marbling present in the prime cuts of meat is all that is needed to produce outstanding offerings.
We tried a wide selection of meats including Costela de Porco (pork ribs), Costela de Cordeiro (lamb chops), Frango com Bacon (bacon-wrapped chicken breast), Filet com Bacon (bacon-wrapped filet mignon), Frango (chicken thigh), Linguiça (pork sausage), Lombo de Porco (parmesan encrusted pork loin), Picanha com Alho (cubed garlic steak), Alcatra (top sirloin) and Picanha (signature prime cut of top sirloin).
In all honesty, everything we tried was well-prepared and delicious. Generally, I think that ordering chicken in a steakhouse is a waste, but the Frango com Bacon was a treat. Because the nuggets are so small, the dish has an almost yakitori-like quality. The chicken was especially juicy, and the bacon crisp and salty.
At the advice of our table-neighbor, we put in a special request for the Picanha. The fat cap on the signature cut of this top sirloin was absolutely wonderful. The fat absorbed smoke from the wood, and the beef itself had a remarkable depth of flavor.
Zaroski, Dave, the General Manager Edson Pereira and every staff member was very friendly and helpful. The staff advised that opening night had some kinks, and night two had some as well. We dined on night two, and by my account, Churrasco is already running more smoothly than well-established restaurants in our community. It’s my hope that Churrasco will become an anchor for our budding Midtown and downtown areas. I can’t wait to return.
Churrasco Brazilian Steakhouse’s Details
Public parking/restaurant parking is on Sierra Street at the 50 West Liberty building. Garage parking is validated by Churrasco. You can park at Living Stones Church, but only when they are not conducting service. We parked at Nevada State Bank (after hours) half a block away. Churrasco’s operating hours are Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Fridays from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Note that the rodízio meals do not include alcohol, featured items, desserts, beverages, tax or gratuity. Parties of 6 or more get 18 percent gratuity applied to the bill. Churrasco is located at 425 S. Virginia St. Reno, NV 89501. Call in your reservation to 775-322-4000 or make one via their website at churrascobr.com.