Monday, June 23, 2014

Rafain Brazilian Steakhouse, Fort Worth. All Good.

Marian after dinner and all smiles after a very enjoyable evening

Every once in a while I receive an invitation to sample the fare of a new, soon-to-open restaurant. Such was the case Friday night when Marian and I attended a media-event for the new Rafain Brazilian Steakhouse at West 7th (opening Tuesday, June 24).

A Brazilian Steakhouse as you well know is a little different than the American version. The primary observable difference being that servers carry skewers of assorted cooked meats from table to table. And the Brazilian Steakhouse always features a salad bar, unlimited servings, and fixed pricing. It works well and is particularly enjoyable with a group although Marian and I enjoy it just as much as a couple.

But about this steakhouse. . .

The "salad bar" at Refain Brazilian Steakhouse is better described as a salad/antipasto bar. It's really not fair to call it just a salad bar. There is the assortment of traditional salad fare: romaine, iceburg and other lettuce varieties, but also fresh vegetables like whole steamed asparagus, steamed broccoli,  a selection of breads and olives, and traditional antipasto items like albacore tuna salad, raw salmon, and blocks of assorted cheeses. And more, fifty items in all. I loved the cucumbers, tomatoes, and herbs in a light vinaigrette and the red onions in balsamic vinegar.

Now, it's easy to have a salad bar with a selection of 50 items. It's not easy to have a salad bar where the food is displayed handsomely and where each individual item is prepared properly, kept at the appropriate temperature, and can stand on its own if chosen by itself. That's difficult because it takes time and oversight and someone caring. Refain does it very well.

But of course this is a steakhouse and, as I mentioned, in Brazilian churrascaria style, diners are served by gauchos with skewers of assorted cooked meats. Normally, I would keep close to the skewers of beef, but I wanted to try a little of everything so I did: Parmesan crusted pork, bacon-wrapped chicken breast, lamb, filet-mignon, spicy Brazilian sausage (was that ever good) and just when I was gasping for air, slices of roasted pineapple lightly dusted on the sides with cinnamon. By the way, most important to me: the meats are served right-off-the-grill hot. Brazilian-style is charcoal grilled which gives a smoky flavor and a little crust.

Lest I forget, add to each table a serving of polenta, piping hot bread rolls with a center of melted Parmesan, and mashed potatoes. All good.

But dining is more than good food and drink, it is good company, good conversation, and a comfortable, relaxed setting. In our view, besides the great food, Refain's provides the right setting and a helpful staff for a completely enjoyable evening.

This is the second restaurant in the U.S. for the Refain family (the other is in Dallas) who also own and operate a handful of restaurants in Brazil as well as a convention hotel in Brazil.

Refain Brazilian Steakhouse
2932 Crockett Street, Fort Worth, TX 76107
Opens Tuesday, June 24 for dinner. Opening for lunch at a later date.
Price: $31-$50 (price-fixed). Unlimited servings.

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Marian with the first serving of lamb (I think)

My first serving from the salad bar, the fried polenta is the dish behind the salad plate

The salad bar

 Marian with Restaurant Manager, Donilo Magalhaes (sorry for the out focus shot)

Marian with some hitchhiker she picked up on I-30. 


John said...

I dine vicariously through you. But NEVER fall into the salad bar trap at one of those Brazilian places. It distracts you from the meat. The pineapple sounds like a nice touch.

Now if I could only find a way to get my non-meat eating wife into a place like that.

Francis Shivone said...

The pineapple was a nice touch after the meats. But the salad bar is a fair meal in itself for non meat eaters.