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With its candlelit bar, thatched décor and the gentle sounds of bossa nova in the air, atmosphere alone is worth a trip to Brasilia. The South Grand restaurant showcases traditional Brazilian fare (and a few non-traditional items) in a quint setting that all but begs for a round of caipirinhas. Stand out dishes include coxihna, an appetizer of chicken filled fritters that taste like savory chicken doughnut holes. Pastel is another must-try. These empanada-like hand pies come in your choice of beef, chicken or cheese and are so delectable you’ll wish you had ordered two. Entrees include feijoada, the traditional Brazilian black bean stew with beef, pork and sausage and vatapa de frango, which is a chicken breast covered in rich cashew nut gravy. Brasilia offers a variety of seafood dishes, including whole fish, and stews, but really, it doesn’t matter what you nosh on -- the setting steals the show.
Brazikat Brazilian Steak & Seafood House, which occupies a spacious address in Clayton’s Carondelet Plaza development, is a churrascaria, the all-you-can-eat Brazilian steakhouse. More precisely, Brazikat calls itself (and prices itself) like a churrascaria. In fact, the Brazikat experience is no more indicative of Brazilian culture than a bikini wax. The meats, often poorly cut by the “gaucho” servers, taste overwhelmingly of mesquite smoke. As for the seafood, the less said, the better. The "35-item gourmet food bar" is a salad bar. It does not always have 35 items, either — though maybe you’re supposed to count the two containers of croutons separately.
Jorge Carvalho has relocated his restaurant Café Brasil from Rock Hill to the Central West End. The name has changed, but much of the fare remains the same, from the open-flame Brazilian barbecue known as churrasco to the bracing caipirinha cocktails. Barbecue is a safe bet, with hunks of steak, chicken, shrimp, lamb or sausage served tableside from a metal skewer. Seafood is well represented, with the cod stew peixada a lively example. Feijoada, the black-bean stew that is Brazil's national dish, is very good. Beware the teapot your server offers: It contains cachaça, a powerful sugarcane liquor.
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