Friday, March 13, 2009
Orlando Restaurants - 2009 pt 1
I'm not sure how I missed this in 2008, but in 2007 I posted pictures from our visit to some of our favorite restaurants. This post highlights Texas de Brazil in Orlando, FL.
We usually set up reservations, for convenience. There's valet parking available, but we usually don't take advantage of it unless the weather's bad.
When we show up, we're seated pretty quickly. The server makes sure we know how things work there: one price for the mega salad bar (the term hardly does it justice) and for their gauchos to bring cuts of meat directly to your table (drinks, dessert, etc. cost extra).
The server brings our drinks, puts napkins in our laps, and lets us loose on the salad bar. It's amazing. Again, the term hardly does it justice. Take a look at some of the old or newer pictures to get an idea of just how extensive (and lovely) it is.
By the way, while we were at the salad bar, the server re-folded the napkins he'd placed in our laps earlier. Just because.
While enjoying the salad bar items (a meal by itself) one may not be ready for the different cuts of meat to be offered. So that the gauchos don't bother you, the restaurant provides double-sided discs. One side is red - the other green. When the green side is up, that signifies that the diner is open to gaucho offerings. When the red side is up, that pretty much means, "let me eat in peace."
When my dining companion turns her disc to the green side, while mine is still red, the gauchos tend to offer me the same items they're offering her (veal, filet mignon, sausage, chicken, etc.) - to avoid the perception of rudeness, I assume. It's somewhat unfortunate, but I certainly understand the choice.
Either way, I still enjoy my meal immensely (which is why this is my favorite restaurant). I spend forty-five minutes to an hour enjoying the two or three dozen items on the salad bar, alone before starting on the meats. I like to try almost every single item separately so that I can enjoy the subtleties and (honestly) complexities of flavor in each of them. Then, after cleansing my palate with the mashed potatoes provided for that purpose*, I begin mixing them together in different ways. I didn't know food could be so enjoyable in so many ways.
I'm not one of those people who are impressed by fancy names, foreign languages, small portions, or high prices in a restaurant. The food and service are fantastic. By the time I'm done I feel I've gotten my money's worth and I recommend the place every chance I get. Heck, I'm even impressed by their music, restrooms, and napkins. How could I not?
Next time, I'll share photos from my second-favorite restaurant.
* - They also provide plaintains, but I can't eat those.