4738 Cleveland Ave.
Open Mon-Saturday 11am-9pm, Sunday 11am-6pm
In the past, when discussing our penchant for visiting ‘by-immigrant-for-immigrant’ restaurants, we’ve occasionally been asked if we ever get the sense that we’re somehow intruding.
Almost without exception, the answer is no. Once the restaurant’s employees get a sense of our interest, and realize that we haven’t just haplessly stumbled into an experience we’ll reflexively dislike, the default reaction is one of distinct pride in their culinary culture and a strong desire to demonstrate its virtues.
Estilo Brazil Barbecue is a perfect example. There might’ve been an element of wariness initially, but once we demonstrated a bit of good natured interest to the folks running the show, we were smothered in kindness. Every aspect of the dishes they were serving was explained in great detail, and, from their perspective, nothing would be left untasted by us.
Which, as of our first couple of visits, wasn’t the task it might seem. Estilo Brazil is modeled after a Brazilian ‘PF’, which translates to mean ‘one dish, one price’. The dish may change from day to day, and their repertoire may grow to include some Peruvian offerings, but as this outdoor kitchen largely consists of a grill and a couple of burners for sides, we expect expect meat to be the primary focus.
On our last visit, that meant picuña beef and linguiça churrasco, served with beans & rice, yuca, and a pico de gallo-style sauce/relish. The picuña is a cut that isn’t commonly found in the US, and Estilo goes to some pains to procure it. The preference for it, though, becomes obvious upon trying it – it’s cooked medium, and sliced in such a way that there’s a flavorful little knob of fat at the top of each strip. Seasoned with a special churrasco-spiced sea salt, it’s an enjoyable and novel take on steak.
And it would’ve been our favorite part of the dish, if not for the linguiça – a type of Brazilian/Portuguese pork sausage. Seasoned in such a way as to emphasize the flavor of the (very coarsely ground) pork to a degree I’ve not experienced before, it was sublime.
As sides, the beans and rice were fine utility players, and the thick hunks of boiled yuca (aka manioc, cassava) made for a pleasant potato-like starchy accompaniment to the meat. Condiments include dried yuca (which we enjoyed) and a hot sauce that consisted of whole, round, not quite dime-sized hot peppers in oil.
The outdoor restaurant, which has a pleasant tropical beach like feel, sits against a Brazilian market (called Estilo Brazil)
As well as the new outdoor barbecue venture, Estillo Brazil has a juice bar in the back. We tried their passionfruit juice and the açai ‘bowl’. The passionfruit juice was pleasantly tart, and sweetened to order. We’re told it has a calming effect.
It might have, but we’re pretty sure it was cancelled out by the açai. This was blended thicker than a smoothie, and had a texture almost like a pudding, and was served in a shallow bowl garnished with strawberries, bananas, and oats.
We were eyed wearily as we spooned up the viscous purple-black concoction; told it was an acquired taste and that we didn’t have to finish it. It tasted largely of blackberry with a hint of chocolate, and finished with a slight chemical-like aftertaste. Admittedly unusual, though mostly pleasant, we finished it without any sense of obligation.
And then the buzz hit. One of us is fairly sensitive to caffeine, and was feeling effects similar to a cup or two of coffee – might there have been guarana in the açai bowl?
Can’t say, but the ultimate result is that our house is very, very clean.
We also can’t say with certainty what the prices are for the dishes at Estilo Brazil – they weren’t posted, and both times we went they insisted we didn’t pay (no, we gave no indication as to our desire to write about them or our association with this website). Our recollection is that they were planning for the PF to be in the $6 – $8 range, which struck us as a bargain. Items from the smoothie bar ran from $3 – $6.