Stepping into the Churrascaria Copacabana Brazilian Steakhouse recently, I was immediately surrounded by World Cup chatter and an air of excitement from numerous patrons.
The mood, combined with the warmth of the service throughout my visit, made it feel like the best of Brazil had landed in this tiny eatery in Port Chester.
Seated by a friendly and attentive waitress, we were given a bread basket filled with warm, traditional Brazilian bread loaded with parmesan cheese. I chose a Copacabana Breeze for my drink, which contained hypnotiq, Malibu rum, curacao, and pineapple juice. A vast salad bar offered everything under the sun in terms of appetizers, including a decadent Brazilian potato salad, a mixture of fruit and pasta salad and Reggiano cheese with a side of honey.
I settled on an assortment of chick peas, which were nestled among sweetened dried cranberries and different garnishes to flavor the fruits and vegetables. My date and I were both won over by the distinctive house chicken salad with shredded chicken uniquely sweetened with a mix of tomato and cranberry.
As we finished ogling the assortment of sides we had collected on our plates, we began to worry we had been overindulgent and eaten too heavily before the rodizio, otherwise known as "Meat Parade." But before we could even finish our thought, our plates were cleared and replaced by a fresh hodgepodge of white rice, beans, yucca flour, and fried bananas. We found that when the yucca flour was mixed with the other small plates, the result was sensational. The fried bananas, not to be forgotten, were a harmonious blend of bread crumbs and sweet fruit.
After this second collection of ethnic food, I was unsure of what to expect from the "Meat Parade," which stars top sirloin, barbecued chicken, turkey wrapped in bacon, beef tenderloin wrapped in bacon, Brazilian sausage and prime rib. Now, if you are like me, and are thinking this wide array appears on plates carried by waiters, then you have never had Brazilian barbecue. As per traditional rodizio service, each rotisserie-style speared meat was presented and delivered by meat waiters (passadores) with knives and skewers.
The roasted Brazilian sausage, presented first, and was both tasty and juicy. Along with the sausage came the barbecued chicken. This quickly became one of my favorites, because it fell apart nicely and tasted ever-so-slightly buttery. The prime rib and top sirloin also had a deliciously char-broiled taste on their outer layers, with a soft core. Of all the choices though, I felt the beef tenderloin wrapped in bacon stood out above the rest in taste. The saltiness of the bacon mixed with the beef in the inner layer created a satisfying convergence of two very different meats.
As the last skewer was brought back into the kitchen, my company and I were full with great food and satisfaction. As our smiling waitress cleared our plates for the last time, I could not believe I had enough room in my belly to try all six of the meat choices plus all the other smaller dishes! We completed our meals with two steaming cups of traditional Brazilian coffee, stronger and naturally flavorful than we are used to in America.
After our moderately-priced bill — the all-you-can-eat rodizio menu is $34.95 —was paid, my date and I waved goodbye to the upbeat waitstaff.
We easily agreed this Brazilian barbecue was an enjoyable experience we'd both like to try again and would recommended to all Westchester residents looking to add some spice to their average dining out routine.