Chawls (Login Chawls) from IP address 22.214.171.124
was where we went last night for a business dinner celebrating successful completion of a project.
I am not sure how reliable a review can be when it's based on only one visit, but it seemed like this was the right place to post this, after posting in the Food Forum.
The bar was well stocked with a lot standards as well as Brazilian tipples. I had the house lemonade, made with chachaca rum, Stoly, Cuervo, fresh lemon juice, and sugar. It had about the same relationship to lemonade as Long Island Iced Tea has to iced tea. I had been thinking of Long Island Iced Tea while walking there from the office, but when I saw the lemonade on the drinks menu, I had to try it, and it was a good choice. I enjoyed it a lot.
From the bar we went to the salad bar, which offered more than just a big variety of cold salad fare. It also had baked salmon, roasted potatoes, and a few other hot dishes that I didn't uncover and look at because after a bit of asparagus, some cantaloupe wrapped in prosciutto, and a nice seafood salad, I wanted to save the rest of my appetite for what sets this place apart: meat.
Meat is served from skewers. Each place setting has a card, which the diner turns green side up to signal the servers to continue offering food, or red side up.
They also brought some side dishes to the table. I was told that the beans, apparently pinto, were especially good, but I didn't try them because I've been eating beans a lot at home lately. There was a rice dish that looked like short grain white rice with some small diced pieces of bell pepper and other seasonings. (The place can't be bad if they serve a good rice dish with killer beans!). Fried bananas were also placed on the table. To accompany the meat there was a thin, vinegar based sauce with some almost hot peppers chopped up in it. There were also small dinner rolls that were very heavy and gooey inside but tasty.
Skewered meat came either in small morsels the size of two or three bites, or larger pieces that the server carved off the skewer and the diner took with the little tongs at each place setting. There was not a lot of seasoning on the meat, although it seemed salty after the meal to my usually salt-free palate, and there was nothing to get in the way of the taste of the meat, which was generally very good.
Smaller size offerings included pork sausage, chicken chunks wrapped in bacon, beef tenderloin chunks wrapped in bacon, plain chicken chunks, and probably one or two others that I can't recall right now. The bacon was tasty, with a lot of smoke flavor, but salty.
Larger pieces of skewered meat included smoked ham, rump roast, leg of lamb, flank steak, pork tenderloin sprinkled with a cheese that may have been parmesan, beef "filet mignon" that did not appear to be wrapped in bacon, and maybe another one or two that escape my recollection.
One item that those who had eaten there before had recommended was the skewered pineapple coated with cinnamon and sugar and lightly toasted around the edges. This was for some reason not offered until requested, but when it arrived, it was very tasty, especially with the fried bananas.
I found the cooking of the meat inconsistent, maybe due to my unfamiliarity with Brazilian or Latin American tastes. (I heard a lot of Spanish, but not the mush-mouthed version they speak in Brazil. The servers had no problem understanding my rusty Spanish.) The rump roast was too rare for my taste, which spans a fairly broad spectrum from reddish pink to barely pink, but this beef was about at the stage that once caused one of my friends to exclaim, "I've seen cows hurt worse than that and survive." On the other hand, the lamb was way overcooked, even the part close to the skewer after they had cut away (and served) the charred edges. The pork tenderloin, although not charred, was not only overcooked but also also dry. Everything wrapped in bacon was cooked past medium, but the bacon wrapper seemed undercooked, more fatty than crispy.
I don't mean to sound too critical of the meat, because I did enjoy the meal.
Nobody had room for dessert.
I didn't see the tab, so I can't report how much this all cost per person, but I suspect it's more than I would normally go for.