Cowboy Brazilian Steakhouse
It was a dark and stormy evening with wind and pouring down rain. But that wasn’t going to stop us from loading up our wagon with the young’uns and riding into town to Cowboy Brazilian Steakhouse, Winston-Salem’s only Churrascaria.
Cowboy Brazilian Steakhouse opened in May at 115 South Main Street in the Bryce A. Stuart Municipal Building. Started by native Brazilian Edson Munekata, it is the fourth project following the Hilton Head, Charleston and flagship location in Columbia, South Carolina. Winston-Salem’s location is co-owned by Joel Evans, who’s been with the company for years and business partner, Freddy Lee, who is chef and partner at Bernardin’s and Bleu Restaurant.
I’ve been to Leblon Churrascaria in Greensboro and after learning from the first time, I literally fasted all day leading up to dinner there.
You’re about to get the meat sweats…
The menu features 16 cuts of beef, chicken, pork or lamb on giant skewers that are literally paraded out by the Gauchos, who carve it tableside. They keep coming back until you give them notice to stop with your trusty button….green for “Go!” and red for “no more.”
There are also six hot Brazilian dishes such as, mashed potatoes, black beans, greens, mushrooms and more. Plus, there is a 30-item salad bar complete with all the fresh garden greens you could want, toppings, smoked salmon, pasta salads, cheese, cold cuts and there’s also soup.
It’s a stretchy breeches kind of place.
Here’s how it works. You are seated and a server immediately tells you what is about to transpire, shows you the “button” that you’ll turn to green when you’re ready, takes your drink order and leaves you to it (“it,” meaning the salad bar). While you’re loading your plate with salad and all the fixings, your drink will arrive and probably bread which features traditional Brazilian cheese bread, corn bread sticks and these amazing breaded and fried bananas. Now if it was me, I’d enjoy that salad and the bread and begin pacing myself. If you get full easily you might consider skipping the salad altogether, but it’s really fresh and vibrant and you’re here, so why not? When you’re almost ready to say, “go,” giddy up to the warm buffet and load up on some beans and potatoes and anything else that suits your fancy.
When you’re seated again, turn that button over to green. And the first Gaucho will come with something like bacon-wrapped chicken and he (as the case was with us) will pull it down off the skewer to your waiting plate. Then another Gaucho will arrive with something like garlic crusted sirloin, then another with filet, then another with beer-braised chicken drumstick, then another with this amazing pork and following that will be flank steak, leg of lamb, Brazilian Pork Sausage known as “Linguica,” filet mignon, bacon-wrapped filet, beef and pork ribs, pork parmesan, chicken sausage or lamb chop, House Special “Picanha” (a type of pork), top sirloin and lamb chops. The meat they shave off for you is cooked to your temperature preference as well.
It is seemingly endless, but the trick to getting the most out of your Cowboy experience is to use that little button. Turn it over to red, savor the moment and eat slowly because as Evans told me, a Churrascaria is meant to be experienced.
“We want folks to come here and spend a good hour and a half or two hours with us,” Evans said. “It’s more a marathon than a race. That’s how they do it when they celebrate in Brazil. It’s a feast.”
There were a number of meats that stood out for us. My children loved the flank steak and the bacon-wrapped chicken. My husband loved the flank, pork Parmesan, and lamb chops. I agree the pork and the Picanha were superb but my favorite might have been the garlic steak. I stuck with just the salad and the meats but daughter enjoyed the mashed potatoes and rice. Next time, I’ll be sure to try the balsamic mushrooms, as they looked delicious. Be sure to save room for the roasted pineapple that comes a bit later. It’s been rubbed with brown sugar and cinnamon and is succulent.
Dessert options include Brazilian custard that’s like flan, complete with a caramel sauce, a red velvet cheesecake (which my little one really loved) a chocolate truffle cake, key lime pie and more.
This is the perfect place if you are on a crazy whacko Keto Diet (like Mr. Foodie) or Atkins, Paleo or Whole 30 because it is all real food and meat and veggies. Gluten free? You’re fine. Vegetarian or vegan? There are lots and lots of endless salad and warm veggies that may or may not have cream or butter (ask your Gaucho). In addition to the full barn and main dining area, there are two other dining rooms that can be reserved for meetings or special events.
My daughter opined that it was like the ensemble song, “Be Our Guest” in Beauty and the Beast, “they just keep bringing out food!” she said. It is kind of like that, course by course, one by one, until you say “Enough! I’m done!” Except, you just make the flip from green to red and they will leave you alone after that…until dessert.
Wanna go? Cowboy Brazilian Steakhouse is located at 115 South Main Street, Winston-Salem. Open for dinner Monday-Sunday; (336) 293-6702, cowboybraziliansteakhouse.com