With reservation in hand, Carol and I headed to Em Chamas not long after their grand opening on a busy and bustling Thursday night. The parking lot jammed with cars-we headed in. Em Chamas is located in the former spot of the fluky Pacific Grill--and as you walk in, you're bound to notice a serious transformation. Gone are the cobbled up and crammed rooms--new: a completely revamped space. They've opened the walls and added a sultry decor--saucy red walls, alluring photographs. As I look around I see people eating, laughing, having fun--and gauchos with their swords of meat in hand-running around.
The Churrascaria Experience
As we sat down, our waiter gave us the low down on what to expect--what the whole churr process entailed and suggested that we order a caipirinha (a traditional Brazilian cocktail) to get our dinner started off just right. With that, we made our way to the Brazilian bar and let our Em Chamas experience begin.
The Hot/Cold Brazilian bar (which is close in likeness to a Spanish tapas bar) was full of all sorts of traditional Brazilian dishes and includes everything from fresh meats and vegetables to assorted salads, cheeses and a huge helping of pan seared ahi tuna. They've also got traditional Brazilian sauces (which range from spicy to mild) to accompany your meat choices. Following Carol's lead, I grabbed a plate and filled it with Brazilian goodness and headed back.
How it Works
As we enjoyed our freshly concocted caipirinha and enjoyed our dishes we were promptly courted by our waiter who brought us a great array of side dishes to accompany our meals--warm cheese bread, mashed potatoes. and a serving of bananas fritas (plantains) and farofa(a side dish made of toasted cassava flour). He presented each in pleasant and informative way--educating you about Brazilian cuisine without acting like you were a total gourmet idiot.
Churrascaria's are unique in that they are a continuous tableside service (known as 'rodizio') that you are in control of. Every diner is given a coin in which the yellow side signals the gauchos (grill masters) to bring you a cut of meat where the black side signals that you are taking a well deserved breather. And with the flip of a coin--I was in business.
The gauchos bring the meat straight to your table from their huge passadore (grill) that has over 72 skewers going at any one time. They expertly describe each cut of meat and slice it right at your table from one of their huge swords--and with 14 different cuts, try one or try all--you decide.
My first slice was a perfectly grilled picanna (traditional cut sirloin)--served medium which was juicy, tender and mouth watering. It only got better from there-- as I savored the coredero (marinated leg of lamb) with a delicious side of mint sauce, the house favorite fraldinha (bottom sirloin) and marinated chicken legs. After three drinks and 6 or 7 cuts of meat-I just couldn't go any further.
The waitstaff flies under the radar to fill up your water or remove your silverware between courses. They don't ask you if you want a new fork or tell you to take it off your plate, they just do it--which is worth noting. Even though Carol had finished her meal before I did, the waiter waited until I had finished mine to remove our plates...restaurants should take notes from the crew at Em Chamas.
Finally, after the restaurant had mostly cleared and the hour approached 11 o'clock (yes, we had been there for over 3 hours), Silvio sat down with us to enjoy a glass of wine and see what we thought of his newest venture. 'Kansas City's a steak town and we knew people would love it'--Silvo said as we girls ohh'd over the desserts. As I took a bite of my perfectly made flan that was creamy and delicate and not a bit watery-- I couldn't have agreed more.
- Amazing Food
- Execeptional and Continious Service
- Great atmosphere for couples or large groups
- Don't go on a full stomach
- Be in the mood to eat some serious meat