If you like barbecue, you'll love Churrasco – where skewer after skewer packed with high-quality meat floats past patrons on the prowl for their next bite.
The Brazilian steakhouse and salad bar has been open to carnivores of all types for seven years now, according to Ken Clark, restaurant manager.
Husband-and-wife-duo Miguel Moral and Susan Park own the joint and were inspired to bring authentic Brazilian cuisine to Guam after a trip they made years before to learn about the roots of the famous South American Churrasco.
“Guam's culture and Brazil's culture is similar in many ways,” Moral said. “The people of Brazil are friendly, family focused and, most importantly, love to eat with those they love – just like the people of Guam."
What exactly is it?
Churrasco is defined as a South American method of grilling meat over a wood or charcoal-stoked fire. A churrascaria is the restaurant that serves the meats grilled through Churrasco.
“We thought that although we may be halfway around the world, people and cultures connect through food,” Moral said. “We knew that by bringing Brazilian food to Guam, we would be connecting two cultures that may feel far apart much closer together. We also knew that the people of Guam would appreciate the familiar style of food and also like experiencing the differences.”
Aside from the typical servers seen at all restaurants, Churrasco is manned by a burly team of “gauchos,” or cowboys in English.
While the term historically refers to a group of bandits or cowboys of the Argentinian Pampas region, today gauchos are seen slicing and sliding off pieces of meat at your local Churrasco in a serving style known as “rodizio.”
Drinks, a hot-line buffet and a Guam-specific menu
“We provide a unique dining experience to those that eat at our restaurant,” Moral said. “Not only will the food be exceptional but the style of service will be one of a kind.”
Churrascarias around the world are known for their meats and gauchos, but Guam’s Churrasco also comes stocked with a fully loaded salad bar, hot line buffet and a beverage bar.
Moral said the restaurant also took into account its local customers and tweaked its menu accordingly.
“Churrasco is authentic, but we have adjusted some of the flavors so that the locals enjoy the flavors,” Moral said. “We made sure that the idea that food is shared amongst the guests in a communal way is kept authentic.”
For the vegetarians: Pesto, quinoa, kale salads and more
Churrasco’s all-you-can-eat salad bar is fresh and fully stocked for the herbivores of the group, providing great side options such as pesto salad, Asian quinoa salad, roasted onion and jalapeno salad, kale salad, macaroni salad, crab salad and other side specialties like smoked salmon and seafood ceviche.
On the hot-dish side, Churrasco has mashed potatoes and gravy, basa fish fillet with a garlic butter sauce, mussels, spaghetti and bolognese and Brazilian-style rice, black beans and plantains.
The main event: Meat and mesquite
For Churrasco’s grill, in-house butchers slice and skewer heaps of meat every day, according to Clark. Of note, most meat on the menu isn’t marinated, but is simply sprinkled with rock salt before slow roasting on the grill.
Clark shared that the real secret to Churrasco’s fine-tasting meats is the mesquite charcoal they’re grilled over. Churrasco barbecues its meat to perfection over organic charcoal and wood-fired grills.
“When you serve good quality meats, you just know it will be good because you get the flavor from their own fats,” Clark said.
He added that customers who know their meat well can also ask for it to be cooked at any precise temperature.
So, what kind of high-grade, quality meats are we talking about here? Plenty!
A mouthwatering multitude of meats
Churrasco takes pride in its picanha parmesao, the sirloin cap cut of beef served with parmesan cheese, which is generally unknown in the United States, but is overwhelmingly popular in Brazil.
Other meats on the menu include “Cordeiro” (Leg of Lamb with Rosemary and Garlic), “Alcatra de Pimenta” (Peppered Top Sirloin Steak), “Maminha” (Bottom Sirloin), “Filet Mignon” (Beef Tenderloin), “Bife Ancho” (Beef Ribeye), “Fraldinha” (Skirt Steak), “Costelinha de Boi” (Boneless Shortribs), “Frango Marinado” (Marinated Chicken with Herbs and Spices), “Asas de Frango” (Chicken Wings) and Bacon Wrapped Beef.
“Churrasco is about enjoying thin cuts of meat at a slow pace and a variety of different meats, so that you can savor the differences,” Moral said. “Bring friends that you want to enjoy a meal with for a long time and sit back, relax and savor all the different flavors the gaucho serves you.”
Desserts aplenty, but the pineapple actually ISN'T one of them
After meat lovers have had their fill, for dessert Churrasco offers the island’s only selection of sugar cinnamon apple fries, along with other sweet treats such as dulce de leche, chocolate molten lava cake with vanilla ice cream, and a variety of Brazilian mojitos, sangrias and cocktails made from sugarcane-based rums.
Clark said customers usually mistake skewered, caramelized pineapples for a dessert. Actually they're supposed to act as palate cleansers in between portions of meat.
And keep an eye out for a more localized Churrasco by the end of the month! Clark said potato salad and various kelaguens may find their way to the salad bar, and that more delectable meats such as dry aged beef and sirloin may soon be on the skewers, too.