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14 Cuts of Meat and More at the Copacabana Brazilian Steakhouse

kebabIn Rio De Janeiro, a must see attraction is Copacabana Beach. Here in Westchester, a visit to Copacabana Brazilian Steakhouse in Portchester, will give you a taste of the rodizio restaurants that are so popular in Brazil.

As I arrived at Copacabana, (the restaurant, not the beach) I was greeted by manager Antonio Narciso, a gracious host. He indicated that he owned several restaurants in Brazil. "At Copacabana we have a friendly environment. Our staff is composed of hard workers. We enjoy serving everyone. Eventually we hope to expand and open another restaurant in a different area of the county, while continuing to enjoy our success here in Port Chester. Our restaurant is traditional. We use our charcoal grills to prepare our extensive rodizio selections." Robert Luiso, the owner has maintained the quality of the food and service at Copacabana which is celebrating its eleventh anniversary. The unique cuisine of Brazil has been influenced by African, Portuguese and American Indian styles of cooking.

The restaurant is grand in size. Enter through a large and comfortable bar. To the right is a wine room. Move on to the large dining room as well as a smaller one suitable for private parties. A less formal bar area is in the rear. Mellow Brazilian music fills the air.

A basket of warm pao de queijo, delectable cheese rolls, appeared on our table as we chose selections from the large assortment of salads and appetizers on the nicely decorated buffet table. These golden puffs were addictive. From the salad bar, we chose from 24 options including tomatoes and mozzarella, large unpeeled shrimp, corn and chick pea salad, olive salad, hearts of palm, parmesan chunks, classic Brazilian shredded chicken salad, and cubed potato salad and a lovely vinaigrette relish. Everything was pristinely fresh. We tried not to fill up on these treats in anticipation of our rodizio meal. Executive Chef Pimentel learned his craft from renowned Brazilian chefs.

It was time to savor the parade of meats that constitute a rodizio dinner. Note the serious steak knife at your place setting and bring a hearty appetite. At both lunch and dinner, your server will arrive with large skewers of a changing variety of meats and a heavy duty knife. He will slice these morsels for you. At dinner, 14 cuts of meat are offered including top sirloin, flank steak, skirt steak, prime rib, leg of lamb beef kebabs, beef ribs, marinated chicken and the list goes on. At lunch six cuts of meat are there for you to enjoy.

The Brazilian people may have invented the "all you can eat meal." A card, green on one side and red on the other indicates if you wish another serving or if you are finished with your meal. Just turn the card to the appropriate side and your attentive server will fill your wish. We loved the top sirloin, the marinated chicken thighs and the pork loin with a sun dried tomato marinade. Our skewers were accompanied by rice, beans, a vinaigrette with onions and peppers, and cassava, also called manioc or farofa, a starchy flour that has the appearance of grated cheese and appears with many dishes. Best of all were the divine fried bananas. The secret in their preparation is to start with bananas that are not too ripe and not to firm. Dipped in egg and panko crumbs and fried to a golden hue they perk up any meal.

Copacabana offers a varied selection of a la carte dishes, many with an Italian touch such as shrimp scampi, chicken scarpariello, chicken martini and filet of sole picatta. There is salmon with passion fruit sauce, grilled skirt or strip steak and even a Copacabana burger. We enjoyed the grilled top sirloin or picanha. This huge portion of beef topped with caramelized onions with mashed potatoes was hearty and I imagine many guests would request to have part of the dish packed for a future meal. The a la carte grilled skirt steak or fraldinha was tender as could be and topped with a julienne of red and green peppers and caramelized onions. It too, was a very generous portion.
Several very traditional dishes are offered as well. One is the national dish of Brazil or feijoada. This is a mix of black beans and a variety of many cuts of pork and dried beef combined to form a very hearty stew. It is served here in the classic manner with sliced oranges and sautéed collard greens, rice and manioc meal for sprinkling. Contemporary restaurants might call this nose to tail cuisine. Another classic is the Brazilian fish stew called muqueca. At Copacabana it is prepared with red snapper and shrimp. This bowlful of steaming goodness arrives with its golden sauce provided by the addition of dende oil. Green and red peppers and tomatoes add flavor and cassava thickens this lovely seafood dish.steak

You may decide to visit Copacabana to enjoy their drinks and appetizers. In the Brazilian mode, try one or a combination of the caipirinhas prepared with cachaça, a Brazilian made sugar cane spirit with added lime and sugar. It is prepared here both traditionally or with strawberry, passion fruit, mango, pineapple or coconut. Many beer and cocktails will work well with their selection of appetizers such as mixed bbq, pork sausage, croquette platter, coconut shrimp, fried tilapia or a Copa salad.

Desserts include crème brulee, tiramisu, and mousses. We enjoyed a creamy and smooth coconut flan. Very classic is brigadeiro prepared with chocolate and condensed milk. Very unusual were cajuzin with ground peanuts and condensed milk.

Enjoy a festive meal at Copacabana where the friendly staff will make you feel at home. It is a fine spot for friends and family as well as for business meetings to enjoy a bountiful meal.

Copacabana Brazilian Steakhouse
29 North Main Street
Port Chester, New York
914 939 6894
http://www.copacabanasteakhouse.com/

Recipe: Caramel Flan

14 ounces sugar

14 ounce can condensed milk
14 ounces whole milk
3 eggs

For the caramel, place sugar in a pot and cook, stirring until it is golden in color. Carefully pour this caramel syrup into a round cake pan. In a blender, blend the condensed and whole milk and eggs until smooth. Pour this mixture over the caramel syrup in the round cake pan. Place the round pan in a water bath, (a larger pan filled halfway up with water.) Bake at 350 degrees for about 45-60 minutes. Let it rest for ½ hour and then refrigerate covered for 6 hours. Unmold the cake pan onto a round serving platter and serve cold in slices.

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