Friday, October 8, 2010

Tuesday, 10/7/10 - Chama Gaucha

Date: 10/7/10....we're not even trying to make it look like Tuesday anymore! Sheesh!
Restaurant: Chama Gaucha
Location: 18318 Sonterra Place, on 1604 and Stone Oak
Executive Chef: Unknown

Well, these past two weeks have been a blur. First I was smote with the lightning bolt of wrathful allergies, and my sense of taste was mostly knocked out of commission. Then Tavis injured his eyeball (for the sake of the story I'll say crowbars might have been involved) (but they weren't) and well, the long and short of it is, we missed a week of dining and the only time we had free this week was on a Thursday. Regardless, we seized the opportunity like the last cheesy biscuit in the bread basket and ran!

So, Chama Gaucha. This is a churrascaria-type restaurant, aka "all-you-can-meat." It's much like Fogo de Chao. The premise is that you go in and are confronted with a salad bar buffet of giant proportions, and then once you have foolishly glutted yourself on that, you flip a little card from "red" to "green" and a battalion of gaucho-esque waiters will swoop down upon your table brandishing a skewer of delectable meat in one hand and a saber in the other, and will slice various types of meat upon your plate until you cry mercy.

And, well, that's pretty much what happened!

It's quite large and in charge. The size of the sign, I think, is the artist's subconscious indicating the size of your waistband by the time you finish eating.

The service was impeccable here; it's quite high-level, with pulling out of chairs, placing the napkin across your lap for you, scraping crumbs off your tablecloth between courses, and constant solicitous care. Our server Sandra was really terrific, very friendly and helpful.

The one point of contention I had was that it is very dark inside. I had to finagle to get the shots that did come out, and sadly the salad bar was not among them.

However, the plate of munchies acquired from the salad bar is much more visible! There was a standard salad section which I disdained, choosing instead to try bites of various cheeses (swiss, a smoked cheese that may have been Gouda but was fairly unflavorful, fresh balls of mozzarella, and even an entire wheel of Parmigiano! Really really delicious with the bit of balsamic vinegar I appropriated). They also had a wall of pre-made salads including chicken salad, potato salad, marinated mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, and a light cucumber salad. All of them were ridiculously delicious and I could easily have made a meal there, had I not known what was to come. Instead I contented myself with a bite of each to get the saliva flowing and then allowed my plate to be removed.

Oh, and the cheese puffs. Barely cooked, gooey, savory little cheese puffs. These could be our undoing as a civilization.

Tavis's plate. He actually made a salad! I was pleased that he would be getting a vegetable serving so didn't chide him on filling up on second-class citizens. He'd later regret this, however.

Around this time I took my little card which was on the "red" side and turned it over to "green." Immediately, one waiter after another came to me with their various offerings. You have several cuts of beef, including top sirloin, filet mignon, prime rib; you have lamb chops and leg of lamb; you have various chicken, sausage, and pork ribs. I had almost all of them. They also ask you how you prefer your meat done, and slice you a portion from certain sections of their skewer based on your preference.

My plate. It''s so beautiful.... I think the only thing I did not try was the chicken, because, well, it's chicken. The two things I could skip again are the sausage and the filet mignon. Everything else was an explosion of incredible flavor and ridiculous juiciness. Homer Simpson would have been proud of the incoherent noises I emitted as I Mr. Plowed through this plate.

As we were working on our meatstravaganza, we were provided with side dishes, including fried plantains, fried polenta, and mashed potatoes. It was nice for a break in the protein, though again I only tried enough to taste. We also requested a bowl of chimichurri (which was red...I thought was always green, huh) to accompany our meats. In the foreground you will see my new favorite drink, the caipirinha. It's like a lime slush for grown-ups. It's delicious, potent and definitely should be tried.

Alas, we were new to the game of churrascaria, and too soon we had to throw in the towel. And order dessert.

For once in my life (hopefully the only time), I passed up creme brulee. This is their key lime pie. It was tasty though not the level of addictive flavor that Sandbar's key lime pie had. I'll skip it next time.

Tavis's mile high NY cheesecake. Again, good flavor...just, compared to everything else we had eaten, it was definitely a footnote.

"No more meat?" Not today, Tavis. Not today.

Returnability: oh my GAWD, yes! From start to finish, this was a luxurious treat. Surprisingly, $35 apiece is all this all-you-can-meat experience will cost you. As many times as I've been places that surprised and intrigued me with ornate platings and creative flavor combinations, this place was the epitome of "take everything on the menu. Make it really delicious. The end." I want to come back here every month if possible. I....just won't consume any calories for the week before.


Beth G said...

i was hoping that there would be a picture of Tavis with an eyepatch, since he injured his eyeball. what a letdown.

Megan and Tavis said...

There's just no pleasing some people. :p