Authentic Brazilian Cuisine
When I first moved to New York I frequented a restaurant called Cabana Carioca, a simple place but one where Brazilians went to eat and “bater um papo” — chat (since then closed; a place that’s similar that’s very good is Ipanema Restaurant). Subsequently, in New York we had a chef who would come to the apartment for dinner parties and make dishes like roast pork with the traditional dish feijoao, rice and black beans, and a sweet flan called pudim. All of this is to say I know something about Brazilian cuisine and have been looking for a place to enjoy it that wasn’t a rodizio where they bring dish upon dish of grilled meats (love it, but a lot of food; see my review about Fogo de Chao). Mr. W’s trainer, a Brazilian who spends her calories wisely, told him about Little Brazil , 6984 Collins Avenue (t.305-397-8215) and said it was the best Brazilian restaurant in Miami. So the intrepid diner went off to sample.
The bottom line: family style food, very tasty, and an incredible deal. I’m talking lunch with entrees ranging from $9.95 to $10.95 ,complete with rice, beans, fried banana and salad. You add a glass of wine for $7 and you have more than you can eat for less than $25 a person. In the main menu, house specialties are indicated with a Brazilian flag, a smart detail. The four page menu has more than enough choices to suit the most demanding tastes – like ten varieties of meat, nine kinds of chicken and 16 different dishes of seafood. We opted for the churrasco (skirt steak) with heart of palm served with all the accompaniments . The plate was brimming (see the photo) and everything was delicious. Intriguing dishes included Pastel de Queijo, crispy cheese filled pastry; Bolinho de Bacalhau, cod fish croquettes; star seller Picanho, sliced top sirloin served on a sizzling skillet topped with roasted garlic served with farofa and vinaigrette; and the Camarao no Coco, shrimp sauteed with coconut milk, mushrooms and herbs. On the weekends there’s the legendary Feijoada, the Brazilian national dish, a black bean stew with fresh and dried beef, salted and fresh pork, bacon, sausage and ribs. It’s served with collard greens, slices oranges and farofa. Needless to say, come with a super appetite.Desserts include the pudim as well as passion fruit mousse, chocolate souffle and “exotic bomba’, mango, passion fruit and raspberry sorbet covered in white chocolate.
Juices are a big thing in Brazil. So not surprising there was an exciting assortment including cashew, passion fruit, mango, and coconut water as well as Brazilian beer and soft drinks, the most famous of which is guarana.
The restaurant is very casual and friendly, with ceramic plates and Brazilian flags decorating the walls and a family kind of vibe. It’s definitely worth a visit for a casual lunch with friends during the week or weekends, and you won’t be disappointed.