We knew it was coming...a night out with our friends Daphne and Jim at En Chamas Brazilian Steakhouse; a first for K and I, despite its looming presence in our own neighborhood. I was certainly looking forward to the experience, but had heard enough to know that this was not a dietary dinner and there would be a lot of food. K and I prepped for the Main Event; subsisting on oatmeal and spinach and partaking of the fine weather by going on a walk/run at the Downtown Airport. And indeed, this spring-like weather was seriously spinning its web...we made our way to Planters; that center of all things spice and seed in City Market and there, the doors were open and the crowds were streaming through. We were there to pick up seed packets for the new chef at the Elms including mache, sorrel and rosemary for his herb garden. Everyone seemed to already be awash in a sort of spring fever. It was February 18.
Soon, we met our buds at the beautifully appointed En Chamas restaurant at the Tuileries Plaza shopping center near our home. We ordered cocktails...mine was the national cocktail of Brazil to be exact; a traditionally made Caipirihna of fresh lime muddled with sugar, then topped with ice and Cachaca; a Brazilian rum. Our server then enlightened us as to how the rodizio service takes place..
En Chamas is Kansas City's first Churrascaria, which is literally translated as "house of meat". As the website recounts, this refers to a South American rotisserie-style preparation. "Rodizio" means "rotate" in Portuguese. Our instructions were to visit the gourmet bar first, which provides a vast amount of salads and sides. While this experience appears to be a bit nightmarish for vegetarians, the gourmet bar does indeed offer a wide array of salads and vegetable dishes. The garbanzo salad, steamed mussels and simmering, salty feijoada; a Brazilian black bean dish were highlights of the bar. Once returned to our table, though, the real stars of the show arrived. The continuous tableside service began as the gauchos started bringing large skewers of various meats and slicing off pieces for us to enjoy. There is an amazing array of succulent meats to sample: Sirloin stuffed with provolone cheese, caramelized pit ham, chicken spiedini, garlic beef and scallops wrapped in bacon....to name a few choices. The gauchos arrive and serve so rapidly that you can barely catch your breath unless you turn over that tabletop token that says "No thank you". It was a bit of a dizzying service experience, but oh, those meats. One bite of the sirloin and my eyes rolled in rapturous response. I was reminded why I haven't become a vegetarian myself...that beef was juicy and oh, so flavorful.
In the end, it was a great night of laughs, conversation and fabulous food with Jim and Daphne. As we enjoyed our creamy chocolate mousse for dessert, it was clear: En Chamas was a Brazilian delight.