GUILDERLAND — If you like meat, you’ll love this place.
Dining partner Mary also loved the dark, wide-board wood floors, stylish Chinese red-painted high walls, brass fixtures, discreet lighting and wall-sized windows that framed a view of Lord & Taylor.
Our server arrived quickly with a fat leather menu and offered us a choice of water for our Saratoga bottle-blue glasses. Water turned out to be an important part of the meal.
Texas de Brazil is a great special occasion place, especially if the occasion is the celebration of the end of your diet. It’s all-you-can-eat hot, tender, juicy, delicious meat.
Here’s how it works: You choose the salad bar ($24.99) or the full meal ($42.99). Dessert is extra, no doggie bags. You can make an excellent meal of the salad bar, a good choice for non-meat eaters. Too bad there isn’t a meat-only option.
You’re there for the meat, and it becomes clear as soon as the first dangerous-looking skewer of charred meat goes by, held high by knife-bearing young men in blue shirts and baggy pants that it’s going to be good. Try not to eat too much at the salad bar. You’re going to want to try everything on a skewer.
Texas de Brazil Brazilian Steakhouse Restaurant
WHERE: 1 Crossgates Mall Road, Guilderland, 640-2191, www.texasdebrazil.com
WHEN: 5-9:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 5-10 p.m. Friday; 4-10 p.m. Saturday; 4-9 p.m Sunday.
HOW MUCH: $122.58 with one dessert, tax, and tip
MORE INFO: Wheelchair accessible. Credit cards: Master Card, Visa, American Express, Discover. Children’s discount according to age.
We tasted a little bit of most things at the salad bar. Mary thought the salmon was tasty but overcooked and the lobster bisque not quite up to scratch, but everything else was: the paper-thin slices of succulent pineapple and salami, cold garlicky haricots vert, chilled shrimp salad and impeccable greens with a wide variety of toppings and dressings. We took brown gravy with mushrooms back to the table.
Curious to see everything, I dug tongs into a bowl on a higher shelf and came out with a fist-sized bunch of bacon, big crispy pieces, with bubbly, crispy fat. I felt like I won the lottery, and had to quash an impulse to grab more.
Each place setting has scary knives and tongs in addition to the regular flatware. Each place also has a coaster: one side is red, and if you turn it over to green, the meat-bearers will stop at your table. Once we flipped ours we got fresh plates, a dish of garlic mashed potatoes, another of fried bananas, and started watching for the guys with the skewers.
They’re cheerful, those meat guys, because they know what they’ve got is good stuff and that it’s going to make you happy. They plunk their metal plates onto the table and carve or slide or loosen whatever you want.
Meat, and more meat
We started with chunks of sirloin, medium rare, garlic-seasoned, tender and succulent. We were about halfway through when the flank steak guy arrived. He carved a slice while we held it in the tongs and said when. The grainy beef flaked where it was charred outside: good, not great. Next, peppery sirloin slices bearing a crispy layer of bonus fat; the best of the night. It was followed by bacon-wrapped filet, then plain filet, then more bacon, this time wrapped around white meat chicken.
“I’m on my third glass of water,” Mary said.
The marinated chicken was especially salty. We left most of it on our plates and decided to finish up with ribs and the sausage.
Each time she filled our water glasses, the server asked if we needed anything. She brought salted butter for the delicious rolls, and summoned the rib and sausage guys.
The pork ribs were disappointingly overcooked and dry, but the Brazilian sausage was spicy, hot and juicy with a snappy casing. It would be perfect on a chewy roll.
The garlic mashed potatoes and the sugar- and syrup-coated bananas both measured up. We worked out that we probably each ate the equivalent of a 10- or 12-ounce steak.
We shared a slice of the Brazilian cheesecake ($9), beautifully plated with a variety of sauces and especially creamy, with a layer of chocolate fudge on the bottom and a minimal, utilitarian crust.
Our tab came to $122.58 with cheesecake and tip.