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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Cafe Brasil

10831 Venice Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90034
(310) 837-8957

Café Brasil is tucked away in a corner of Culver City and embraces the calm atmosphere ideal for a relaxing Sunday meal. And for $15 a person, it’s an apt alternative to booking a flight to Ipanema.

I came hungry and while waiting for my food, I decided to bite on the complimentary blend of marinated carrots and peppers. I had trouble reaching the carrots with the tongs and settled on mostly peppers. Bad idea, as an accent to the steaks, it adds a welcomed kick. As an amuse bouche, it will have you walking down Venice Boulevard trying to return your heart rate back to normal. Looking back, I wish I would have put more effort into reaching for the carrots.

$3 Fried Yuca (6)
$4.50 Fried Polenta (3)
These arrived on the same plate and at first sight are difficult to distinguish; the yucca is up top and the domino shaped polenta towards the bottom. I’ve had yuca fries before and these were a decent example, crisp on the outside and that earthy, rustic familiar center. The polenta on the other hand, was a bit limp and lacked a sharp flavor, more on the mushy side.
Both were sprinkled with parmesan and cilantro.

$2 Empadinha (2)
We had the option of a chicken or heart of palm filling in the petite 'pot pie', we went with the road less traveled and we found out why it’s less traveled. In regards to fat, it was a 10, but the flavor was closer to a zero. Every component was bland; it tasted of something only worthy of a Costco cocktail party.

$3 Pasteis (3)
A Brazilain style empanada filled with a soft white cheese and accompanied by a pico de gallo style salsa. It had a very simple flavor that would have benefited from some seasonings or a sauce.
Just a crispy exterior, cheese, and salsa, that's it.

$16 Churrasco: Choice Picahna Steak , side of plantains , rice, and black bean soup (7)
A respectable steak for the price, lightly seasoned and fairly tender for a cheap eats.
Most places I’ve tried, do plantains well. The breaking point is the freshness, with likes of Versailles preparing theirs a week in advance and left to sit. Here, they come hot, profoundly sweet, and perhaps the best dish of the meal. The black bean soup was homemade, but the lack of seasoning theme was consistent with this preparation. The portion is enough to share and it was.

I enjoyed my meal at Café Brasil, even despite some of its shortcomings. My one piece of advice would be to order only what they prepare to order. Adeus para agora!

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