Robb Report Vices

Sinking Your Teeth into South American Steak

World Cup envy? Yeah, we’ve got it; but tickets to the finals price out for more than your Southampton share, and how many East Village pubs stuffed with poseurs in Italian jerseys can you really endure over the course of a month? Luckily, we’ve corralled an experience to make you feel closer to the World Cup action without leaving home: New York, meet the Brazilian steak house.

Our list of the best such grills in Manhattan delivers a thick, juicy slice of Brazil, one that will satisfy all your summer cravings. Well, most of them, anyway.

Big Eats in Little Brazil 

A jewel on Manhattan’s Little Brazil row, Emporium Brasil has an extensive menu featuring nearly 20 dishes off the grill, a knockout list for seafood lovers, and a fun selection of finger foods. “Try the pastries,” the manager tells us, touting the popularity of the empanadas and croquettes stuffed with fried cod, chicken, beef, or cheese. For a more serious sit-down, we recommend the picanha, a soft and flavorful steak that’s beloved in Brazil. Oh, and don’t be put off by the neighborhood’s commercial feel: Emporium Brasil delivers an ambience that is elegant and sleek, with cool granite and stainless-steel accents. Dress is casual, and a TV is present for those who can’t bear to miss a minute of the World Cup action. 

Stand Up

Roughly translated, Churrascaria Plataforma means “barbecue stand,” but the name hardly does this Theater District favorite (or its menu) justice. You might be tempted to make multiple trips to the salad bar (we can’t blame you for that), but the prudent play is to pace yourself. After all, an all-you-can-eat parade of more than a dozen meats will soon be arriving on the rodizio—Portuguese for “rotisserie rod.” Six quality cuts of steak, charred octopus, pork ribs, and leg of lamb are among the offerings, all delivered in a steady cycle until you finally tap out. And you were going to have more salad. . . .

For those with a fainter heart, Plataforma offers a bar menu featuring mixed grills and light bites to keep your caipirinha company. The steak house is prepping for the World Cup by bringing in at least four big-screen TVs that will be scattered throughout. With all that meat and high-definition World Cup action on call, you can bet reservations will be necessary.

Twist and Shout

Circus is an upscale family-owned spot known for what the manager describes as a “sophisticated twist” on authentic Brazilian fare. The executive chef is a native of southeast Brazil, and the cocktail menu is home to a list of original cocktails spotlighting sugarcane juice. Decor is classic meets contemporary, as in “The Girl from Ipanema” trades in her bikini for a freewheeling long weekend in New York. “We’re getting really busy [as the World Cup approaches],” the manager tells us. Translation: Reservations are a must. 

Off the Chain

The concierge at the Mandarin Oriental hotel confided to us that he loves Texas de Brazil for the “very polished, modern space” as well as the indulgent menu. Yes, Texas de Brazil is a chain, but it’s one of the few to do chain restaurants proud. The salad bar offers everything from fresh buffalo mozzarella to sushi, and an extensive wine list pays tribute to South American and Californian vintners. For those who would rather dine in private, the restaurant offers takeout by the pound; but if you’re the type to want to do things yourself, the restaurant also shares its essential grilling tips.