Chain restaurants aren't usually my jam, but last year, when I was determined to track down the best salad bars in metro Milwaukee, I found myself in lust with Texas de Brazil’s massive, multi-cultural salad-and-so-much-more bar, in the outlot at Mayfair Mall, near Macy’s, 2550 N. Mayfair Rd.
And so, last week, I finally went back for the meat.
If you’ve dined at a Brazilian restaurant before, you know the drill. A skewer-wielding, primarily male waitstaff – called "gauchos" – walk up to your table with a variety of spit-roasted meats on long skewers and, if the diner desires, slices off juicy slabs right at the table. The gauchos keep approaching the table until the diner says they are finished or, specifically at Texas de Brazil, if they turn over their "green light meat card" to expose the "red light" side indicating they are done.
During our visit, we sampled pork loin, lamb chops, parmesan drumettes, filet mignon wrapped in bacon, and "just" filet mignon, Brazilian sausage, shrimp and I might have blacked out from the meat sweats after that because that’s where my memory stops.
Myriad sauces are available along with warm bread balls, garlic mashed potatoes and fried plantains to complement the carne. Janiesi Gomez is the head chef and has worked for Texas de Brazil for 3 1/2 years.
"I think all of our meat is excellent, but I highly recommend the lamb chops," she says.
We also choked down a few Brazilian cocktails and three desserts including warm pecan pie with vanilla ice cream, chocolate mousse cake and tiramisu. The pecan pie was our favorite because of the buttery crust and the fresh pecans.
Texas de Brazil is hosting a special Mother’s Day meal on Sunday, May 12. Starting at 11 a.m., the restaurant offers the rodizio-style dinner menu all day along with a special treat of a non-alcoholic beverage and a dessert for the holiday.
"Moms deserve a day off from cooking and here they can get whatever they want – especially if what they want is delicious meat," says Gomez.
Here are some photos from our recent visit to Texas de Brazil. Have a very meaty Mom’s Day, Milwaukee!
Molly Snyder grew up on Milwaukee's East Side and today, she lives in the Walker's Point neighborhood with her partner and two sons.
As a full time senior writer, editorial manager and self-described experience junkie, Molly has written thousands of articles about Milwaukee (and a few about New Orleans, Detroit, Indianapolis, Boston and various vacation spots in Wisconsin) that range in subject from where to get the best cup of coffee to an in-depth profile on the survivors of the iconic Norman apartment building that burned down in the '90s.
She also once got a colonic just to report on it, but that's enough on that.
Always told she had a "radio voice," Molly found herself as a regular contributor on FM102, 97WMYX and 1130WISN with her childhood radio favorite, Gene Mueller.
Molly's poetry, essays and articles appeared in many publications including USA Today, The Writer, The Sun Magazine and more. She has a collection of poetry, "Topless," and is slowly writing a memoir.
In 2009, Molly won a Milwaukee Press Club Award. She served as the Narrator / writer-in-residence at the Pfister Hotel from 2013-2014. She is also a story slam-winning storyteller who has performed with The Moth, Ex Fabula and Risk!
When she's not writing, interviewing or mom-ing, Molly teaches tarot card classes, gardens, sits in bars drinking Miller products and dreams of being in a punk band again.