Sunday, March 21, 2010


A Brazilian Steakhouse is not the type of place to visit on a whim, you've got to prepare. At least, this is what I'd been [rightly] led to expect. For years I heard the tales of these mythical restaurants where succulent morsels of meat are in infinite supply, a buffet on steroids, a carnivore's ideal restaurant.


Finally gathering the courage to give one a try, we figured Avondale's Espeto seemed like a good place for our first experience. If you get there during the daylight and are fortunate enough to get seated alongside the large windows, the view of the water is quite nice and looks particularly glorious during colorful sunset.


The salad bar is quite delicious. There are a few real treats like the spinach-strawberry salad (a favorite of mine, I must have eaten a couple pounds of it), Waldorf salad, and a mango salad. If you just eat the salad bar there's still a hefty $19 charge but, even so, I'd seriously consider going back for some more of those three aforementioned delights.


But really, if you're going to a Brazilian Steakhouse and you're not a vegetarian who has been reluctantly dragged along by her husband, you're probably interested in the endless meat. When you sign up for the Full Service Rodizio you're given a coaster sized card. One side is green and says "Yes Please" while the other side is red and reads "No Thanks". Initially this doesn't seem too important but when the meat starts flowing you'll quickly learn the value of this little token. Men with large knives and even larger slabs of meat are constantly stopping by to offer you a slice of any one of fourteen different cuts of meat. I tried to sample them all but it became a bit too much. My favorites would probably be the Rib Eye, juicy and full of flavor, and the Leg of Lamb, because I do love lamb, particularly when there's a little bit of charring involved.


The wait staff and the Gauchos were all incredibly friendly. But considering the size and razor sharpness of the knives they were wielding, I can't help but think that there may have been something a little sinister behind those smiles.

Ultimately, after what was certainly far too much food, I succumbed to the inevitable meat overload. Defeated, I flipped my card from the green to red side both in the physical sense and in a metaphorical sense as it pertains to my life in general. The food was great and the experience unique but due to the insane amounts of meat I consumed I vowed to seriously limit my meat intake; reverting to vegetarianism not seeming like such a strange idea anymore. I picked up my plate and went back for some more of the spinach and strawberry salad, a wonderful dessert and the shape of my future diet.

Espeto Brazilian Steak House on Urbanspoon

Espeto Brazilian Steak House
4000 Saint Johns Ave Ste 40
Jacksonville, FL 32205
(904) 388-4884

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