First Bite: Casa Do Brasil Opens In Houston
Casa Do Brasil recently opened in the Galleria area at 2800 Sage, providing Houstonians a new place to get their churrascaria (Brazilian steakhouse) fix. It fills the plaza’s end cap and shares the center with sushi bar Sage 400 and The Burger Palace. The original location opened in College Station in 2017 and the new location retains the same diverse menu as the original, as well as a welcoming atmosphere and exceptional hospitality.
We were invited for a pre-opening media tasting. The extensive menu includes a salad and appetizer bar, more than a dozen grilled meat options, refined desserts, cocktails, wines and, of course, non-alcoholic drinks. Diners can choose the all-you-can-eat salad bar, sides and meats for $37 at lunch and $52 at dinner. Those satisfied to only select from the extensive choices on the salad bar only pay $25 at lunch and $30 at dinner.
For most, however, the main draw of churrascarias are the all-you-can-eat meat selections, served rodízio — the style of service when waiters roam from table to table with big skewers of meat. The menu lists 11 options, but including special off-menu selections, on any given day there could be closer to 15. There is something for every meat-eater’s taste, including 60-day aged prime beef, lamb, chicken and pork.
Casa Do Brasil has all of the best-loved churrascaria cuts, such as picanha, or grilled top sirloin cap, which is cut thinly from the serving skewer and allowed to land onto diners’ plates. The leg of lamb was an immediate favorite. It was well-cooked, rich and paired beautifully with all three sauces: chimichurri, jalapeño, and mint jelly.
Another standout was the beef rib, which servers carry into the dining room on a massive cutting board. It fills the room with the unmistakable aroma of cooked beef long before it arrives at the table. Although Casa do Brasil’s focus is indisputably on red meat, the chicken is notable, too. Ours was well-seasoned, tender and available with or without a bacon wrapping. Both were juicy and immensely flavorful.
One kink during this pre-opening dinner: several of the pork items were prohibitively salty. Despite being otherwise properly cooked, we struggled to finish any of these cuts. Hopefully, this just an early issue the kitchen is working out and not a long-term problem.
The salad bar is a beloved staple of Brazilian steakhouses and the one at Casa Do Brasil does not disappoint. As is the case for most churrascarias, it offers much more than only mixed salads, also showcasing a wide array of cold vegetables and meats, cheeses and classic side dishes such as rice and feijoada (black bean stew). Standouts include smoked salmon and Red Pepper Candied Bacon. The salmon maintained its soft texture and vibrant color, with a slight hint of smoky flavor; it was accompanied by a caper station. The bacon was crisp and slightly sweet with a mild bite of heat.
The current dessert menu contains eight items that each hit around the $10 mark, with more planned. Must-haves include tiramisu, flan and triple chocolate mousse, but the real showstopper is the tres leches cake. At Casa Do Brasil, the cake is served in a bowl and nearly submerged in the traditional trio of milks — cream, sweetened condensed and evaporated and flavored with a hint of vanilla. It is topped with a thick coat of whipped cream and finished with crunchy dark- and white-chocolate candy beads.
The beverage selection covers every base. The diverse cocktail menu includes two signature non-alcoholic drinks — one is Brazilian Limonade — for $4.50. It’s made with lemonade and a dollop of condensed milk for a hint of creaminess. There is also a section dedicated to the caipirinha, one of Brazil’s most classic and well-known cocktails. The house caipirinha is $10 and may be slightly too sweet for aficionados, as the sugar hides many of the funkier notes that the base spirit, cachaça, has to offer. For mezcal lovers, the restaurant has a $12 cocktail called Pineapple Express, which balances the smoky mezcal with pineapple juice, habanero bitters and black peppercorn. There are also red, white and sparkling wines available by the glass or bottle. Glasses range from $10 to $25, while bottles are $35 to $90.
Service & Setting
During this invitation-only event, the service was impeccable — and hopefully something all customers will experience. There was a seemingly endless number of servers, each dressed in traditional upscale gaucho garb of thick, grey, button-up shirts and black pants accessorized with leather boots, belt and a red scarf. The sheer volume and flow of these servers can come across as intimidating, but the restaurant has an entire crew of customer service representatives who are friendly and well-educated on all of the restaurant’s offerings. The representative is like a concierge to a brand new city, turning a potentially daunting experience into a pleasant evening of relaxation and eating.
The setting is memorable, too. There is a main dining room, u-shaped bar and plenty of spaces for private gatherings complete with projectors for special events. A defining feature is the 22-foot tall wall of wine that separates the main space from the bar. In the dining room, the tables provide an upscale vibe with white tablecloths and comfortable, upholstered chairs. The latter are particularly nice considering that it is easy to spend a few hours tasting and sipping away the evening. Honeycomb-shaped light fixtures brighten the room and add visual interest that draw the eyes upward. Outside, there is a long, narrow patio that offers additional seating.
If you want to check out Casa Do Brasil, reservations can be made on the website or OpenTable. The restaurant is open daily, serving lunch Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and Saturday from noon to 2:30. Hours for dinner service are Monday through Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m., Friday from 5 to 10:30 p.m., Saturday from 4 to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 5 to 9 p.m. Casa Do Brasil also hosts brunch on Sunday from 11:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. and happy hour is 4 to 7 p.m. daily.