Via Brasil Steakhouse1225 South Fort Apache Road, Las Vegas NV 89117
Serving meat in the traditional "Churrascaria" method perfected by centuries of Brazilian Gauchos, Via Brasil Steakhouse offers diners the chance to experience cuisine in a relaxed yet up-scale atmosphere. Try the Rodizio Dinner, an all-you-can eat affair that offers fourteen different kinds of meat, a gourmet salad bar with over thirty options and ten side dishes for only $44.99. Not in the mood for tantalizing Brazilian barbeque? Go with the Dinner Salad Bar for only $25.99. Cooked on individual rotisseries, each cut of meat is taken off the skewer and cut tableside, ensuring your cut is full of juice and flavor.
Bringing the Carnival to the Taste Buds
Review by TableAgent
When most people think of Brazil, they think of soccer, the Rio Carnival, supermodels, and perhaps jazz. When a food lover thinks of Brazil, the first thought that usually comes to mind is “beef.” And perhaps even “rodizio.” A rodizio is a traditional Brazilian price-fix restaurant concept that has taken the United States by storm, and for good reason. One of the best examples of a rodizio in Las Vegas is Via Brasil Steakhouse in Summerlin. Last year alone, Via Brasil beat out the high-dollar temples of beef on the Strip to win “Best of Las Vegas, 2010” and repeatedly earns four to five stars on leading review websites. Why? Their attention to detail contributes greatly to the restaurant’s success.
Located in West Summerlin, Via Brazil is approximately 20 minutes by car from the Strip, making it an ideal destination for Locals and a worthy trip for tourists. The restaurant is situated in a large commercial plaza, ensuring that parking is not a problem. Via Brasil entices guests even before they open the door. This is a smart looking restaurant that draws in the crowds with the smell of roasting meat.
Once inside, guests are treated to a fluid and organically designed dining area, filled with lush curves and subdued lighting. Mahogany woodwork and large arched windows combine with high ceilings to give a sense of spaciousness. Brazilian jazz, updated for the modern era, plays in the main dining room. In fact, we begin our meal to the sounds of Astrud Gilberto singing the classic jazz-samba song, Corcovado. While casual wear is welcome, this is the kind of venue where guests won’t feel out of place dressed more formally. Certainly, this is an ideal setting to host special occasions and business dinners.
Falling water is the dominant feature of the decor. Water cascades down entire walls and glides down the back of the bar, still showcasing the restaurant’s ample supply of whiskeys and spirits. The bar itself is made of black granite and houses some dozen Scotches, a baker’s-dozen of bourbons, and rows of tequilas, cognacs, and vodkas. Finding a good drink is not a problem at Via Brasil.
The wine collection may remind guests of other award-winning Las Vegas wine towers with its impressive selection stacked floor-to-ceiling. Via Brazil has some 1,200 bottles on display. The wine list contains many classic Italian barolos and Napa Valley cabernet sauvignons, with a good assortment of Spanish reds and whites as well as those from Veneto, Italy. France is also well represented, particularly with the châteauneuf-du-pape.
The Brazilian rodizio concept is simple – there are no menus. For about the same price as an entreé elsewhere, guests may sample as much as they’d like of 14 different grilled meats, 10 side dishes, and 30 salad, soup, and appetizer choices. There are even options to include wine and cocktails with the rodizio dinner. It is certainly an idea that meshes well with the Las Vegas “more is more” mentality. With so many fall-apart tender cuts of beef, pork, and poultry grilled on skewers over a wood fire, and carved table-side by an army of attentive servers, guests are encouraged to try it all and then revisit any dish.
In addition to their nightly dinner service, Lunch/Brunch is offered on Sundays, and is one of the best values in Las Vegas. The lunch menu is slightly smaller, but it is offered at a greatly-reduced price. This is an ideal way for those new to rodizio to try it.
We arrive on a cool Friday evening shortly after the restaurant opens, and already diners are being seated. After having a look around, we use an overview of the menu like a checklist and begin with the Soups, Salads, and Appetizers and proceed to have a small taste of all 30 items.
We start with small orders of the Parmesan Bread appetizers. More like a pâte à choux than bread, these are light and fluffy.
Although menu items change with the seasons, guests can expect to see these or similar dishes year round:
The Shrimp Ceviche is made simply with shrimp and a brunoise of peppers and onions, seasoned with sea salt and citrus juice. The citrus is mild, and the dish has been marinated just long enough for the citrus to work its magic on the fish and shellfish. It is as refreshing and lively as many ceviches I’ve had living in the Caribbean.
The Asparagus Risotto is one of the signature sides, and for good reason. The rice is creamy and full of asparagus flavor that comes from both the minced asparagus and the asparagus chicken broth used to build the risotto. Next to the risotto sits the ever popular Chicken Stroganoff: a light, salmon-colored sour cream sauce enveloping tender cuts of chicken breast.
The Baby Artichokes with Tomato Salsa pair wonderfully with four varieties of mushrooms. We are also served a Fish Stew of Mussels and Whitefish with peppers and onions, chilled Roasted Brussels Sprouts, and a Red Pepper Hummus with a bright pepper essence—the chefs at Via Brasil really know how to orchestrate the various pepper notes in dishes.
The servers then bring us an order of Salgadinhos. These are similar to petit empanadas filled with a puréed meat filling. The consistency of the pastry is very much like a beignet. These are served with a spicy pepper concoction called Malagueta sauce. The dish features chicken, lamb, pork and beef salgadinhos. All of them are unique and satisfying.
Carpaccio is one of my favorite dishes of all time and there it sits on the cold line, waiting to be dished up by the plateful. Via Brasil does this delicacy up right with the traditional preparation of paper-thin-cut beef tenderloin topped with shaved parmesan and capers. A vial of excellent olive oil is provided for drizzling. The loin, they say, is the same cut they use on the grill, and the flavor is pronounced.
The most anticipated dish of the evening is the Feijoada (fay-jwah-da). This dish is quite frankly Brazil in a bowl. The stew is made from black beans and cuts of pork slow simmered all day. It's a hearty, flavorful bean stew – it’s the Brazilian equivalent to French cassoulet or even Low Country Hoppin' John. Every cook in Brasil has a recipe for this meal and it’s one of the signature dishes of the country.
The showstopper of the Via Brazil Steakhouse rodizio meal is the grilled skewered meats. After explaining the purpose of the “red light, green light” coasters on the tables, the restaurant’s attentive crew of servers carve cut after cut of melt-in-the-mouth tender meat. Servers will indeed continue to serve guests freshly carved cuts of meat until they raise the red light coaster, signaling they’ve enjoyed enough.
First comes the Grilled Salmon in a papaya lime sauce. The sauce is thick and sweet, reminding me of a crème anglaise. It pairs expertly with the salmon. The salmon is cooked just until it’s done, so that the fish is still juicy with a firm texture. We also enjoy some of the fried yucca to complement this dish. The crisp yucca makes a delightful foil for the tender fish and creamy sauce.
The Parmesan Pork is another noteworthy meat specialty. The pork is marinated and seasoned aggressively with garlic, salt, and herbs. It is then dredged in parmesan cheese and grilled until just meltingly tender. The parmesan adheres to the cutlet, and the interplay between spices, cheese, and pork is reminiscent of the dishes of Parma, Italy.
Next up is the Prime Rib. The prime rib is marinated in butter, sea salt, and a little rosemary. As with all the grilled meats at Via Brasil, the beef is tender; luxuriant, even. We pair the prime rib with Garlic Mashed Potatoes. The mashed potatoes are thick and creamy, while boasting a hint of garlic flavor that is noticeable but not overpowering.
About this time, a server brings out something unexpected: a madeleine pan filled with Grilled Mozzarella. “Sure, why not!” We say. The grilled cheese goes quite nicely with the skewer of garlic bread, toasted over the fire that just came by. The grilled mozzarella is scooped onto the toasted bread -- the cheese is so deliciously hot it is still bubbling at this point. Once it cools down a little, we enjoy the cheese-covered garlic bread immensely.
Additionally, the servers offer us a sampling of an off-the-menu item. In our case, it is the Roasted Chicken Hearts. Chicken hearts are a delicacy in Brazil. And these are grilled until a crisp crust forms around the edges, with a slight mineral flavor that is iconic in organ meats. Consider yourself fortunate if chicken hearts make the rounds. They are a true delicacy and treat.
One of the most interesting flavors of the day comes from the Baby Back Ribs, which are grilled and covered with a coffee glaze. The glaze has a mole-like flavor, complete with chilies and the earthy component that coffee lends.
We enjoy both the Flank Steak and the Skirt Steak paired with chimichurri sauce and collard greens that have been quick sautéed with garlic. Accompanying the Skirt steak is perhaps the most unforgettable flavor of the day: Via Brasil’s specialty, Picanha, which is a Brazilian cut of top sirloin. Other cuts may be more tender, but the picanha has the most aggressive beef flavor. Via Brazil offers two versions of the picanha: Regular and Garlic Picanha, which boasts a strong garlic aroma. These are bites of unctuous goodness that pair well with anything.
After having a taste of each and every menu item, dessert is the last thing on our minds. However, the Brazilian Flan is there to be enjoyed after all, so we happily oblige. The custard is delicate yet firm, not threatening to collapse beneath the small-batch of caramel sauce. The rich flavor of the caramel sauce serves to heighten the slightly sweet essence of the custard.
Throughout the evening, the meats and sides just keep coming. The dining room is lively and fun. And that's what rodizio is about: friends, family, and fun. However similar it may be to a Las Vegas buffet, Via Brazil Steakhouse is a cut above. No matter the occasion – from business meetings to family celebrations to the occasional “I don’t feel like cooking” Night – Via Brasil exceeds expectations. For a perfectly reasonable price, guests can enjoy the best of Brazilian cuisine in an inspired setting.
Via Brasil features live samba dancers performing on the first weekend of each month, giving guests an even more authentic taste of Brazil.
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- Address: 1225 South Fort Apache Road, Las Vegas NV 89117
- Cross Street: West Charleston Blvd
- Location: Summerlin | Summerlin
- Cuisine: Bar-B-Q | Brazilian | Steak |
- Cost: | Inexpensive
- Category: Fine Dining
- Star Rating:
- Reservations: Unknown
- Dress Code: Business Casual
- Meals Served: Lunch | Dinner |
- Parking: None |
- Payment Options: VISA | Amex | MasterCard | Cash |
- Corkage Fee: N/A
- Website: http://www.viabrasilsteakhouse.com/
- Phone: (702) 804-1400
- Features: Full Bar, Sunday Brunch, All You Can Eat, Live Entertainment, Outdoor Seating, Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Happy Hours, Personal Wines Allowed, Lounge / Bar, Healthy Options,
- Occasion: Child Friendly, Romantic Dining, Dining Alone, Business Dining, Meet for a Drink, Quiet Conversation, Special Occasion, Trendy / Hip,