Thursday, April 21, 2011

Review: Midwest Grill, Cambridge, MA

Any fans of Brazilian food out there?  If you love Brazilian cuisine like I do (I even lived there for a bit over a year), and are a meat eater, then you need to make a trip to Midwest Grill ( It's located in Inman Square, Cambridge, MA. 

The restaurant features grilled meats, which are a specialty in the southern part of Brazil.  Churrascaria is akin to Argentine, Uruguayan and Chilean asado.  Different cuts of meat (sirloin, various sausages, chicken wrapped in scallops, chicken wings, pork, beef short ribs, lamb, chicken hearts, etc.) are put on a spit and roasted over an open flame. A waiter comes around with individual spits and you decide whether you want the meat being offered.  If you do, then the waiter cuts it, you put on your plate with the tongs provided, and voila!  You can dig in.  What makes the grilled meats work is their quality.  I sampled the sirloin and the beef short ribs, both of which were very, very tender and flavorful.  The sausages were packed with good seasonings

While the meats are the centerpiece of this orgy of carnivorous delights, don't forget the sides!  Midwest Grill features a good selection.  There's white rice, and a saffron rice with vegetables.   Black beans cooked with various cuts of pork (think feijoada, Brazil's national dish) are available, as is cassava, fried sweet plantain, cabbage, fried chicken wings and fried fish.  There's also a cold salad bar that featured beets, shredded carrots, tomatoes, lettuce and cucumber. There were olives, cheese, and various salad dressings. 

I'm often wary of buffets, for obvious reasons.  Often, the food is not fresh, dries out, and loses flavor.  Not so with Midwest Grill. I took note of the fact that the staff routinely changed the dishes, so that the food was always fresh.

I should point out that the restaurant features other fishes as well, including moqueca, a regional fish stew associated with Bahia made with tomatoes, garlic and spices.  There's also a shrimp stew and sauteed shrimp. I've had the moqueca at Midwest.  It's good, but not great.  Maybe I'm being unfair, since my point of comparison is moqueca made in Salvador's most authentic restaurants. 

The group that I went to dinner with decided to share dessert.  We had flan.  It wasn't the best flan I've had, but it was decent.

The great food was accompanied by an acoustic guitar player, who serenaded us with classic Brazilian bossa nova. music. 

I highly recommend Midwest Grill!

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