Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Tucanos Brazilian Grill

This spring the Upstate has gotten several new restaurants.  A few weeks ago, I got to try out Tucanos,  Greenville's first Brazilian Steakhouse.   Although I'd never been to any Brazilian steakhouses before, I was familiar with the concept.  Usually an all-you-can-eat experience with servers coming to your table with swordfulls of different cuts of meat, a pretty intense salad bar, and typically pretty pricey.  Tucanos fits that description pretty closely, but I was shocked when I saw the price points on their menu.  Lunch is priced at $16.95 and dinner is $23.95 per person for their all you can eat Churrasco menu.

When we arrived, we got to try out several of their Brazilian Lemonade recipes. The name is a little deceiving, we learned Brazilian lemonade is actually limeade because lemons aren't as readily available in Brazil.  It's made with sweetened condensed milk, so it's creamier than your typical limeade.  They also have several different flavors available, and offer free refills.

On to the food.  Our waiter made a really big deal about their salad bar, which they call the Salad Festival.  Not gonna lie, the food snob in me wanted to turn my nose up at anything called a Salad Festival.  I had flashbacks of a Big Red Boat vacation in the late 90's after hearing about this over the top salad bar.  But, with that said, everything I tried from the salad bar was really, really good.  

Shortly after we sat down with our salad plates, the waitstaff started their rounds to the tables with a variety of meats.   They came around with 15 different kinds of skewers; beef, pork, chicken, vegetables, and grilled pineapple.   

Everything was cooked to perfection and really tasty.  My favorites were the sweet and spicy chicken, the garlic parmesan beef, and I couldn't get enough of their grilled pineapple.  It could have just been the 9 month pregnant woman in me, but I couldn't get enough of that pineapple.  

At Tucanos, like any other Brazilian steakhouse, the waiters will keep coming with more and more meat selections, until you tell them to stop.  Each table has a cue, a little wooden figurine, with green on one side and red on the other.  If the green side is up meat keeps coming, if you need to take a break or you're done, you switch it to red and they'll stop.  That simple.

Once we were stuffed, we switched our cue to red, and to our surprise our waiter then came around with their desserts.  A tray full of humongous desserts that all looked and sounded phenomenal.    They're best known for the Mango Butter Cake, butter cake infused with mango puree served warm and topped with mango sorbet and diced mango.  

All in all we were really satisfied with our experience at Tucanos.  As a brand new restaurant, they really seem to have their stuff together.  They've brought waiters in from other locations around the country to help with the launch, which I really appreciate.  It's been my experience before that most restaurant openings are not the smoothest experiences.  Front of the house and back of the house staff are still learning, and the dining experience can be quite rocky.  But I loved that Tucanos really put the effort in to avoid that from happening.

There's definitely a learning curve to using the cue, we kept on forgetting if our cue was on red or green, and we were either overwhelmed by the amount of meat coming to the table, or searching for someone to bring more.  But, that was more user error than anything.  By the end of the night we definitely got the hang of it.

If you're interested in dining at Tucanos, I'd definitely recommend making  reservation.   It's located in Magnolia Park just off of Woodruff road.  That shopping center can be a little bit of a madhouse on the weekends, especially when a restaurant is new.  Tucanos gladly accepts reservations, so it's definitely worth it to call ahead.

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