There are some places that transcend reality, places that are the legends that the legends aspire to be. Churrascaria Plataforma in New York City is one of these places.
You’ll probably want to watch this video to get a full idea of exactly what this place is.
Churrascaria Plataforma is located at 316 W 49th Street in the Theater District, specifically Hell’s Kitchen. It is supposedly the first Brazilian-style steakhouse; they opened in 1986. This type of restaurant has appeared all over. I’ve had experiences in my home city of Albany and on a cruise ship in the middle of the Caribbean. Both pale in comparison to Plataforma.
After a quick walk around NYC with my brother, The Fat Lantern, and our buddy Jeff. We reached Plataforma.
Just kidding. That place was just down the block from Plataforma. Everyone wants to be them.
We arrived about half an hour early for our reservations, so while we waited for some other dudes, we shared a pitcher of their house sangria ($36).
I gave the bartender a bit of the business when he pulled a pitcher of pre-cut fruit and juice, added ice, and dumped a bottle of red wine into it. I wanted to know what he was giving me. It turns out the previously formed pitcher had fresh juice, fresh fruit, brandy, and triple sec. This sangria was amazing. Even The Fat Lantern, who hates wine and pretty much any astringent alcoholic beverage, couldn’t find something to hate about this drink. Finishing the pitcher wasn’t an issue between the three of us. We did save a glass for another buddy.
While we were at the bar, the bartender gave us some finger foods, empanadillas and fried meatballs (just like our mom makes).
They were some tasty little bites, but we knew to not distract ourselves before the meat fest.
So we finally got seated, and they give us the standard button which is red on one side and green on the other.
By default, it’s turned to red, because they want you to go fill up on the starter bar, which is filled with a number of fixed, appetizer-style dishes. I took a plate to try some stuff, not a lot.
The gratin potatoes were excellent. It’s the only thing Jeff gets at the starter bar, and I can totally understand that. They’re creamy, cheesy and delicious.
Once everyone arrived, we flipped the damn button to green, which means “bring on the meat.”
I got a picture of the first guy who started bringing stuff around. He had chicken and pork sausages. They were moving so fast that I couldn’t get pictures of them with their meat swords and keep up with the people slicing stuff onto my plate after this point.
I tried a sausage and also took a piece of the fried polenta and fried banana they brought to the table.
I also got a nice piece of leg of lamb that some dude sliced onto my plate.
They also brought a plate of steamed broccoli, which nobody touched, and some rice, which also nobody touched. The distractions from the meat are pretty obvious.
What I was dying to try was the picañha, which is their specialty of the house. (You can see exactly what it is if you watch the damn video.) The guy with the picañha came around at the same time as the guy with the pork loin.
Both meats were cooked beautifully, and followed the trend of everything being salted just a little too much. The picañha was great. It’s really unlike any sirloin I’ve ever tried. Sirloin usually has a good chew to it; in this case, it ate almost like a ribeye. I loved it. And the pork loin was great too!
I tried a few other things, but the plates get dirtier and dirtier from here, and nobody wants to look at pictures of dirty plates any more.
One other thing that was outstanding was the bacon wrapped turkey. This was probably the most perfect bite of the night.
To settle my curiosity, I tried one of the grilled chicken hearts they were bringing around. It was cooked very well throughout, and was extremely salty. It was chewy and was kind of beefy, if that makes any sense. One of these was enough for me.
Dinner is $60 per person not including tax or tip, and that’s definitely steep. It’s NYC so the attraction of the whole thing lets them get away with prices like that. I’m not complaining about it, because I believe there are meals that are worth it, even if it’s expensive. This is that type of situation.
Early in the meal, I commented that I can’t believe the gall these people have rolling a dessert cart around after people eat. Then, I had the gall to actually order dessert off the cart.
I had coconut flan ($9). It was swimming in a thin caramel sauce and was stuffed with macerated dates. I loved it, and I found a way to finish the whole thing even though I was stuffed.
This was probably my best Brazilian style steakhouse experience to date. It didn’t come cheap, but the price was well worth the unforgettable experience!