Review: At Texas de Brazil, it’s the smorgasbord of meat that’s drawing a crowd

At Texas de Brazil, the city’s first Brazilian steakhouse in the Capitol District, I can say one thing for sure: the meat just never stops coming. 

During my two recent experiences at the downtown spot, which opened in October and has been much talked about since, I found that meat, when cooked to the medium rare promised at arrival, can be quite delicious, well executed and wonderfully seasoned. The salad bar is fun. So are the caipirinhas, the official drink of Brazil. I could eat a dozen little rounds of the Brazilian cheese bread by myself, I’m sure.

But — you knew there was going to be one — I had some challenges, too. Though I liked the majority of the restaurant’s meat, some arrived well-done. Service can be spotty and slow. And in spite of each diner having a little sign to advise the meat carvers when they’d like a break, we never got one.

The Texas-based chain restaurant has numerous locations across the United States, as well as in Mexico, South Korea and Dubai; in short, this isn’t a mom-and-pop shop. Rather, it’s a giant restaurant chain, and the experience, at times, feels like it. 

The lights are bright inside the dining room, which can be packed to the gills, like it was the first evening we tried it with another couple. The staff doesn’t seat your party until all guests have arrived, and both times we visited, our wait extended several minutes beyond the time our group arrived, even with a reservation. (I wouldn’t suggest going without a reservation. This is not a “wing it” kind of restaurant, at least not yet.)

The dining room at Texas de Brazil.

Once diners are seated, they are almost immediately invited to go to the salad bar. I’d heard about it before we went, but I have to say, it was one of my favorite parts of the experience. The lineup is vast and varied, and has some particularly interesting offerings, including a sweet, warm pineapple carpaccio; a great selection of briny, pickled vegetables; a tasty Brazilian vinaigrette packed with minced vegetables and corn; and a lovely selection of seafood, including lightly dressed cooked shrimp and smoked salmon. Matthew particularly enjoyed an herby couscous salad and I liked the colorful cuts of roasted jalapenos. 

There are, of course, also lots of traditional salad bar offerings: plenty of fresh greens, croutons, various house-made dressings, artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, Manchego, roasted garlic, green beans, asparagus, hearts of palm, olives, capers and bacon, among many other items. 

Texas de Brazil’s website advises that the salad bar selections change seasonally. I did send an email to their corporate headquarters to see if I could chat with someone for this story, but I did not receive a response before my deadline. 

I didn’t try the soup, though the lobster bisque seems popular, if the busy soup station adjacent to the salad bar was any indication. And I tried to keep my salads reasonably sized, though you can take and eat as much as you like, because I knew what was coming next: meat. 

Each diner receives a small round card at their seat. One side is red, the other is green. When you want meat, turn it to green. If you would like to pause, turn it to red. In theory, this should be an easy system. In practice, it didn’t work. 

Both times we visited, the moment we sat down with our salad plates — in one instance, before we even had a second plate for meat — the gauchos, who carve the meat, started asking us if we wanted any cuts. Mind you, all the cards at the table were turned to red. So we said no while we ate our salads. 

The stop and go cards at Texas de Brazil.

It’s a small complaint, I suppose, but also, if the carvers aren’t going to take note of the color of a table’s card, what’s the point of the card? With some training, I think this could be fixed, and it’d improve the customer experience, which can feel like a race to the finish once the meat service begins. 

The Filet at Texas de Brazil.

The meat can be absolutely delicious. There’s more than a dozen varieties, and the selections vary by evening. I found some favorites, including a wonderfully executed filet, which we received the second evening. I’d have asked for another slice, had I known how good it was going to be. 

Another favorite is the Picanha, a little-known cut here but one that’s popular in Brazil. Known as a rump cap or sirloin cap, the meat comes either plain or spiced and is ultra-flavorful. Ours, again, arrived cooked to a nice medium rare. The spice blend, heavy with garlic, is tasty.

Clockwise from left: Bacon wrapped filet, bacon wrapped chicken ribs and picanha.

The bacon-wrapped chicken breast and Parmesan crusted pork, two non-beef cuts the restaurant seems to always offer, are good, both juicy and flavorful. Ribs, covered in a sweet barbecue sauce, were tender one evening, but drier the next. A bite or two of roasted rack of lamb had plenty of flavor and a juicy finish. Little Brazilian sausages have a snappy casing and a spicy kick. A slab of New York Strip, cooked closer to medium, was one of Matthew’s favorites. 

As the dinner went on, I noticed that some of the meat — another slab of the Picanha, a bacon-wrapped filet — had cooked to a brown center instead of the pink center we’d tried earlier. This happened during both our visits, and I suspect it’s because as the carvers walk around with meat on long metal skewers, it continues to cook. So just note: some pieces of meat are going to be more well-done than others. Depending on what you like, that might be ok. 

Service outside of the gauchos can be spotty. At some points, even on a less busy evening, our server disappeared for long stretches, and we had to wait for things like side dishes and plates. I’d advise patience. 

Brazilan cheese bread, one of the complimentary side dishes.

Of the complimentary sides that come with the experience, the rounds of Brazilian cheese bread are easily my favorite, and I had a hard time stopping. They have a pleasant, crisp outer crust and a stretchy, cheesy center with a salty-savory flavor that is just outstanding. Also good: the sweet roasted plantains, which are caramelized and warm and have a pleasing texture and flavor just sweet enough to be a nice contrast to all the savory choices. 

Mashed potatoes, french fries and sweet plantains.

Mashed potatoes and French fries, the other two sides, were fine, but I simply didn’t have enough space in my stomach to enjoy them that much. 

All four of us liked the caipirinhas, which resemble a margarita, but are made with cachaça, which is Brazilian rum, and have a nice balance of sweet and tart. One of my friends, a sommelier, appreciated the Brazilian wine selections on the menu, and the one we tried, a dry red, paired wonderfully with all the meat.

The house caipirinha.

Of note is the price: Regular dinner, which includes the meat and salad service is $49.99 per person. The salad area only option is $29.99. For the price, a diner that eats a lot can certainly get their money’s worth. But with cocktails and a tip, the experience can get expensive. Our second visit, with two diners each having one drink and adding a 20 percent tip, stretched to nearly $150. 

I like that Omaha now has a Brazilian steakhouse; it’s long been a hole in our city’s restaurant offerings, and I like that much of what I tried, meat especially, arrived well seasoned, medium rare and flavorful. But I think the restaurant needs to work on its service, and I wish the atmosphere could be a bit more inviting and a bit less “chain restaurant” feeling. 

Will I return? Probably. Texas de Brazil is certain to remain a dining destination, and with time, and some training, the stumbles we saw could be solved to make the experience live up to its much-discussed menu.

Texas de Brazil

1110 Capitol Ave.
https://texasdebrazil.com/locations/omaha/
402-783-8777
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Saturday 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Sunday 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

26 responses to “Review: At Texas de Brazil, it’s the smorgasbord of meat that’s drawing a crowd”

  1. Renee Shaw Avatar
    Renee Shaw

    My husband myself and my son have been there at least three to four times these little complaints that the writer of the story complained about to me seem so petty compared to the whole experience

    1. CYNTHIA ANDERSON Avatar
      CYNTHIA ANDERSON

      It seems she was simply reviewing the good and the bad.

      1. Grebel Avatar
        Grebel

        There are better rodizios in Miami that don’t cost as much. I was there this week and will never return

    2. Karen Avatar
      Karen

      We went this weekend. If you go again don’t skip the lobster bisque. We went to the one in Denver and the lighting was not overly bright. The staff was fun to watch in the kitchen. We did not have overly cooked meat. But I did think I eyed a sizable pile of rejects in the kitchen. It was my niece first birthday and this was the adults after party treat. The waitress brought her a free creme bruelle and they wrote happy birthday on the plate. That was so cute. The lamb never made it our way. We finally had to request and once we did they brought every selection of lamb. My first taste of lamb. I think the bread has an in house yeast. It has an extra cheesy flavor but I think that’s the active yeast. I was really impressed with the one in Denver and will probably take on Detroit too. Lots of fun. No way you’ll walk away full. However, the meat is very very salty so I wouldn’t choose meat if you have a restricted diet. Half our party chose salad bar only. Easily you could make a meal off the salad bar. It was fun. Highly recommend for special occasions or even a date night if you want to spend the rest of the night nursing a full belly.

    3. David Urrea Avatar
      David Urrea

      Rene, you are so correct , to be honest I’ve been going for many years , visited many of there locations across the U.S. & have rarely experienced any of his complaints

  2. Nicole Jones Avatar
    Nicole Jones

    I went there for a 15 year old birthday dinner. It was a total of 18 people and Everything was good until the end. When my ticket came I begin to pay it and the waiter suggested the minimum 18% I told him I would leave tip on table this man decided if I wasn’t paying the 18% I could not leave and demanded me to pay 68.45 the tip was not included in my tab for the haters who thinking it was. Management had to come and discovered that I had paid to much money and the tip was not included!! It was the worse!! That waiter made me look broke and trying to skip out. I was so embarrassed!! Never again!!

    1. Marcia L Mcfarland Avatar
      Marcia L Mcfarland

      Most restaraunts with parties over 6 (the number varies) have their own policy of including a 20 % tip in the bill.

      1. Jesus A Gutierrez Avatar
        Jesus A Gutierrez

        We when to the one in downtown Detroit on Saturday there was nine of us and she didn’t included the tip on the bill,good experience loved it

    2. Pp Avatar
      Pp

      If you decide to take that many people and refuse to leave a suggested tip it may be better to cook yourself it simply is unacceptable not to pay at least the recommended tip had an experience with that many people or 25% tip should have been mandatory and certainly encouraged

  3. Vikki Avatar
    Vikki

    Went 2 times just to be sure….we will not go again….deceptive …extra charges for anything…you don’t realize till the bill arrives…dessert is extra..nothing special but cost $16.50…I had a coupon for the dessert..and it was our anniversary….I did not notice until 2 days later…on multiple calls and messages left at the Tacoma restaurant..the manager finally answered said the money would be refunded…nothing yet after a month…im tired of dealing with it….oh..and knock off the ” would you like sparking water, still water or unfiltered tap water?”….I chose still water…we got 2 blue bottles of water..no idea how much..they don’t say…but an additional $16 to the bill….we had 4 total in our party…
    18% gratuity is added but the little hand held device I had to sign gave us option to give more..I did..I raised it to 20%…and they immediately cleared our tables ..including the water glasses and napkins…no time to relax or chat if you dont order drinks…they want you out! there is much better steak at Harbor Lights or El Gaucho or 13 Coins…and it’s cheaper than this debacle….

    1. Veruca Avatar
      Veruca

      I can actually understand the “They want you out fast” because it is eat all you can style right ? They need more people to survive the business. After covid i am baffled that people couldn’t understand that businesses struggled for a long time and they need to pay Loans and Rents to keep their business. Eat all you can is not a traditional restaurant. And even traditional restaurants, specially mom and pops has been closing everywhere.

  4. Mark Ruckman Avatar

    Never been there before

  5. Cynthia Avatar
    Cynthia

    We celebrate our anniversary every year for the last 6 years at Texas De Brazil in Tampa, FL & have love it. So off we go again this year to celebrate our 43rd anniversary with friends. The salad bar & the hot bar was fantastic as usual. But we all were very disappointed in how we were receiving the meats. We were offered sausage & chicken several times, we were offered lamb chops once & had 1 slice of a beef roast. The servers bringing out the other meat kept going down the right side of the dinning room & never came down our side. If we asked to get any of it we were told it would brought to us. Which it never did. We were there for 2.5-3 hours & never had all of the meats that were advertised. Sadly we have decided to change where we celebrate our anniversary. Good bye Texas De Brazil!!

  6. José Mora Avatar

    My wife and I visited Texas de Brazil on Friday for our anniversary.
    The meat and salad bar where amazing.
    Specially the lobster bisque soup. Delicious.

  7. Stuart Siegel Avatar
    Stuart Siegel

    I’m not a stranger to Texas de Brazil since dining in Dallas, Texas, about twenty years ago. For the past several years I’ve dined in the Tampa, Florida location . Even dined there this evening (7/9) with friends. The experience and service has deteriorated. The place is crowded and noisy. Food and service was average at best. Our table felt rushed. Lastly , I don’t appreciate being told what I should leave as a tip!!!! I will be rethinking my future visits…. as all good things come to an end.

  8. Darlene Finnega Avatar
    Darlene Finnega

    Had a wonderful time meat kepted coming looking down at my plate I always had at least 4-5 meats on it at all times
    The guys that kepted the meat coming we great too
    Waitress was very nice and always had a smile
    We thought the dessert was included in the price 1600 something was priced high but omg soooooo great
    Salad bar was unbelievable good
    Soup was outstanding but it was liquid only. Maybe that’s how they eat it but it had a wonderful taste
    We will go back again but only a one e a year thing
    Went with out son and his girlfriend.
    Had a wonderful time
    You walk away full and if you don’t it’s your own fault
    Next time my husband and I will spilt a dessert big pieces

  9. James Nevill Avatar

    I went to my first TDB over 15 years ago, and the service is always the same at this & similar places. Love the food but the waiters play favorites; just because your guy is serving the next table filet, don’t hold your breath. It’s possible you’ll have little selection, with same cuts appearing often. We waited for grilled pineapple over 45 minutes before giving up once. So yeah, patience is gonna be tested here.

  10. Richard Bolden Avatar
    Richard Bolden

    Great food, plenty of it. It’s just keep coming, and the staff is very good. I goes there twice a month. The one in Fairfax and Richmond, Virginia. I love this place.

  11. Robin elsarif Avatar
    Robin elsarif

    In Miami it’s hard to get a second piece of beef they just brush you off the next server the next server and you never get served no denial that their meat is so delicious it feels like you’re having an orgasm in your mouth hahaha

  12. Robin elsarif Avatar
    Robin elsarif

    They need to serve your meat more than once

  13. Margaret A Avatar
    Margaret A

    Food was good. But the women’s bathroom was horrible. Someone must have threw up on the floor in front of the stool ir it could have been something else. Another toilet was leaking water on the floor. Just a dirty bathroom. They should gave someone check it every 1/2 hours. Will not go back

  14. Michael Chavez Avatar
    Michael Chavez

    Well worth the money and bring a big appetite. Don’t go for the twist off bottle of wine they are featuring but maybe be another South American bottle like a Melbec or bolder a Cabernet or a Merlot. My bill was $220 all in for two people.

  15. Monica Hayes Avatar
    Monica Hayes

    I have been there many times !!! Love it !! The food is so tasty !! And the service is great!!

  16. David Urrea Avatar
    David Urrea

    I have visited 13 of there locations several times across the U.S. & each visit has been very pleasant , the Gauchos are always pleasant , courteous & fast with there service

  17. Bruce Wayne Avatar
    Bruce Wayne

    So I guess this place is only for rich people? 2 adults and six kids would def be a no then correct? Any other good steak houses out there for the middle class?

  18. malena Parmley Avatar
    malena Parmley

    My Husband and I took our Daughter to the Lexington Location for her college graduation on May 3 2024. The very first time going for both of us. The food was delicious although did not personally care much for the Salad Bar. I would recommend this restaurant for a special occasion only and I would recommend drinking water although we got tea and skip the desert. For the 3 of us including desert (which we were told was complimentary per our Waiter, then we were charged 12.00) without a tip was $211.00.

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