Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Eating off the Hill: Birthday dinner at CopaCabana Brazilian Steakhouse

 I haven't gotten to experience it much -- only twice on work trips in my last career to San Francisco and Las Vegas -- but I'm a big fan of Brazilian-style steak, aka rodizio.

Basically, it's a fixed price (excluding drinks) for all of the meat and other sides (to tempt you away from the meat) and the highlight being they bring around the meat on giant swords and carve off what you want at your table.

Rodizio requires careful strategy. First of all, come hungry. Skip lunch for sure. Also, don't be tempted by the cheap, empty sides like bread -- these are just designed to fill you up with cheap carbs and keep you away from the pricy, delicious, expensive meat. The first round through I try a little bit of all the meats. After that I get selective, only opting for my favourites until I'm full.

I'd never gotten to try it in Canada before, but the stars aligned last February when I was in Toronto for my birthday and I secured a reservation at CopaCabana Brazilian Steakhouse, on Eglinton just East of Yonge Street. 

It was a Saturday night and it was busy, but as mentioned I did have a reservation. That still meant a 30 minute wait standing in a crowded restaurant after our reserved time. It was rather stressful, not what you want on your birthday, as there was no lighty thing or text when your table was ready. They would call you but it was impossible to hear. When parties of the same size who arrived after be began to be seated, I inquired again and was seated immediately in an unspoken sheepish admission they had forgotten me.

We were seated, reminded of the time limit, and sat. And sat. And sat. Swords of meat being served all around us but consciously bypassing our table. After about 20 minutes of increasing frustration, we were asked if we wanted some sides and sauces. 

They had a variety of interesting sides. from salads to roasted vegetables to sauces like chimichurri. However, what we ordered and what we actually got seemed to be hit or miss -- many orders just never materialized.

Finally, we were added as a meat sword stop and we could begin with the mains. Some of my favourites were the prime rib with cheddar, parmesan filet mignon, and garlic sirloin steal. The roasted pineapple was also a nice pallet cleanser.

Also throughout the evening there would be entertainment with singers and fire dancers. For a Saturday night dinner, the total before taxes, tip and drinks was $85/person. 

How does that compare to simply going out to a steakhouse for dinner? Well, you get more variety and a show. But it was also crowded and hectic, and a much more stressful experience than a typical classy steakhouse. It felt like people were hovering over you all night waiting for table. I still like the rodizio experience I had in the US, but next birthday in Canada I think I will go traditional steakhouse. Or at least not back to Copa.

Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers

No comments: