Monday, February 18, 2013

Cheap Desserts at Boteco Brasil

Boteco Brasil on Urbanspoon A Brazilian restaurant full of Brazilians (or at least Latin Americans) is a pretty promising sign that what they serve is authentic or at least close enough.

People talk about authentic cultural cuisine like it is some sort of prized experience if you are not in the correct country (like Brazilian food in Canada, for example), but I've long since given up on looking for authenticity. I just want tasty. So I'm not going to review Boteco Brasil based on votes of confidence in their authenticity. Instead, I'll just talk about my experience there and of what I ate.

If authentic Brazilian fare is important to you, I'm sure there's no shortage of patrons at Boteco Brasil who can give you an expert opinion (er, well, maybe if you chat them up outside the restaurant -- who would be so rude as to diss the food right inside the restaurant?). A lot of them look like they are teen ESL students, and there's no shortage of cute girls too.

The restaurant is sort of tight, and looks rather dilapidated on the inside. At 6.45pm it was still pretty quiet inside, but all the tables were reserved and not too long after, the restaurant was full, with a couple of people squeezing in near the bar and I think a few turned away for lack of seating. Around that time, they also turned on the music and so loudly that we were having a hard time hearing each other across the table. No live music that night but I understand that it is even louder.

The online menu does not reflect some of the items now no longer available due to a lack of popularity, such as the vegetarian lasagne, and in any case it isn't the final menu that you will see in the restaurant. Most of the items are available, but if there's something you absolutely want (especially if it is vegetarian), you might want to call first. You can also expect the price to be about $0 to $2 more than the sample online menu.

Pao de Queijo ($5)
  • Cheese "bread" balls. Very chewy on the inside and looks like it was undercooked, but it seems that is how this stuff turns out because it uses tapioca flour.
  • 3 balls, each slightly larger than a ping pong ball -- at $5, this works out to over $1 per ball!
  • Salty, possibly because of the cheese. Served with salted butter. Not overly salty, but enough to whet your appetite.
  • Tasty and fun to eat if you like salty snacks and chewy stuff, but the price is a bit steep.
  • They will sell it to you uncooked and oven-ready if you like. Same price.
Strogonoff de Frango ($12) - Chicken Stroganoff
  • Recommended by a friend who'd been here before. Basically chicken chunks in bright yellow sauce, served with rice, token salad, and crunchy deep-fried shredded onion.
  • This tasted okay to me, but nothing to write home about. Though one of my dining companions said she really liked it.
  • The portion is actually quite filling as you get basically a small bowl of rice plus maybe the same amount or slightly more chicken. It just looks smaller than it is because of the plating. At $12 it's okay, but I think there are probably more interesting and tastier things you can get for $12.
Feijoada Brasileira ($14?) black bean stew
  • Had just a bite of this from my friend's order.
  • Served with a bowl of rice and token salad.
  • You get a biggish bowl of stew. It's watery as stews go, but dense with beans so it's not like a soup. Overall, this is a very filling meal.
  • The stew itself was really quite tasty. The predominant smell and flavour here was beef, so it's like a beefy bean stew. More interesting and flavourful than my chicken strogonoff.
Boplo Prestigio ($4) chocolate cake with a coconut and milk cream filling, covered with brigadeiro
  • On the menu it's described as a rich chocolate cake, Brasilian-style. Can't argue with cultural norms, but compared to other chocolate cakes I've had, this one is pretty tame in the richness of its chocolatey-ness.
  • At $4, it's probably the cheapest slab of chocolate cake I've had in a restaurant. Not the largest, but not a stingy skinny wedge either. This is a decently sized slice, and quite tall.
  • The style of cake and the cream outside is very different for what you normally get around these parts, so it's worth a bite if you're curious.
Brigadeiro ($1 per ball) chocolate fudge
  • Each ball is slightly smaller than a ping pong ball.
  • Chewy, sort of like toffee, but less tough and not so sticky that it persistently and irritatingly sticks to your molars.
  • Really very tasty, and at just $1 there's no harm in trying it. Fairly easy to cut a chunk off it to share.
Beijinho ($1 per ball) chewy condensed milk candy
  • Similar in idea to the brigadeiro, but tasted of coconut and condensed milk. No chocolate here. Same chewiness.
  • Pretty tasty, but I still prefer the chocolate one better (maybe because there's chocolate!).
  • Don't remember any clove stuck into it. I don't think people would have eaten the clove anyway, to be honest.
Pudim Leite Moca ($4) condensed milk crème caramel (flan)
  • Seemed a bit firmer as flans go, but basically a sweet and tasty dessert. Nothing too special here.
  • Good-sized portion for just $4.

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