Churrascaria Plataforma, New York

I first discovered Plataforma back in 1999. They had already been around for 3 years by then. I was watching some restaurant review show on The Food Network and they had a piece on Plataforma. I was on the Atkins diet at the time and this seemed like the perfect place to go to. It was fortunate timing because if I wasn’t doing Atkins I would never have thought about going here. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been here, atleast 40 times is my guess. To say I like this place is a real understatement.

Plataforma is a brazilian rodizio which is really a steakhouse where servers bring out large cooked cuts of meat on skewers and slice pieces for you at the table. It’s prix fixed at around $50 per person. They have 2 locations in NYC, a midtown location and another in Tribeca. I go to the midtown location because that’s where I’ve always gone. Why mess with perfection.

The midtown location is a huge space and always full for dinner. Reservations are highly recommended. I would also recommend that you go hungry, very hungry. You start with the salad bar, but this is no ordinary salad bar. It has vegetables, sushi, shrimp, risotto, cheeses, cooked fish in sauce, grilled octopus, etc., etc., etc. The salad bar itself is worth the price of admission, but be careful. Be very selective and don’t take much because you need to stay hungry for the main attraction.

Before the main course starts arriving a waiter brings over the sides including onion rings, broccoli, mashed potato, fried plantains and cheesy dough balls. These are just amazingly good. You signify that you are ready for the main course to start arriving by turning a disc over from red to green. Turning it to green brings the onslaught of different types of meat. You usually start with chicken and sausage and then progressively move on to the better cuts of meat. Prime rib, top sirloin, lamb, pork loin, sirloin wrapped in bacon, rib eye, short ribs, etc., etc., etc. The better cuts usually come later so don’t fill up on the early options. You can say no to any cut. They also have salmon but I’ve never tried it. You surrender by turning the disc over to red again and the food stops coming.

The meat is basically marinated in salt and nothing else. It is cooked by the server bringing it out to you. There is a pecking order – the more experienced servers get to work the more expensive cuts.

For drinks, I would recommed the caiparinha which is basically crushed lime, sugar and a brazilian liquor. The wine list is really good and has plenty of options and a broad range of prices.

Desserts are good, if you have any room left but are a surcharge.

This is a great place for large groups. I have come here with clients, work colleagues and friends. It’s definately an experience and a lot of fun. I’ve even taken vegetarians here and as long as they are not squimish about looking at meat then they will find more then enough at the salad bar to be satisfied.

Plataforma is the best of the different rodizio’s I have tried. One last word of advice. Drink lots of water with dinner otherwise you’ll feel dehydrated from all the salt on the meat.

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