Texas de Brazil opens in the former Chevys at River Park
River Park’s latest restaurant is open for dinner.
Texas de Brazil serves churrasco, meats that are slow roasted on skewers over an open flame that can be seen from the dining room.
Gauchos — waiters dressed as Brazilian cowboys in loose pants and thick leather belts — bring the skewers to the tables to cut individual portions. Customers pull the cuts off with tongs. When they want more meat they place a green card on the table. When they want to take a break from eating, they flip to the red side.
The restaurant usually has about 15 kinds of meat on the menu, with some rotating options. They include: picanha (top sirloin), garlic picanha, braised beef ribs, pork loin, Brazilian sausages, chicken breast wrapped in bacon, Alcatra (Portuguese pot roast), lamb chops, leg of lamb, Parmesan-crusted pork loin, filet mignon, bacon-wrapped filet mignon, barbecue pork ribs and Parmesan chicken drumettes.
General manager Jamie-Lee Slaten said the picanha is the star of the menu.
“It’s Brazil’s most famous cut, very tender,” she said. “It has a ring of fat around it, so it’s well flavored. It melts in your mouth. It’s wonderful.”
Gauchos also bring fried bananas to the table, which are used to cleanse the palate, along with mashed potatoes and Brazilian bread.
Texas de Brazil also has an upscale salad area that includes 50 options like sushi, cold cuts, couscous and the more traditional salad options. It includes at least five hot dishes, like lobster bisque, potatoes au gratin and feijoada, a Brazilian black bean stew.
“You can absolutely make a meal just on that alone,” Slaten said.
Full dinners cost $44.99, which includes the meat and the salad area. The salad area alone costs $24.99. There are discounts for children that vary according to age.
Drinks and desserts cost extra. The restaurant has more than 100 wines and its bar specializes in the Brazilian cocktail caipirinha. It’s made with limes, sugar and cachaça, a Brazilian spirit made from sugar cane.
People familiar with the old Chevy’s might be shocked when they walk in the door. Walls have been torn out and the building has been transformed into a modern upscale place that you might associate more with Las Vegas than Fresno.
Although the giant flower arrangements over the salad area are standard at every restaurant, Fresno is the first to get a curved ceiling full of little lights and unique hanging lights.
Fresno is Texas de Brazil’s 58th location nationwide, with seven others outside the U.S. The company is based in Texas, with its name designed to reflect a blend of Southern hospitality and Brazilian barbecue.
The restaurant is open only for dinner now, though it may add lunch service next year. It’s open 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays and 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays.
For reservations: (559) 899-1900.