Bacon-wrapped sirloin and chicken breast are among the 15 styles of meat to try at Fumaça Gaucha • Courtesy photo
Fumaça Gaucha isn’t just a Brazilian steakhouse; it’s truly a food experience. When I sat down, a tablecloth was draped over the seat my purse was in so nothing got spilled on it. I was served a house wine that perfectly complemented all the meats I was going to experience. I was greeted by an amazingly friendly waiter. I was ready to have all my dinner needs tended to – all for under $40.
Located on Austin’s east side, the restaurant is easily accessible from downtown and Austin Bergstrom Airport. Opening in early 2017, Fumaça Gaucha brings southern Brazilian cooking to Austin with 15 different cuts of meat from beef and chicken to pork and lamb.
The salad bar is full and inviting. With fresh vegetables, sharp imported cheeses, and curated meats, Fumaça Gaucha has a fully loaded salad bar ready to whet your appetite (or to balance out the succulent meats they offer).
Like most Brazilian steakhouses, you’re given a coaster-sized card when you sit down – red on one side, green on the other. Leave it flipped to the green side to have servers come by to offer you meat. Turn it to red if you need a break and the servers don’t stop by. But at green, the procession begins. The servers, clad in white coats, come walking through with long skewers of delicious smelling meat for you. They present and, if you’re interested, they ask which part of the meat you’d like. Grab your tongs and take the piece off as they slice it next to you.
Fumaça Gaucha offers a myriad of meat to try. The signature cut, picanha, is prime top sirloin available in garlic or spicy and is one of the most tender and flavorful pieces of meat I’ve ever had. They also offer rib-eye, beef ribs and filet mignon to round out their beef offerings along with a cut of bottom sirloin called fraldinha. The lamb chops are served with a perfectly balanced mint sauce for dipping, if you are so inclined. Their linguica is a pork sausage with the perfect blend of spice. If you need to take a break from all the beef and go for chicken, they serve both chicken legs and moist chicken breast called frango.
While all the dishes seem to send you into a meat tailspin as they bring them around, the servers are excellent and explain exactly what each cut is on their skewer so you can decide if you’d like a slice. If whatever they have now isn’t what you want, don’t worry – they’ll be back around quickly with a different option. There is no chance of leaving here hungry!
To accompany the meat and the salad bar, they serve several sides that are just as good as the meat. Rice, beans, and mashed potatoes came out, but the moment I was waiting for was next: caramelized bananas and hot cheese rolls. I have a friend from Brazil that surprises me with Brazilian hot cheese rolls on occasion. I enjoy them on their own, but when the savory rolls are complemented by the succulent meat, it’s a real adventure.
Fumaça Gaucha is open for lunch and dinner, Monday through Sunday with special pricing on Sundays. They are also offering daily happy hour on the patio with discounted drinks and plated meals.