May 3, 2007

Brazil Grill (1201 SW 12th Ave)

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This year for my company's goals, we set a theme of The Amazing Race. For each goal that we accomplish each quarter, we get a certain number of miles to get to our quarterly destination. (I know what you are thinking and we thought of it before The Office did.) Our first destination was Rio de Janiero. Since we accomplished our first quarter goals, we planned a Brazilian party for our employees with music and Brazilian-ish food. This was my first encounter with Brazil Grill.

Their website says that they do catering. Perfect. I called to find out the specifics. A lunch. In Canby. For 80-90 people. Sample menu? No. You have to tell us what food you want. And it's going to be expensive, he said. At LEAST $28.95 a head, just as if you came to the restaurant. Well, could you give me some ideas of what kind of food you could serve? No. Look at our website or come in for dinner, then you tell us what you want. And we don't have people to come around with the meat like they do in the restaurant. It would be in serving dishes. Well I kind of expected that. After 10 minutes of going around with the "catering" (and I use that term loosely) person, who clearly was not into catering to his customer, I called it quits and told him thanks anyway. Thriftway did a great job for us.

My friend Tina's birthday was on Tuesday, May 1st and her choice of celebration was Brazil Grill. I was excited to see what the $28.95 flat price for dinner would get us. They open at five. We got there around 6:30. The salad bar looked good from afar, but as I got closer, saw that everything had been sitting out for a while - it all had that slightly darker film on top that comes from not being covered or stirred for at least several hours. I took some caesar salad and some black beans. The beans were actually pretty good.

The gregarious servers brought around rounds of meat - a lot at first. Bacon wrapped chicken, bacon wrapped filet mignon, ham, sausage, chicken hearts. Then after about 20 minutes, the so called unlimited meat stopped. Are you serving the mustard beef tonight? One of my friends asked of two different servers. Yes, they assured us, we'll send some right out. We never saw it.

The roasted pineapple was good. I asked the server what was on the pineapple. He said cinnamon and brown sugar and then told me that I couldn't prepare it at home, unless my oven got up to 750 degrees and unless I could continuously rotate the pineapple while it was cooking. Is that a dare?

I'm really not sure where the evening went. By the time we left, it was 9:30. The service was excruciatingly slow. It took 20-30 minutes for our desserts to come out. The waitress refilled our water glasses only a couple of times and never asked me if I wanted a refill on my soda. The restaurant was not that busy. Half full at most. But the waitresses and servers could not keep up a good standard of service.

The food was okay, but by the time we paid for dinner and a couple of desserts, it ended up being $38 a person, including tip. The food was not $40 food. I don't even know if it was $20 food. With service that bad and a crusty salad bar, I would estimate the value at being a $10 all you can eat buffet. Izzy's? Maybe just one step up from that. Old Country Buffet. Yes, I think that's a match.