For a meat feast, check out Brasil BBQ
Located in the OSH shopping center, Brasil BBQ is run by the husband and wife team of Anthony and Cristina Fara and has been serving Petaluma a plethora of grilled meat meals since 2015. Their specialty is Rodizio, which is a Brazilian staple and is basically an all-you-can-eat steakhouse.
Servers rotate around the tables with skewers of everything from garlic steak to parmesan pork loin to bacon wrapped chicken. Diners simply tell the server when to stop carving and can then enjoy that dish while they await the arrival of the next meat. This meal also includes a fairly hearty salad bar.
Other standard entrées include burgers, sandwiches and traditional dishes like Brazilian Gumbo, Spicy Garlic Prawns, and a traditional Brazilian pork and black bean stew called Fejoada.
I first discovered Brasil BBQ in late 2015 when I noticed the owner’s name popping up repeatedly in their online reviews.
For all the pitfalls of review sites, I have found one truth across them all. When the owner’s name pops up repeatedly, there is a good chance you are dealing with a family oriented restaurant.
When restaurant owners take the time to meet their customers, table by table, you know you are going to have a great dining experience.
Cristina grew up on a dairy and okra farm in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais and moved to Philadelphia at age 18, where she would meet and marry husband Anthony. When I interviewed Cristina for the Argus-Courier back in early 2016, she told me that Petaluma’s down-home vibe is exactly what she and husband Anthony were looking for when they decided to open a restaurant of their own.
“I like family care,” Cristina said with a heavy Brazilian accent. “I want to feed people like they are in my own kitchen at home. I want to visit all the tables; so I can meet the people and make sure they are happy. I can answer questions about my food and help them figure out what to order if they have allergies. Things like that. Just like I do with family.”
Knowing we had a BBQ of our own planned for later in the evening, we did not opt for my favorite, the Rodizio, but instead ordered three entrées from the main lunch menu. The Barbacoa Brisket and Garlic Marinated Sirloin were both perfectly prepared and as with most of Brasil BBQ’s dishes, came with sides of rice, black beans and some fruit, like fried plantains or pineapple, both of which are big in Brazilian cuisine.
Other available sides include garlic fries with Parmesan, shaved collard greens, fried polenta strips, Brazilian cheese bread and okra with cherry tomatoes. The meats were juicy, tender and flavorful, just as we have come to expect from Cristina’s kitchen.
The final dish was a bit of an outlier in that we do not normally order fish when there is so much meat available. However, we have come to learn that Brasil BBQ always turns out surprisingly good fish dishes.
It was this order of a Crispy Fish Sandwich that actually triggered the idea to write a restaurant revisit piece on Brasil BBQ. It was not my order, but as each of us shared a few bites and then rotated plates, it became apparent that the crispy fish was leading the polls.
I was the last to try it and was a bit skeptical because the brisket and sirloin I had just tried were so good. Much to my surprise, the fish sandwich was the winner by far. The fish was perfectly seasoned, cooked and crisped and the bread could not have been better suited to this sandwich.
I always mention in passing to those that ask about Brasil BBQ that they make great fish dishes but this sandwich has changed my tune. I would recommend them to anyone look specifically for a great fish lunch or dinner.
Although not what Americans would traditionally think of as barbecue, Brasil BBQ has added a sweet meaty diversity to Petaluma’s food scene that is not only welcome, but much appreciated.
This is a county of immigrants, and Cristina is doing a wonderful job of continuing our proud tradition of coming to the U.S. for a better life and contributing to our community.
So, Cristina, please keep doing what you do. You are now part of what makes Petaluma feel like home.