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We Need More Napkins

I eat, drink, cook and pour gnarly things, then share with the world.

By Justin Ludwig.

Brazilian barbecue has arrived on Saskatchewan’s mighty shores, and of course it had to land in smelly old Saskatoon, which doesn’t really deserve it given that the city is already blessed with a beautiful river and great live music venues and a bunch of pretty faces whose sordid backstories you don’t already know. Nonetheless, it’s probably for the best that Saboroso isn’t in my hometown as it remains a distant, special treat (and would probably shave years off my life if it was in closer proximity…)

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For those of you who don’t know the concept behind Brazilian barbecue (or Churrasco) it’s really tailor-made for us fat North Americans: a variety of meats - primarily beef - are seasoned and slow-roasted rotisserie-style over coals. The large skewers of juicy meat are then brought to your table one-by-one by a Gaucho (like the stud muffin pictured above) who slices chunks right onto your plate until you can’t stomach another bite.

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Saboroso offers a whopping 11 varieties of skewered decadence on its Radizio menu, including prime cuts of beef, chicken and lamb. There is bacon-wrapped sirloin, parmesan and bacon drenched pork and linguica sausage (all pictured above), among others as well. Every cut is so tender and, amazingly, cooked to perfection. I didn’t expect every variety to knock it out of the park but it really was a parade of bangers: crispy outer skin, tender medium-rare meat, and perfect seasoning every time. The beef tenderloin and the lamb were the absolute standouts, the latter of which being amongst the finest I’ve ever had. And I’m a serious lamb guy. I even lived in a barn with about a hundred head of sheep for six weeks when I was 18, sleeping every night on a bed I crudely assembled from the greasy wool lying all over the floor, but as Del Preston would say in Wayne’s World 2, that’s a whole other story all together…

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Now of course, there is more than meat on the menu. The “common area” (or “salad bar” as it’s been known to us for decades) offers a wide variety of dishes from cold salads and starches to soups and sauces. Their chimichurri was more of an herb chutney than the classic oil-based sauce, but that was a rare misstep for the restaurant. The majority of the sides were decent but not spectacular - of course you add them to your plate as a courtesy to your heart and only just nibble on them so as to not feel like a total carnivorous glutton.

It’s not the cheapest place to eat, but how could it be? For $34 a plate, I must have eaten 30 ounces of prime-cut meat. I have no idea how the profit margin works at a joint like this, especially given that our exhaustively attentive server told us that we were “small to average” eaters compared to Saboroso’s typical clientele. That may be a downside of bringing a concept like this to Saskatchewan, as your average customer is likely to make a point of consuming as much meat as is humanly possible to ensure they “get their money’s worth.” Not my problem however, I’m just here to eat, not buy shares.

By the end of this meal you are exhausted by meat consumption. Two hours later we arrived home in Regina, and I still felt like I’d just finished dinner ten minutes earlier. I didn’t eat red meat for several days after my visit, but it was well worth it. It’s an orgy of primal gastronomy. Now if only some fool would try to make this concept work with seafood…

Saboroso Brazilian Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

2 years ago