Espetus Churrascaria – San Mateo, CA

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For Alex’s 25th Birthday, we went to Espetus Churrascaria for dinner. EJ made reservations two weeks before for 5:30pm on a Thursday night. Seems early, but we work night shift, so it worked out perfectly with our schedules. This also seemed like a good time because when 6:30pm hit, a rush of people came in. I’m sure the rush will be worse on a weekend.

If you’re not familiar with Brazillian steakhouses, the usually have different cuts if meat on large swords, cooked on a grill, and the waiters walk around from table to table and cut slices for you. You can accept or decline as many or as little as you’d like.

Right when we sat down, one of the waiters brought an appetizer platter with cheese bread, fried plantains, and fried sweet potatoes. BEWARE: those are there to fill you up and prevent you from maximizing your meat-eating capabilities! Same goes for the salad bar! There were plenty of choices that I would have filled my plate up with at a normal buffet, but at a churrascaria, you come to for THE MEAT!

At this type of all-you-can-eat restaurant, they have a little contraption at each table with a spinning wheel that is half-Red/half-Green = stop/go = more meat/hold the meat. As we were all first-timers at this establishment, we anticipated that we could keep the wheel Green the whole time and just get the cuts of meat we like. What we didn’t anticipate is that we would want to TASTE everything!

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*TIP: EJ mentioned that for next time, we should get only two or three types of meats on our plate and then turn the wheel Red to have time to eat what was already on our plates. We had about four cuts of different meats on our plates at one time and when another waiter came around with sometime we liked, we were tempted to get a slice of that meat as well. And believe me that the waiters are not at all modest with their cuts. They give huge portions, and later in the meal, I started asking for “smaller pieces” to keep up. You can also request larger or more slices at any time.

My top favorite was garlic beef. I love garlic in general and the meat tasted like it was super-infused with flavor! It was also breaded with minced garlic that just added to the garlic intensity. And the meat was just so moist and it tasted amazing! Other ones I liked were the filet mignon (which also comes in a bacon-wrapped version) and parmesan pork. I also tried were the flap steak, top sirloin, bacon-wrapped filet mignon, beef rib, and some other ones I can’t remember.

EJ said he liked them all, Alex said his favorite was the parmesan pork. Regardless of the type of meat, everything was delicious! All meats were grilled perfectly and everything was so juicy! Maximum flavor in every bite.

Alex also tried to order a Dr Pepper, but they didn’t have that. The waiter suggested a Brazillian soda. Alex didn’t know what he was getting, but he said ‘Yes’ anyway. LOL. Anyway, it looked like a Canada Dry as the waiter approached, but it was called Guarana Antarctica. And keeping with the fancy decor, he brought it with a glass of ice with and orange slice. It was typically a soda, but nothing like I’ve ever tasted. Whatever flavor it was, it tasted even better when we mixed in the juice of the orange. I don’t usually drink soda, but if I saw it at the store, I think I would buy myself a can. It also reminded me of the sodas in Club Cool at Epcot from around the world that you can taste test. They should added this one to it also.

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When our wheel was turned Red as we ate, some waiters came up to our table to ask if we wanted to “request” specific meats. If I weren’t so full, I would’ve asked for more garlic beef, but I still had some on my plate. I didn’t know this before, but they will honor any requests you have on certain things you want to try again. (I completely forgot, but I saw pictures on Yelp of tiger prawns, and I didn’t get a chance to ask if they were offering it that night. We didn’t see any waiters with it.)

Towards the end of our meal, we gave up on the meats and opted for GRILLED PINEAPPLE! I have only been to one other Brazillian steakhouse in San Bruno, Cleo’s. Over there, their grilled pineapple was seasoned with cinnamon. We felt like that made a big difference. The cinnamon added a lot to the delicious pineapple flavor. But regardless of the lack of cinnamon, the grilled pineapple at Espetus still tasted awesome! It was warm and juicy as well! Maybe I should pack some lihing powder for the next time!

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When we looked like we were nearing a food coma, the manager came out with all the waiters and surprised Alex with ice cream in a waffle bowl. It had a candle and they sang to him as well! It was great! I’m glad I caught part of it on camera!

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I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate my brother’s birthday than with delicious foods. (We also celebrated his birthday at Cleo’s for his 21st, I believe.) When I asked him what he wanted and he said, “dinner,” I already knew what to suggest! I’m glad we all enjoyed a good meal out together and I only hope for the best things in life for my younger, but not so little, brother!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ALEX! We love you so much!

Happy Birthday, Alex!

If you’ve been to Espetus before, what was your favorite cut of meat? Or if you haven’t, what is your favorite Brazillian BBQ establishment? Tell me in the comments!

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