It seems as if most people have dined at a Brazilian steakhouse at least once in their lives. Whether they were on vacation or celebrating a special occasion, it appeared majority of the people I talked to had crossed it off their bucket lists. For a lover of food like myself, it might come as a surprise that until recently I had never had the pleasure of eating at a Brazilian steakhouse before. That all changed last night.
Sidney and I celebrated our two year anniversary of being together by dining at Rioz, a Myrtle Beach Brazilian steakhouse that has a superb reputation in an area boasting one of the highest restaurants per capita ratios in the world. Both of us had wanted to eat at Rioz for a while so last night’s occasion provided the perfect opportunity.
For those who don’t know, a Brazilian steakhouse is a restaurant that provides diners with unlimited cuts of various meats. Employees walk from table to table with big skewers of different types of beef, pork, chicken, and lamb. The restaurant personnel know to approach your table by looking at a card. If you have it flipped to the green side, the meat offerings will come; if you have it flipped to the red side, you will be left alone.
Actually though, the meat gorging is just one part of the experience. Let me now specifically tell you about the special meal Sid and I had at Rioz…
The place is supposed to be almost impossible to get a table at without waiting a couple hours. Because it was a Monday night, we were seated immediately. Our server greeted us as we sat down. As he gave us the “ground rules” of how the restaurant worked, a basket of rolls appeared between us. It would be like that the whole night…while you have a head server, a large team of restaurant employees take care of you, often working so efficiently that you don’t even notice them.
After the introduction, we went to the salad bar. At Rioz, as I am told is the same with other Brazilian steakhouses, the salad bar is outrageous. You just don’t have the freshest veggies, dressings, bacon, and croutons tempting you. Rather, you have items that make it more like a buffet than a salad bar. Fruits, cheeses, soups, potatoes, pasta, breads, noodles, sushi, beans, and so much more are available to enjoy. The price includes unlimited trips.
Even though throughout the day I told myself not to load up at the salad bar so I could maximize my meat intake, I still put too much on my plate. It was all good though because it tasted excellent.
Sidney and I finished our salads (and other items) and then bravely turned our cards from red to green. It was kind of a bizarre moment. I was expecting to be inundated with employees putting their skewers under our noses but there was a calm before the storm. It took a few minutes for us to be worked into the meat rotation. During this time, we were brought over mashed potatoes and served fried bananas and polenta.
Then the meat started coming. Each particular employee would come over and announce what was on the skewer and then it was up to us to either say “yes please” or “no thank you.” Before I knew it, I had top sirloin, filet mignon, and parmesan crusted pork loin on my plate. Okay, hold up.
Sidney and I turned our card back to red and started to really dig in. Drinks were refilled promptly and more mashed potatoes were brought to our table. We took time to really enjoy what was on our plate and I even tried Sidney’s lamb. We were already full after that first round but we knew we had to make ourselves vulnerable to the Rioz wait staff once again. The card went from red to green and the men with skewers returned.
This time around I found my plate topped with bacon wrapped chicken, bacon wrapped beef tenderloin, and more top sirloin. Sidney gave me most of her garlic steak as well. We ate this round much more slowly and although I considered turning the card back around one final time for possibly one more cut of meat, I thought better of it.
However, we couldn’t properly celebrate our anniversary without getting dessert. The staff could sense we were finished and they elegantly cleaned off our table and the young lady with the dessert cart appeared. After tossing around many options, we settled on splitting the crème brulee.
You might be curious about pricing. The meal was worth the triple digit figure I was originally presented with but because of an outstanding 50% off buffet coupon that Sidney’s mom gave us, it was a real bargain at just $61. Great food, great service, and a great experience.
Although I am craving the Rioz meats as I type this, I think it might be a while until we go back. Why? Because I really think my body needs all the time it can get to work off the million calories I consumed. However, I thoroughly enjoyed each one. Don’t Blink.