Into The Fire

roosterHungry eaters looking to satisfy a fix for fire-kissed meat should follow their nose to Mineola’s Churrasqueira Bairrada, at Jericho Turnpike and Willis Avenue. Around the corner at the restaurant’s rear entrance, the robust aroma of wood-charcoal fueled flames entice, enrapture and enliven the senses—to the point where only succulence will satiate.

The main draw to this authentic Portuguese restaurant is the all-you-can-eat Rodizio—a carnivore’s dream that sends skewers around the eatery slicing a parade of primal, including sirloin, bacon-wrapped turkey, spare ribs, short ribs, pork loin, chicken drumsticks, tender beef cubes and a dizzying array of fresh sausages. The march of meats only stops when the eater, testing the limits of their waistband, waves the white flag in full surrender.

Dining
Bairrada puts flame to food with garlic shrimp, steaks, kabobs and more.

All the while, Bairrada provides delectable side dishes, including the unmatched, homemade potato chips from the authentic briquette-fired grill. The often long weekend wait time for a table will be well worth it when you are finally rolled out of the restaurant.

Although the Rodizio is Bairrada’s main draw, the restaurant’s regular menu is just as hearty and packed with an intense selection of entrées. The Frango de Churrasco, or grilled chicken, offers the distinct flavor of fire-roasted bird. The whole chicken is butterflied open and marinated in Bairrada’s proprietary blend that includes garlic and butter. The chicken spins on a rotating spit, absorbing all that love from the fire. The result is juicy meat wrapped in crisp skin.

009For eaters looking for a variety of meats in one dish, look no further than the Espetada Mista, or grilled mixed shish kabob. This lineup features perfectly medium-rare beef cubes, pork medallions and a mix of sausages, along with peppers, onions and grilled vegetables. Other meat dishes worth reaching for are the Costela de Porco, or grilled spare ribs, and that event of a dish, the Leitao Bairrada, a suckling pig prepared Bairrada style. Only served on the weekends, this dish is like manna from heaven.

Dining_Bairrada_NewPhotonewBairrada goes beyond the land and also pulls delectable fare from the sea. The Camarao ao alho, or garlic shrimp, is wonderfully pungent and features tantalizing shrimp swimming in a heady garlic butter sauce. For eaters who like their foods from head to fish tail, Bairrada boasts a grilled whole Bronzini. Other seafood options include grilled salmon, swordfish and Camarao Tigre, or grilled tiger shrimp.

Bringing all of these dishes together is Bairrada’s house-made, fierce hot sauce. Available for purchase on the restaurant’s website, Mr. Rodizio’s Hot Sauce is a screaming concoction of exotic peppers with chunky seeds swimming in devilish hot oil. The sauce is made with piri piri, or African bird’s eye chili, and should be applied with caution.

017After consuming all that meat, fish and fire, it is wise to close the meal with dessert—if only to take the edge off. Bairrada offers a caramel custard flan, chocolate mousse and rice pudding, but the most popular dessert is the Natas-do-Ceu, or Heavenly Whites. The typical Portuguese dessert layers heavy cream, sugar and egg whites with crushed, vanilla-flavored biscuits, topped with whipped cream. This luscious dessert is the perfect pillow to rest upon at the end of Bairrada’s unbridled cuisine.

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Churrasqueira Bairrada Restaurant, 144 Jericho Tpke., Mineola; 516-739-3856; info@churrasqueira.com; www.churrasqueira.com.

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Steve Mosco
Steve Mosco, the former editor-in-chief at Anton Media Group, is a columnist for Long Island Weekly's food and sports sections. He fancies himself a tastemaker, food influencer and king of all eaters.

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