Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Eating Out: Silva's Fresh Eatery & Churrascaria

I'm a big fan of all-you-can-eat Brazilian BBQ, where meat is cooked churrasco style (Portuguese for barbecue) -- roasted and rotated over an open flame or oven. The best part about eating at a churrascaria are the waiters who walk around serving the meats on large skewers where they slice the meat directly onto your plate.

There are several popular options for Brazilian BBQ, most notably chain restaurant establishments such as Fogo de Chao and Texas de Brazil. The average cost is typically around $50-60 per person, so you really have to eat your money's worth of meat. A salad bar is also included in the price, which consists of an assortment of vegetable dishes, white rice, black beans, etc.

Located in Orange County, CA, Silva's recently opened as a churrascaria with a lower price point. $24.95 for lunch on weekdays, $29.95 for dinner and on weekends. The lower price comes with a caveat -- there is a limited selection of meats, and there are no waiters that come around directly to your table to slice the meat of your choice.

I tried all of the meats, and my favorite would have to be the picanha (pictured above), the sirloin cap which is the signature cut of meat for any and every Brazilian BBQ steakhouse. When cooked correctly, the outside crust should be perfectly salted and seasoned, while the inside meat is tender and juicy, cooked to a perfect medium rare. Silva's serves a good picanha.

However, the one carving station is a hindrance. The person at the helm is forced to walk back and forth from the oven to the cutting board, bringing different cuts of meat each time. If the customer wanted to try every single meat item on the board, that is a lot of time spent going back and forth. One can only imagine what it would be like if there was a long line of hungry patrons waiting for their turn -- especially when you know that this is an all-you-can-eat establishment. 

Silva's Fresh Eatery & Churrascaria
3672 S Bristol St
Santa Ana, CA 92704

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Eating Out: WR Kitchen & Bar by Wood Ranch

I had the opportunity to check out BBQ restaurant Wood Ranch's new fast casual dining concept WR Kitchen & Bar in Laguna Niguel -- located in Southern Orange County, California. Pick up the menu at the entrance, order at the bar, then pick up a pager and wait for the food to be delivered to your table. The interior atmosphere is beautiful but a bit on a darker side with dim lighting. The exposed ceiling wood beams and wood accents is a nice touch as well.

Most of the favorites from the Wood Ranch menu are available, along with the introduction of several new menu items like brisket caramel popcorn, crispy buffalo cauliflower, and a variety of tacos with a variety of protein. I especially liked the brisket tacos. The crispy buffalo cauliflower was very good, as well. The caramel popcorn could use more of the bits of brisket on top, however it is the perfect sweet and savory combo to complement a cold beer.

The meats are smoked then quickly seared the grill for more char flavor. Both the brisket and signature tri-tip had good flavor, but was a tad tough to chew. The baby back ribs were excellent and not overcooked, although the presentation left a lot to be desired. Based on the jagged edges of the rubs, it looked like the ribs were simply torn into apart by hand, or cut with a very blunt knife. 

WR Kitchen & Bar offers an a la carte menu, which provides the guest with more options to customize based on portion size or healthier alternatives. For example, instead of the corn tortillas for the tacos, you have the option of butter lettuce cups. Overall if you're looking for a casual spot to meet up with friends and co-workers to unwind over a few drinks and tasty bites, WR Kitchen & Bar should be near the top of your list.

WR Kitchen & Bar
28061 Greenfield Dr
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677