On Saturday I took my dive buddy to lunch for his birthday. He chose Brasa, the Brazilian steakhouse in Briar Creek. For those of you who have not been to one of these so-called Brazilian steakhouses, they are basically heaven for red-meat carnivores. Chicken and fish might appear on the extensive salad bar, but that's about it. Everything else is red, bleeding meat brought to the table on giant spears. They don't have menus. At Brasa there are three levels: $10 for the salad bar only, $18 for salad bar plus 5 types of meat, $23 for salad bar plus 9 types of meat.
Now, I'm as much of a carnivore as the next girl, but I am not such a fan of these places. I'd much rather have one steak that is done perfectly than all-you-can-eat piles of flesh. Might be a good place for people doing South Beach though, except all of the meat at Brasa was really fatty. I love a nicely marbled steak but I don't really want to see it dripping puddles of grease.
Chamas, at Brightleaf Square in Durham, offers higher quality meats that taste a lot better and don't have as much fat dripping off of them. Chamas also serves these yummy, cheesy popovers. Another good thing about Chamas is that they are easy to work with for event planning. I believe Chamas is locally owned, although I could be mistaken.
We had a good time at Brasa, but we were underwhelmed by the quality of food for the price of it. The best thing we had was yellow rice and black beans which my dive buddy does superbly in his own kitchen for a couple of bucks.
So the next time you want to please a meat and potatoes kind of person who does not like "frou frou food" as my dive buddy would say, take them to Chamas. But be warned, it will leave your wallet a lot lighter. For dinner the fixed menus is around $30/person. For the price, you could go to Rue Cler and order two steaks frites.