Secret Tips On Getting The Most From Your Brazilian Steakhouse Experience
My teenager is a churrascaria superfan. Sebastian watches and re-watches YouTube videos and dips deep into Reddit forums to understand the secret handshakes and pro tips that get you the most bang from your Brazilian beefhouse experience.
In celebration of Sebastian’s high school graduation and college acceptances, we took our beloved carnivore to the newest outpost of H&H Steakhouse in Beverly Hills (the other location is downtown Los Angeles) to eat magnificent cuts of meat brought to the table by grinning “gauchos” bearing long skewers of barbecued boeuf.
Our kid stepped in with advice right away, so I thought I’d share the intel. These meals are not cheap but Sebastian’s insights on where to pace yourself and where to go “whole cow” helped make it one of the best meat-sweats nights in a very long time.
H&H boldly calls itself L.A.’s “only authentic Brazilian churrascaria,” and I see where the claim can be made. The house specialty is grassfed, organic meat and A5 wagyu along with an organic all-you-can-eat (but-don’t-go-there-yet, according to my son) salad bar. Brazilian entrepreneur and restarateur Henrique Huyer launched the downtown location in late 2019, and we all know what happened to restaurants after that. Huyer pivoted with an outdoor patio space that he built himself, and H&H was the only restaurant on the block that pushed through the pandemic without closing. Which is significant, since Bottega Louie and Little Sister are on the same block.
In April, Huyer opened the Beverly Hills spot, and it’s essentially a churrasco cathedral. The space sprawls across 7,000-square-feet and multiple dining rooms in a ground floor corner of the Beverly Center. And though it was nearly empty when we arrived at seven p.m., the place soon got swarmed by happy-looking groups of 8s and 10s and 12s—and mostly all men. I started calling them “wolfpacks,” as in, “whoa, another wolfpack! Let’s hit the salad bar.”
But Sebastian shot me a look that said, “Sit back and worry not, for you are about to learn the ways of the churrascaria elite.” Here’s what he shared over the course of course after course after course to get the most of the ‘unlimited’ $63.95 per person meat menu:
- Start at the Bar: The salad bar is your starting point “but it’s a trap,” Sebastian tells us. “Only eat the vegetables. Avoid the stuff soaked in oil. Avoid the sugar-coated bacon. Skip the hot foods. Don’t eat the feijoida even though it looks amazing. And don’t even think about rice.” In other words, carbs and other calorie carriers will crush you this early in the game. Keep your eyes on the prize of the frenzied table service to come.
- Avoid Temptation: “You’re hungry. I get it,” Sebastian tells us, as the server delivers side dishes of mashed potatoes, polenta, golden bananas, and spaghetti to the table. The cheese bread is really hard to resist but you must if you’re keen on sampling all the meat. A few bites here and there are fine but in general “chill rather than fill,” he says.
- Take Five: The meats come fast and furious. With your table coaster flipped to the green YES side, the gauchos know you’re ready to go. There will be 16 meat choices in all. Sebastian advises us to say yes to the first five — in our case, Maminha (Prime Tri-Tip), Garlic Beef (Fresh Garlic Coulotte), Costela ( Beef Ribs), Filet Mignon (Tenderloin) and Ribeye (Prime rib). “Then flip to STOP and wait,” he says. We do as we’re told.
- Yes, No, Yes, No: The meat is phenomenal but after five cuts, it’s time to start pacing. Sebastian recommends an every-other-meat approach, and it works out beautifully. This gives us time to savor. You can always ask the gauchos to come back with specific requests.
- Know What’s Great: No matter where you’re eating churrasco, certain cuts are the must-say-yes orders. Above all is Picanha (Prime Coulotte aka rump roast), which is tender and succulent. The filet mignon is an easy yes, too. Bacon Wrapped Chicken is an unexpected joy. And the Pork Ribs (Baby Back Ribs) are spectacular. The most surprising favorite? Get ready for it…It wasn’t meat at all but rather grilled organic pineapple roasted with cinnamon and brown sugar. I kid you not, it was worth the trip to H&H just to experience this sweet tangy goodness of that grilled fruit of the gods.
- Go Micro: Even with our tactical approach, we were all impossibly stuffed a dozen rounds in. That’s part of the fun. You can switch to a one-bite regimen if you simply want to sample all the flavors but are feeling too full. I mean, how could you not at least try the Lamb Leg (Lamb steak) or the Brazilian Sausage? Or another round of 21-day marinated chicken drumsticks? Or that pineapple? Bring back the pineapple!
- Skip Dessert: We made it through the entire lineup. Bravo, Hochman family! Sixteen cuts of fabulous beef and then some. Around the room, we saw various wolfpacks pushing on to the molten chocolate lava cake and other finishing sweets but we were definitely done. You have to know when to quit, right? Sebastian nodded to let us know we’d done well, and also that the meal had come to an end. But the night still had some life in it, apparently. As we exited H&H, happy and satisfied, Sebastian winked at us with one last pro tip: “We’re stopping for ice cream on the way home.”