On Monday, I headed over with a friend to Boizao, a newly opened Brazilian steakhouse on Boy Scout Blvd across from International Plaza and Bay Street. Last week I went to the opening of Boizao and was impressed. The food was great and the service tried to please. Of course, this was to be expected at a grand opening. I was interested in seeing how Boizao served ordinary customers for lunch.
If you're a true carnivore and haven't been to a Brazilian steakhouse before, you're missing out. Even if you're not a meat-eater, you're still missing out on a unique experience. Churrascarias generally include cold buffets with salads, cold meats and imported cheeses. The main attraction, though, is the large selection of all-you-care-to-eat cuts of meat served table side by gauchos (Brazilian cowboys). The gauchos keep serving you until you tell them to stop. In the case of Boizao, it features 14 different fire-roasted cuts (beef, lamb, pork, chicken, sausage).
I thought the food was equally as good on Monday as it was at the opening. My friend had never been to a Brazilian steakhouse before and was impressed by the selection of meats and the quantity of food. My favorite cuts at Boizao are the knock-out costela de cordeiro (lamb chops), filet mignon and the filet com bacon (bacon wrapped filet). Warm side dishes included with meal are fried bananas, cheese bread, and mashed potatoes. This is not a diet place. Yes, you can just do the buffet and stick to the salad items, but watching the gauchos walk by with their giant skewers of meat would be cruel.
Service was good. There was no shortage of different meats to choose from. The atmosphere is upscale without feeling stuffy. Price wise, Boizao certainly isn't cheap, but is priced similarly to other higher-end Brazilian steakhouses. Boizao's fixed price menu is $38.90 for dinner and $18.90 for lunch. Apparently, there is also a "light lunch" option for $12.90 that is available. Given the quantity and selection of high-quality meats, these are fair prices. I've eaten at one upscale Brazilian steakhouse before, Texas de Brazil, a chain which has a location on I-Drive in Orlando. This was a few years ago, but I thought Boizao compared quite favorably overall to my experience at Texas de Brazil.
Price-wise, this isn't normally a place I would stop into for lunch or even dinner, but for a nice night out and special occasions, this is a good choice for meat-lovers. The restaurant's location in the Westshore business district should play well with business groups. This is a big restaurant and needs to do volume. Two more casual Brazilian restaurants include Brasillia Grill on N. Armenia and Brasa Grill on Waters. I haven't been to either. So what's your favorite Brazilian restaurant in Tampa Bay and why?
Bottom-line: Boizao, an upscale Brazilian steakhouse, is a welcome addition to the Tampa dining scene. This place is great for meat-lovers, but the cold buffet has enough of a selection to be a meal in itself. With its upscale pricing, this is more of a place for special occasions and nice night outs.
Inspection Scorecard: Last Inspection: March 2007 violations - Critical (3), Non-Critical (1).