A primer on Brazilian food in [Long Branch, NJ]


#1

Second to Newark, Long Branch is known for its Brazilian community, and thus a variety of Brazilian eateries.

There are cafés and bakeries, fast-food and snack spots or “salgadinhos”, buffets, and of course rodizios.

At many of these locations, you could even just stop in for a fresh fruit smoothie or an acai bowl. Why anyone would pay twice the price for an acai bowl or smoothie in Pier Village or on Brighton Ave. mystifies me.

In the following post, I’ll attempt to list and describe every Brazilian restaurant I’ve encountered in Long Branch.

Cafés, Bakeries, Snack Spots:

Busy Bee Roasters & Coffee Shop

Busy Bee is a newly opened Brazilian coffee shop and lunch shack attached to a gas station on route 36. Upon walking in you’ll find that it’s no normal gas station convenience store.

When you first enter, you’ll find a variety of coffee cannisters on your right. They roast their own coffee beans in-house and their Brazil blend is quite delicious.

In addition, they have long wooden tables for dining in. On the back wall of the store you’ll find the inviting pastry and deli section with a menu above.

Here, they’ll carry a variety of salgados (Brazilian snacks) such as coxinhas (chicken/beef croquettes), pastels (empanadas), and pao de queijo (fresh baked cheese bread).

In addition, it’s a full bakery, so there will also be many sweets to choose from such as sonhos (dreams) custard cream buns and brigadeiros (chocolate truffles)!

There is also a grill area here where you can order sandwiches, burgers, and even typical Brazilian dishes.

From all of the Brazilian cafes and bakeries I’ve visited, I would likely recommend Busy Bee Roasters the highest for their pastries and breads. Whenever you visit a bakery, of course, the most important indicator of taste is often how fresh the bread is.

You don’t want to have to visit a bakery when they open super early in the morning to get the freshest product. Because Busy Bee Roasters is attached to a gas station, it gets a pretty busy influx of people, and therefore they are constantly putting out new product, which means you get a warm roll of pao de queijo!

Beach Point Cafe

Located at 615 Broadway, Beach Point Cafe is a small cafe and restaurant on the corner that has changed both name and ownership over the years. (Previous names of it being Pezao Cafe, Oba Oba Bakery & Lanchonete).

I visited in the morning and was surprised to see an interesting set-up. You walk in, and there’s a buffet section on the right of the restaurant. It’s not all-you-can-eat, but each item is labeled by price.

They have a ton of salgados, or fried snacks, such as pastels (empanadas), pamhonas (Brazilian tamales), puff pastries, pao de queijo (cheese bread), coxinhas (chicken/beef croquettes), and more.

I actually found the selections in quality and taste to be quite mediocre, and would recommend Busy Bee Roasters over it.

Bom de Mais

I’ve mentioned this place once before on the forums here: Bom de Mais [Long Branch, NJ]

http://bomdemaisluncheonette.com/

Bom de Mais is a lunch shack on Broadway that has a pretty extensive menu from Brazilian-style pizza, to burgers, sandwiches, pastels, and more.

I’ve frequented them a bunch, and they seem to be one of the busiest spots among locals for good reason.

They have a sign outside that dubs themselves a “Pasteleria,” which rings true. They do have a huge selection of pastels to choose from.

In the morning they offer a selection of coxinhas, fresh bread, and other typical salgados such as kibbeh. They also have a juicer and make a variety of fresh juices and smoothies.

Rodizio & Buffets:

Sabor do Brasil

Sabor has been covered on Sabor Long Branch NJ

The skinny is that Sabor is a pay-by-the-plate rodizio and buffet located on Brighton Ave. They have a pretty vast selection of meats and I mean vast, as well as Brazilian specialties on their salad bar.

Their selections vary by day, but they usually have some mix of: sirloin, skirt steak, picanha (top sirloin), chicken legs, beef sausage, chicken sausage, pork ribs, beef ribs, chicken hearts, garlic steak.

My favorites from their grill would be their picanha, skirt steak, and chicken hearts.

Sabor is definitely my top pick of Brazilian steakhouses in Long Branch.

They also have a seperate a la carte menu as well as several delectable desserts to choose from such as tres leche cake, chocolate cake, mango mousse, flan, and more.

Rodeio Grill

Located on Oceanport Ave, Rodeio Grill is another Brazilian rodizio steakhouse. I’ve never personally been to Rodeio, but I believe it’s been written about on the forums before.

The difference between here and Sabor is that they serve table-side rodizio. The comparisons are that their selection in meats and salad bar are a tad inferior to Sabor as well.

Sousa’s Grill

Sousa’s Grill is found on Broadway, and advertises itself as “O rei da Picanha” or King of Steaks. However, from what I saw, they offer buffet-style dining but without an accompanying rodizio or steak.

Their selections were filled with typical Brazilian dishes, such as feijoda (the national dish of Brazil - a bean stew with sausage, chicharon, and other fatty meats), Brazilian potato salad, yucca, hearts of palm, etc.

Their meat selections consisted of chicken legs and ribs, but lacking a steak component, I would be hard-pressed to visit here again over Sabor or Rodeio.


Coffee Shops [New Jersey]
#2

A short summation of my favorites being:

Sabor do Brasil - their rodizio, of course!
Busy Bee Roasters - Brazilian coffee, pao de queijo, chicken coxinhas, basically any of their baked goods.
Bom de Mais - their sandwiches/burgers, their pastels (empanadas), their fruit smoothies.


(David) #3

There is this place I always pass as I cross Broadway to get to Ada’s called Por Do Sol? I think. A friend of mine says he eats and drinks there and watches soccer.

Also, Bom de Mais is that place near Freddie’s by Bath?


#4

Por Do Sol Sports Bar is more of a Portuguese/Spanish restaurant and bar, that often has live music as well and is a good spot for soccer games, for sure.

Their menu consists of typical dinner items that you’d find in Portugal (prawns, codfish, sauteed clams and sausage, paella) although I have no doubt it’s popular among local Brazilians as well.

I didn’t include Portuguese restaurants and Churrasquerias, although there is some overlap between Portuguese and Brazilian, of course.

Bom de Mais is a few steps east of Freddie’s on Broadway.


(David) #5

Thanks for the tip. I can’t believe I never walked into Bom but I will next time I’m in town.


#6

Cool topic!

Just to note, rodeio has more selections when it comes to meat but yes, the sabor salad bar is bigger. This is what rodeio has:

Sausage
Chicken legs
Top sirloin
Skirt
Sirloin and garlic
Short ribs
Pork ribs
Pork loin
Roast beef
Brisket
Corned beef
Turkey wrapped in bacon
Filet wrapped in bacon
Lamb

I prefer the rodieo as I don’t eat salad when I hit up rodizio joints, they have a wider range of meats, and those piping hot fries out of the fryer are top notch. Both are good spots.


#7

Ah. I had that mixed up, then. Makes sense as it’s a slightly higher price tag I believe.

I like sabor just for the option of the by-the-pound to grab a small sampling of a few salad items/meats cheaply.


#8

Yeah I hear you. When I’m in the mood for brasilIan I go all out personally so I have a slightly different approach lol.

Any Intel on Mar belo? A while back my uncle said some guy was hammering down a ribeye for two on special. He said the guy looked pretty damn content.


#9

I’ve personally never been to Mar Belo, but my take is that it is very likely a great spot for Portuguese food in the area as well, given the community.

The menu is rather small, the prices a tad high, and sure, you could go to Newark and likely find better Portuguese, but I have been meaning to try Mar Belo myself. I’m also a bit biased as I recently booked a trip to Portugal in December.

Going all out on rodizio (at Fernandes 3) is actually what piqued my interest into South American cuisine, so I totally get that.


#10

Very nice. I’m sure you will have a blast! I’m planning a trip to the azores next summer to marlin fish. This summer it didnt pan out. Go big or go home lol.

I’m wondering if we should start an LB Mexican thread now that I think about it.

And yes, my goal is to find a place comparable to newark and I don’t mind paying a “beach tax” as it is a lot easier to get to LB than Newark for me. I’m also a huge Fernandes fan. I’ve been too both rodeio and F2 literally hundreds of times over the course of 15 years or so. I used to hit rodeio at least once a week back in early 2000s.


#11

Yeah, I was thinking the same. Walking down Broadway and seeing all the Mexican spots, it’s hard not to visualize a taco crawl.


#12

I was just editing my post as you responded. I think there is a direct correlation between how good the food is and how much English is spoken. Lol. The super good spots with no gringos seem to serve better food.


#13

Totally agree on that front. I look at the menus first and foremost and try to spot if it’s primarily English or not, and what kind of items they’re serving.

It’s kind of a slippery slope when it comes to my experience of frequenting restaurants in Elizabeth. The restaurants I like the most are the ones that are most likely to close down. Ones that speak little English / ones that are not catering to a wide audience outside of its community, and generally hole in the walls.

It’s why you’ll often see restaurants brand themselves as Latin American Fusion/International, and spend more money on marketing and interior decorating just to survive, but sometimes the food suffers because of it.

In the case of Mar Belo, it appears to be a good sign that they serve many traditional dishes that you’d find in Portugal (Pork and Clams Alentejana, bacalhau, tiger shrimp, etc.) but I’m guessing that Por do Sol is likely to be the “less gringo” location.


#14

I’m a huge fan of your e-town thread but I rarely get up there, so I can only vicariously live in that world lol

Tomorrow I’m heading to Blu grotto so I’ll post a report. @NotJrvedivici is a fan of rodizio and he might be at the game right now.


(Joon) #15

Awesome report as always GP. I am firmly team Sabor when it comes to local Brazilian and find it almost impossible to get away to try other places. Even when I go to extremely well regarded places like Fernandes, I find myself still preferring Sabor. Main reasons are: 1. I really don’t think any meat at a typical rodizio is worth consuming outside of picanha, skirt, and chicken hearts. 2. At Sabor you can request the guy pick the skewer with your desired doneness. No bullshit waiting around for the endless rotation of crap meats. 3. The great salad bar meat selection. Oxtails, short ribs, and pig parts in the feijoada are things I can’t live without now. Oxtails are 6-7$/lb at the market, here the food is 9$/lb so for me it’s just a deal I can’t refuse.

Mar Belo is the third incarnation of a restaurant that used to be on Ocean Ave. (Used to be Pearl of Lisbon/Pearl of the Sea) Personally, its current state is my least favorite, as they have gone upscale and trimmed some of the more interesting menu options. But they seem to be doing a really good job with their desired service and I’ve enjoyed most of my visits there.

As for Por Do Sol, it’s got a weird vibe and definitely not a gringo place. It’s a sports bar serving full price Portugese options. I’ve been there once and thought the food was just fine, but didn’t really enjoy the ambiance. They must be putting out some decent food considering how long they’ve been around now.


(Roland) #16

There is a new rodizio opening in Belmar at 1000 main where Waves was, drove by it yesterday but did not catch when it was opening


#17

Joon how much do you normally spend at sabor? I just feel bad spending that much on rice/sauces. I know it adds to my bill. When I think brasilian I usually want to pig out lol. I don’t go for a snack :wink:


(Joon) #18

I almost never go over 15 bucks. My strategy is to skip anything carby or heavy at the salad bar. My routine is to get a mountain of the shredded collards, a couple spoons of the jerkey yucca powder (I dip my chicken hearts in it), a little bit of the sauce from the chicken or beef stews over my collards, a piece or two of oxtail, a piece of fried pork belly, and a little bit of the salsa. A couple pieces of funky meat from the feijoada if they have it and just a taste of the beans. Oh and a few pieces of the pickled tiny peppers. The rest is all picanha/skirt/chicken heart. Maybe a couple artichokes or beets.

I think by weight about 80+% of my plate ends up being protein. Getting rice and shit like fruit is a total sucker’s play. :smiley:

I find that even if I really pig out I rarely go over the AYCE price. I guess that’s a part of the appeal for me - almost every Brazilian BBQ is AYCE so it becomes a mission to eat as much as you can. I like going here for a less committed “normal” meal in the 12-15$ range. It’s nice to leave a Brazilian BBQ without feeling like you need to throw up. :laughing:


#19

Love the yucca powder to soak up the meat juices!
I usually grab some okra, a plantain or two from the salad bar. Last time I went my plate was $15 with a chicken leg, picanha, and chicken hearts.


(Joon) #20

Oh yeah, I forgot about the plantains. Can’t go wrong with that. For some reason I never get the okra there. Perhaps I oughtta try.

My secret guilty favorite is the spaghetti. Something about cafeteria style spaghetti that’s been sitting in a tray just reminds me of old times.