Pleasant Hill or adjacent lunch options

Reposting a revised Brasas do Brazil/Concord:

Brasas do Brazil: When first opened it was great. Friends (they live in CCC) and us loved food/service, went several times 2017–18. Then we went early 2019 for Sunday dinner and service was…terrible. Food still good, but more limited than before – waiters kept bringing around the same skewers all night. Salad bar remains 5–stars.

Our group went again June 2019 and this time both food and service slid even lower. Lots of waitstaff but nobody paying ANY attention to tables. We weren’t the only ones looking for service. And again, meats were the same limited selection, all night long. This was another Sunday dinner.

The salad bar remains 5–stars, and is available for slightly less than the AYCE meats option. Even has smoked salmon, which pleases Spouse no end. The feijoda and rice are included in the salad bar prices, so we’d suggest sticking to that option.

We cannot explain the service fall-off, except that the floor mgr who had been there since opening, was not there last year either time we visited. It’s possible mgmt. or even ownership has changed. Brasas is not the only churrascaria which opens strong but then falters; the two in Alameda County also showed this weakness.

We have switched to the Galpao steakhouse in downtown Walnut Creek (branch of the TX chain, also in Napa). It opened July 2019 and recent Yelp rpts have been consistently favorable. Almost as good as Brasas on the salad bar; perhaps a bit smaller but still a very wide variety. Although listed meat selection is more limited at Galpao, when we came for lunch Nov 2019, they had everything listed and were offering everything, including the beef ribs Spouse adores.


Here’s another Concord review, this one on DJ’s Bistro. FYI we have not been back to DJ’s in several years. We liked it, but tend to visit Speisekammer/Alameda as it’s easier to reach from our home.

Note that the little parking lot fills up considerably by noon, so an 11:30 reservation makes it much easier to park.

DJ’s Bistro
Review date: January 2014

This little place is a cross between Speisekammer/Alameda and Café Europe/Santa Rosa, one of those sort-of-German, sort-of-Austro-Hungarian, old-fashioned restaurants where everybody has gray hair and the staff has no idea of what a kale and quinoa Caesar might be.

Spouse and I were intrigued by the tripe soup, but we settled for the soup of the day, described by the owner as “dumpling-meatball”. When it came, I was reminded that “dumplings” in Eastern Europe were by definition, pretty much anything round that was poached in a clear broth. These were meatballs, soft with plenty of bread crumbs in the mixture, poached in a clear, slightly salty chicken broth. The broth was enhanced with a mirepoix of celery, carrots and onions, in true Continental style, then sprinkled with chopped parsley before serving.

These are not great soups, nor are they intended to be. They are, despite the tasty trio of small meatball-dumplings, a true starter, in the very old-fashioned sense. This is pretty much the kind of soup that Campbell’s originally was emulating with its original Chicken Noodle in the red labeled can.

The bread is sweet, white, soft-crusted, and served with foil-wrapped pats of Land’o’Lakes butter. Spouse was in heaven, LOL. He would rather have this than an Acme baguette with Plugra sweet butter, any day.

Spouse got the goulash, which was beef cubes in a heavily paprika-laden sauce with a side of spaetzle. There’s no cream in this sauce, and I thought it was overloaded with hot paprika and thus a little harsh. But Spouse enjoyed it, and it was a good-sized serving. There was a good handful of tender stewed beef cubes, and a lot of gravy.

The spaetzle was the commercial kind, so it had a chewier texture than the housemade type that Speisekammer makes. I prefer the softer Speisekammer/Alameda version, so I gave him my portion. DJ’s makes it with a bit of chopped ham and pan-sautéed in some butter.

I ordered the Jaegerschnitzel , but goofed by not ordering a half-portion. It comes with spaetzle and red cabbage, and was the biggest portion of schnitzel I’ve seen anywhere! One cutlet would have been more than enough – but DJ’s gives you two cutlets. They’re pounded thin, and although not as moist as Café Europe’s unpounded Jaegerschnitzel , the breading is crisp and the cutlet isn’t completely dried out, making it more than acceptable. There’s a small portion of brown mushroom gravy with it, and I would have enjoyed having a bit more.

As mentioned, I gave most of my spaetzle to Spouse. The red cabbage is soft and very tasty, made with an apple cider vinegar so it isn’t as sugary-sweet as Café Europe and some other places make it. Both of us really liked it.

We were so full, we didn’t even have room for coffee, let alone strudel. Although not as good as Café Europe, the schnitzel is better than Speisekammer makes, and an amazing value.

As we were leaving, we saw one customer with a plate of the roast pork. This comes with spaetzle, sauerkraut, and red cabbage. What caught our eye was the size of the serving – this was one of the most generous servings of two thick slices of pork with gravy we’ve encountered. Two people could share it with ease (they do charge for split plates, however).

We enjoyed DJ’s. It’s not the best, but if you’re in the area, it’s worth a stop. In about ten years these places will all disappear…at least until some enterprising celebrity chef picks up the banner to rejuvenate the type of Continental cooking that used to exist in every city worthy of having a choice of restaurants for Sunday dining.

But that future won’t include the amount of good (not great, but definitely good) quality food for this price. Nope, DJ’s is truly a dying breed. If you like this kind of homey cooking and you’re nearby, go enjoy it. We doubt anything like it will still be around when my niece and nephew are ready to retire.

Two people, lunch: one soup, two mains, with tip was $43. We could easily have fed another person with the amount of schnitzel I received.