Our Brazilian friends tell us there is no good Brazillian food in Toronto. However, when all we have to compare to is a few meals at various Fogo de Chãos, Rodeo seems pretty decent to us. It was the last place we ate at inside before the lockdown and a friend of ours was hankering for meat, so we made a return visit (still mainly masking except when we were eating and drinking). It remains very enjoyable overall, with maybe a bit too much salt on a few meats.
For libation, we ordered a bottle of 2020 Catena Malbec, from Argentina. Fruity and with enough heft to serve all the meat. Our friend had the virgin Brazilian colada, which was apparently a fun riff on a piña colada.
They start you with warm pão de queijo, those irresistible cheesy, slightly chewy yuca-based buns. They keep replenishing them, so you better just stop.
Then you hit the giant buffet bar for salads and other cold dishes. The nicest salad was one that mixed sweet sugar snap peas with corn, red peppers, and a light sesame dressing. However there were over 30 options, including cute little boiled quail eggs. (Note modest portion in preparation for the meat onslaught.)
Then the men (it always seems to be only men) parade around with their skewers of BBQ meat, with giant knives, ready to slice off portions for you. You have a little piece of cardboard that has a green circle on one side that means “keep serving me” and a red circle on the other side that means “I’m dying, please stop”.
There were 14 meats in all. All had some nice crusting and charring. All were salt-forward, with a few that strayed too far. None were unlikable:
- Filet wrapped with bacon - tender, juicy and delicious.
- Chicken thigh - moist and tender.
- Picanha (top sirloin cap/culotte) - richly flavoured and still quite tender.
- Pork sausage - a nice change of pace and not as salty as previously.
- Alcatra (top sirloin) - hearty and fairly tender.
- Sirloin in parmesan - nice umami notes from the parmesan, but a little too salty.
- Garlic beef - not sure about the cut; juicy and fairly tender, nice garlic notes.
- Chicken in parmesan - surprisingly moist breast.
- Pork shoulder - too salty, although the crispy skin was almost worth it.
- Pork loin - a bit drier and blander.
- Pork rib - excellent flavour and crisped on the edges.
- New York steak - good flavour, but a bit tougher and riddle with tendon.
- Ribeye - meatier and more tender.
- Leg of lamb - very tender, seasoned well, with nice lamb notes coming through.
- Chicken hearts - great as usual, unfortunately only making an appearance when we just about comatose.
As if all of the above wasn’t enough, they also bring you 3 sides: deep-fried bananas, cassava fries, feijoada (black beans and rice) dusted with fedora (toasted cassava flour).
We finished off with the usual grilled pineapple, which had lovely cinnamon dusting and crisped edges.