December 7, 2006
Rich Alvarado opened Samba Brasil Market & Cafe, 410G S. Eighth St., in June as a place for soccer fans to watch the World Cup while enjoying South American traditional foods. The buzz about his food has kept fans coming back. The little four-table eatery is neat and clean, with Alvarado serving up a heaping helping of hospitality along with Feijoada, a blackbean stew with Portuguese sausage that is the national dish of Brazil, or Espetinho, Brazilian-style kebabs. It’s not surprising he has the hospitality thing going for him, having spent seven years as a general manager of various restaurants at The Broadmoor. But he knows his way around the kitchen, too, especially when it comes to Brazilian dishes. Though he grew up here, his parents are Brazilian, thus his thorough knowledge of the ingredients. His big love is coffee. South American coffee, of course. In fact, it was his coffee import business that nudged him forward to open the market and cafe. During lunch he offers the Feijoada with another entree such as what the menu bills is a “Brazilian Strogonoff” and white rice on a buffet for $5.95. There’s a bowl of farofa (toasted yucca flour) to sprinkle atop the Feijoada and a bowl of fried shoestring potatoes to garnish. The stroganoff may sound like an oddity for a Brazilian restaurant, but Alvarado says it’s different from European-style stroganoff because it’s served on white rice instead of noodles. Also, it has a tomatosauce base made creamy with evaporated milk. A tray of condiments sits alongside the buffet. There’s a garlic sauce he recommends using with the Coxinha (shredded chicken wrapped in yucca breading and fried) and a jar of tiny red chiles he says are good with the black beans. Go easy with the little fiery chiles. One chopped up in our stew was plenty to waken the sinuses. Coxinha is an appetizer sold four to a basket ($5), six to a basket ($7) or frozen for to-go orders ($7.50). Dessert was sorbet made of açaí, “a super food,” Alvarado said. The açaí (AH-sci-EE) berry is a Brazilian fruit bursting with antioxidants. The dessert is made even better with a shot of strong cafezinho (Brazilian-style espresso). For a taste of Brazil, check out Alvarado’s place. It’s a little tricky to find, nestled in the corner of a strip mall behind Captain D’s. But the prices are right; entrees are $6-$7. Hours are 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays-Fridays; and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays. PRIX-FIXE FOR NEW YEAR’S Bonnes fêtes de fin d’annee! That’s “happy holidays!” from Henri Chaperont, chef and owner of La Petite Maison, 1015 W. Colorado Ave. It’s not too soon to be thinking of making reservations for New Year’s Eve, and Chaperont might just have the best deal in town. He’s doing a prix fixe four-course dinner for $60 per person (plus tax and gratuity). If that’s not to your liking, you can order off the regular dinner menu. The New Year’s Eve menu can be viewed at www.restauranteur.com/ maison. While you’re online, check out his new lunch menu, which has sandwich-soupsalad combinations and new entrees. He also has a “Nouveau Prix-Fix Dinner” menu including a glass of wine for $35 per person. This meal is not available on Saturdays or holidays. Call 632-4887 to make reservations. IRC’S LAST ‘06 DINNER The Independent Restaurant Cooperative will wind up this year’s dinners at Jake and Telly’s Greek Cuisine, 2616 W. Colorado Ave., Dec. 12. Cost is $50 per person. Call 633-0406 for reservations. CONTACT US: Send tips about restaurant openings, closings, menu changes and food specials to email@example.com or call 636-0271. Do you own or manage a restaurant? Send us your e-mail address so we can keep in touch.