Churrascaria Plataforma in Manhattan? Eh. | iLounge Backstage

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Churrascaria Plataforma in Manhattan? Eh.

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By Jeremy Horwitz

Editor-in-Chief, iLounge
Published: Saturday, September 3, 2005
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Once in a while, I put up a Brazilian steakhouse story here to gather reader opinions on the best such restaurants in the United States. This particular establishment has served as a taunt for literally years now. “Oh,” friends would say, “[Brazilian steakhouse] Fogo de Chao is great, but Churrascaria Plataforma in Manhattan is the best.” As a fan of rodizio and churrasco - the endless cavalcade of grilled meats brought to your table on skewers and cut off by the slice to your liking - this was torture for me. It was (nearly) like being told that you hadn’t experienced your very favorite food ever until you went to this one special place - on the other side of the country.

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So since I just happened to be in town anyway, I went there with my cousin and his wife - a vegetarian - to experience what was billed by friends as a premium-quality all-you-can-eat dinner and dessert experience, with filet mignon and an incredible cart full of exotic desserts (“I’ll take 3,” a friend claimed he’d said, before receiving them) as the anticipated highlights. Unlike Fogo, which is typically crowded and quiet, Plataforma was crowded and loud, smaller than I’d imagined, and yet not as cozy. A good but not astounding salad bar was there for my cousin’s wife. At the start of the meal, as is custom, we each received a card with green and red sides: green meant “keep bringing meat,” red meant “I’m pausing.”

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Let’s just say that Fogo de Chao (now in Beverly Hills, Chicago, Atlanta, two cities in Texas, and Brazil) doesn’t have anything to be worried about. If Plataforma once served filet and all-you-can-eat desserts, and had exemplary service, they don’t any more, which we learned the hard way after discontinuing our meat service early. After two of us had eaten roughly $10 worth of meat - and not in any sort of boorish, loud, or crazy way - that process was hastened along by a waiter who walked by and pocketed two of our red and green cards without explanation. We found out that filet is not served, and dessert is now a la carte at around $7 a plate. When the check arrived, we were also charged for a $40 bottle of wine we’d neither ordered nor received. This charge was almost incidental given the size of the bill.

Generally, what we were served was good, but not special. One of our three desserts - chocolate mousse - was amazingly rich and delicious, while the other two were finished without comment and not finished, respectively. And not because of full stomachs. The meats and salad bar were almost forgettable, especially by comparison with Fogo, which consistently serves staggeringly tasty cuts of beef, regardless of grade.

It was a lot of hype without delivery, the sort of thing that so often makes me indifferent (or worse) about Manhattan. Apparently this is a recent problem, and with restaurants, I’ve now learned that I should check recent reviews before getting too excited. Thankfully, the company was good, and made the experience worthwhile, but I’m glad I didn’t come all the way here for this. Anyone else try Plataforma? Thoughts? Comparisons?

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Comments

1

Which one did you eat at, there are two of them. I have only tried the one on 49th Street and have never had a problem with service.  I agree the desserts should be included, but never have enough room for them.  I have not been to Fogo, but will add it to my list if I see one.

Posted by Chris Johnson on September 5, 2005 at 5:03 AM (PDT)

2

Since you live in the So Cal area, you ought to try Rei Do Gado in downtown San Diego.  YUMMY!

Posted by jandsroberts on September 5, 2005 at 1:13 PM (PDT)

3

Brazilian here, from Rio Grande do Sul (where churrasco is de rigueur). Anyway, I’ve been to the one on 49th Street and always received great service. However, there are excellent options on or near Ferry Street in Newark which, while maybe lacking the ambience, offer a better value than Plataforma.

Posted by Alex on September 10, 2005 at 2:17 PM (PDT)

4

The menu at Rei Do Gado looks awesome. Next time I’m in San Diego, I’m going, no doubt.

Chris: It was the 49th Street location, at dinner on a Saturday. My big mistake was saving room for desserts on the assumption they were included (based on what I’d heard). Well, that and not demanding my meat card back when the waiter snatched it.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz on September 14, 2005 at 10:55 PM (PDT)

5

We have two churascarias here in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.  Althought they have widely differing atmospheres, they are both delicious, have excellent service and are NOT AT ALL hard on the pocketbook.  Come give ‘em a try!

Posted by Sherry Ostendorf on September 21, 2005 at 4:07 AM (PDT)

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