Churrasqueira Bairrada Restaurant is an authentic Portuguese restaurant located in Mineola on the bustling Jericho Turnpike. Here they use only real wood charcoal briquettes in preparing their entrees and in this respect, Churrasqueira is the only restaurant in the area that prepares its food in that traditional, natural way.
walking in you are greeted with the strong, enticing smell of BBQ. To your left
is the take out area and to the right the elegant, large dining area. The walls are covered in mirrors and there is a noticeable
rooster theme throughout the restaurant. Everywhere you look you'll find a
rooster, from sitting on the bar to topping the chandeliers.
is the proud owner of Churrasqueira and has
been in the restaurant business for years. He started working at the age of 13 at
Pompeu Dos Frangos, a restaurant in his home country of Portugal. He would help
out in the kitchen and in time he began to learn how to properly cook chicken.
He and his family came to the United States in 1984 and here Manuel began to
work in restaurants as a waiter and bartender until he was finally able to
achieve his dream of opening his own restaurant. He opened his first place in
1993 and in 1996 he opened Churrasqueira Bairrada Restaurant. Since then Manuel
has been doing everything in his power to satisfy his customers and keep them
coming back for more, which is clearly something he has accomplished. He is very
proud of his cuisine and has every right to be as we soon learned.
Our server, Paul, was very attentive and knowledgeable when it came to both the food and wine menus. He was extremely personable, friendly and an overall delight. Upon being seated we were greeted with a fresh breadbasket filled with Portuguese bread prepared in their in-house bakery (below left). Along with the breadbasket we were presented a fresh salad (below right) and a side of tasty olives.
Paul offered us some VT 04, a red wine from Portugal, to accompany our appetizers (below left). It was dry, smooth and sinfully delicious. We began our experience at Churrasqueira with the Espetada de Lulas & Camarao, commonly known as grilled shrimp kebab and squid (below right). The appealing presentation instantly intrigued us. The jumbo-sized shrimp were served with soft, fresh vegetables and thoroughly baked potatoes. The squid had a hint of red pepper flavor and after you de-shell the shrimp they're simply perfect. Due to being cooked while shelled, the shrimp retain all their natural flavors. This appetizer is an excellent start to any meal and was deemed an immediate favorite.
A must have when you visit Churrasqueira is their BBQ Chicken, which they sell roughly 6,000 of per month (below left). It came to our table whole with a side of homemade potato chips (below right). With the first bite you can immediately taste the BBQ, flame broiled taste in the tender and juicy chicken. The homemade potato chips were a great accompaniment to the chicken, treating your palate to a nice crunch.
We then were treated to some Rodizio style dining. This is an all you can eat special they offer here and is surely the ideal option to fulfill your hunger. It is perfect for people who love some spice to their food and arrive with an empty stomach. We began with some tender steak, which was cut right for us at the table (below left). It had a tasteful spice to it and was served with collard greens.
Next up was the
chicken leg, which had been marinating for days (above right). The leg was char grilled to
perfection, very tender and downright delicious.
We were then offered a vinaigrette filled with red onions, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots dusted with a hint of black pepper. This vinaigrette serves as a palate cleanser and digestive aid after one has consumed a large portion of meat. Along with the vinaigrette we were also treated to some black beans soaked in a thick, luscious sauce.
We continued our Rodizio journey with some flavor filled, juicy turkey wrapped in bacon (below left) and some spicy, savory sausages (below center). Both were an exciting treat for our taste buds.
After the satisfying
Rodizio we were presented with a Porterhouse Steak that was char grilled,
broiled, extremely tender and offered a nice, charcoal taste (above right).
To accompany our
forthcoming seafood entrees Paul presented us with some Vinho Verde - Alvarinho,
a white wine that nicely accompanies fish. This reserve wine tasted as good as
it smelt. The fruit flavor awakens your sense of smell as soon as it’s poured
into your glass.
Our seafood entrees began with a baby striped bass Branzino (below right). This dish is grilled with ocean salts and served atop a bed of butter. Paul so elegantly sliced the branzino for us at the table, carefully removing all the bones as he filleted the fish using just a butter knife and spoon. Paul suggested we dip the fish in some Portuguese virgin olive oil, a unique olive oil and the perfect complement to the fresh, tender fish.
We were then offered
the health conscious choice of a perfectly prepared Salmon (above right). This wild catch is
also served atop a bed of butter and was exceptionally appetizing.
Our third and final seafood entree was the nicely grilled, buttery Swordfish (below left). It was perfectly tender and served in a lemon butter sauce that offered just a hint of garlic taste.
We ended our experience at Churrasquiera on a sweet note with five outrageous desserts. The Pudin Flan was heavy, dense and delicious (above right). The Natas-do-Ceu, also known as Heavenly Whites, is their most popular dessert (below left). It is made with egg whites and filled with crushed cookies and as the name suggests, is simply heavenly.
The Arroz Doce is a rice pudding topped with a profusion of cinnamon (above right). The rice was soft and smooth and the cinnamon flavoring was just right.
If you enjoy lemon meringue, the Molotoff egg white cake topped with caramel is something you definitely want to sample (below left). It is extremely light and the only way to describe this delectable treat is, "sugary air".
We rounded out our
dessert extravaganza with the Mousse de Chocolate, a delightful chocolate mousse
that was rich, heavy and made with dark chocolate (above right).
Our meal definitely didn’t end on a light note, but it certainly ended on a delicious note. Our dining experience at Churrasqueira Bairrada Restaurant was extremely pleasurable and the food was simply outstanding. This restaurant has a lot of class and a large, attentive wait staff that clearly works very hard along with their boss to keep their customers happy, satisfied and full!