Best Brazilian Restaurant (2003)
Emporio Brazilian Café
Most Americans seem to think that Brazilians are all cowboys, like the gaucho waiters at Fogo de Chão. But if you want to experience the African-inspired home cooking that represents Brazil's true cuisine, you have to go a little farther down Westheimer. Emporio Brazilian Café is a homey affair. The modest, 18-table restaurant is equipped with folding chairs and a minimum of decorations. This is where Houston's Brazilian community gathers to eat comida caseira, or Brazilian home cooking. The food manages to taste homemade partly because the Emporio kitchen concentrates on just a few regional classics each day. Feijoada is served on Saturday; Friday is the day for bacalhau, a dried cod dish. And the rich shrimp stew called bobó de camarão is the Wednesday special. You can feed an entire family here for the $50 you pay per person at Fogo de Chão, and the food is much more interesting.