On a double date with old friends this weekend, we took advantage of Houston Restaurant Weeks and booked a table at Churrascos in Sugar Land. The beautifully designed restaurant -- which won the Houston Press Best South American Restaurant award in 2013, is often overlooked because of its suburban location, yet the setting couldn't have been more romantic. We were seated at a four top next a window overlooking the patio. As the dusk turned to night, curtains were pulled back for a lovely view of the lake around which the restaurant is built.
The Houston Restaurant Weeks menu at all the Churrascos are pretty incredible, with several options from which to choose in all three categories of appetizers, mains, and desserts. Wine pairings are suggested for each course, which you can order by the glass or by the flight, and several side dishes are suggested for a supplement of $6. Not heavy drinkers, we each ordered a glass of wine or cocktail (the mojitos are excellent!). My girlfriend ordered a house label red to pair with her steak, while I enjoyed a glass of Spanish Crianza, smooth and fruit-forward.
As is the custom at all Cordua Restaurants, we were served a big basket of plantain chips, with chimichurri and spicy salsa dips to start. Their equivalent of bread service, or chips and salsa, the chips were crisp without being oily, satisfyingly crunchy, and, when dipped in the chimichurri, quite addictive. We polished off a bowl quickly before our attentive server appeared with another, remarkable because the restaurant was full that night and one might have expected service to be somewhat more lax than normal.
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For appetizers, our individual orders were the tuna ceviche, their beef empanadas, and caesar salad. They were good sized portions to start the meal. The empanadas, cut in halves and arranged sitting up like four small inverted cones, were piping hot and crisp from the fryer, with a ground beef mixture that exhibited a slight sweetness. Our friends polished off their plates of tuna ceviche quickly, and the classic caesar came out liberally sprinkled with freshly grated parmesan, which gave it an added boost of flavor.
A side of their tamarind-honey glazed spareribs, which sounded so good that we ordered it as an appetizer to share, was the star of our starter plates. A thick, glistening glaze coated the lightly crisp spareribs, which were fall off the bone tender.
Though there were several choices for the main entree, including what looked like lamb skewers delivered to the adjacent table, three of us ordered the signature six-ounce churrasco steak. "Churrascos steak is always good. I'll take it over most steaks around town," said one of our companions quite happily, as he took his first bite of his medium rare steak. His wife echoed his sentiments, and though the one non-steak entree, a Scottish salmon, came out overdone (it came out well done when we'd asked for it rare), all was good in the world.
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We ended the meal with great conversation and rounds of Churrascos famous tres leches dessert. All in all, it was a fantastic evening. Service was unhurried, pleasant, and prompt. The atmosphere was lively. The setting was beautiful, and the food, on the whole was memorable.
"I enjoyed it so much," my friend Angela gushed as we were coming out of our individual restrooms (one of the signature design elements of the Cordua Restaurants). Holding her two boxes of tres leches desserts, which we'd saved for her kids, (we shared two desserts between the four of us) she said: "I love Churrascos anyway, but Houston Restaurant Weeks was a great way for us to try this location in Sugar Land."