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.