Photo by Houston Press Staff
Self-taught, Nicaraguan-born chef Michael Cordua was the first to introduce Houston to South American cuisine when, in 1988, he opened his first Churrascos. This culinary pioneer showed us the flavors, aromas and dishes of lands such as Nicaragua, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Brazil, expanding our vocabulary with words like plantains, ceviche, empanadas, churrasco, yuca, chimichurri and, of course, tres leches. The trail he blazed has inspired many other Latin cuisine concepts, broadening our culinary horizons far beyond Mexico. At Churrascos, Cordua's skill is not simply in re-creating authentic dishes from many different South American countries but in marrying them with European and American cooking methods, thereby giving them an extra-special feel. His signature smoked crab claws and beef tenderloin churrasco are unparalleled.