Dining Deals

Discount Dining: Pradaria Steaks & Churrascaria

Anyone who knows me, knows I'm a meat lover. A dry-aged, medium-rare ribeye would probably be my requested last meal. So when a Living Social deal arrived in my inbox for $30 for a rodizio dinner for two at Pradaria Steaks & Churrascaria, I jumped on it. At $17.95 for lunch and $29.95 per person for dinner, Pradaria is already one of the city's less expensive churrascarias. Located on Westheimer in the Westchase district in a former Ninfa's, Pradaria is not as formal or fancy as other Brazilian restaurants in town, but it's a comfortable atmosphere with friendly service. And really, isn't that all you need when you're about to gorge yourself with meat?


As with all churrascarias, beware of the salad bar: It'll get you full every time. Thankfully, the salad bar at Pradaria is not huge, and there were items that were worth the stomach space, like the slices of tender beef tongue with chimichurri, a beef carpaccio, and a surprisingly good chicken stroganoff. Back at the table, a basket of Pão de queijo (cassava cheese bread) awaited us. This is typically a danger zone for me, as I love them, but these were gummy and dense, and after they sat for a few minutes could have been used as a weapon.

Possibly because the restaurant was pretty empty, the meat was slow coming out at first. I had my green "go button" prominently displayed as I waited. The first cut to arrive was the Fraldinha (bottom sirloin). My slice was a perfect medium-rare. The meat was tender and juicy, and there was no need for the side of chimichurri I picked up from the salad bar. The parade of meat finally began to pick up, and out came the Picanha (top sirloin), Entrana (skirt steak) and the bacon-wrapped filet. These were all delicious; the Picanha in particular had a salty, fatty crust that was full of flavor.

There was also a Cordeiro (lamb), a pork sausage, and Frango (chicken). The pork sausage had a snap to the outside and was well-seasoned. The chicken legs had a crispy exterior and moist interior. I was pleasantly surprised that they had chicken hearts, something I enjoyed at the churrascarias in Brazil. The hearts had a lemon garlic flavor and were perfectly cooked, not at all chewy.

Before slipping into a food coma I had to try the ribs. We were told they would be out later, as they needed longer to cook. Maybe it was the anticipation I'd built up, but the Costela (ribs) and the Costela de Porco (pork ribs) were the most disappointing cuts of the evening. The beef ribs were a little tough and rather flavorless, and the pork ribs were glazed with an unfortunate tangy barbecue sauce.

Would I return to Pradaria without a discount? I would. Despite a few missteps, my meal was satisfying, and quality was not sacrificed for a lower price.

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Minh T Truong