If the first thing you think of in Brazilian dining is a steakhouse, you really need to get out more. But the vast culinary landscape can't be summed up in big slabs of beef – you'd be doing them and Argentina a disservice.
While Taste of Brasil does not offer a wide range of national cuisine itself, it focuses on a niche that is well worth exploring: Salgadinhos are small, usually meat-filled pastries that could be put in some imaginary food genus with its inferior cousins the pizza pocket and jalapeno popper. But there's barely a need to even mention such items, as Taste of Brasil has created a delicious improvement on the concept of fried savory snacks as we know them.
The "main meals" of the cafe can be viewed in the small display case on the corner of the cashier wrap – if you want to make a meal out of Taste of Brasil, you'll probably end up ordering the entire menu or a couple repeats. Risoles (like a croquette) of shrimp or beef are $1.80 and $1.20, respectively, or a coxinha de frango (a chicken croquette with onions and olives) runs $1.20. Pastels (subtitled as "Brazilian Empanadas" on the menu) come in cheese, the stand-out beef, or occasionally the Romeo & Juliet (guava and mozzarella).
While you could chose a brigadeiro, bejiho, or a filled-fig truffle from their list of tiny sweets, the fact that they merely cost a dollar apiece means you may as well try them all. Arroz dolce (a rice pudding) has a firm milky consistency with a pleasant cinnamon/clove aftertaste for $2. And slices of big chocolate cake with coconut shavings are available for the menu's most extravagant price – $2.50. With a full run of the menu barely topping $20, Taste of Brasil is the perfect place to finally use that line: "I'll have one of everything, please."
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Dan Morgridge