Here’s what $39.95 buys (at plataforma): a comfortable table comfortable separated from the ones around it; a hard working series of attitude-free South American waiters; a giant and voluminous salad bar; a smooth-fingered pianist pricking the crowd’s easy languor with samba rhythms; a half-dozen side dishes including crisply fried plantains (not extra!); and all the perfectly cooked meat you could ever wish to eat. Learn the term churrascaria (choo-rah-scah-REE-ah) if you like meat. It’s a generic term for a restaurant specializing in roasted meat, often on a spit; but it might as well mean “orgy of succulent viands” as Plataforma defines it. Of what to complain about Churrascaria Plataforma? That dinner is over somehow too quickly? That the human brain is not neurologically equipped to resist all the temptations? That one’s dreams later-meat fueled, caipirinha-fueled, coconut flan fueled-are as vivid and outrageous as any crowd scene in Black Orpheus? Of all his gifts, it is said that Michael Jordan’s competitiveness was the most truly legendary. Someone should tell him: He’s being outhustled, badly, and in a very high-steaks game.
Two things are required to truly appreciate Churrascaria Plataforma: a large appetite to keep you eating and a large group to cheer you on. A caipirinha or two doesn’t hurt either.
Churrascaria Plataforma is New York City’s newest rodizio, the all-you-can-eat Brazilian restaurant. It is distinguished from the others by the high quality of the food and the charming attitude of the waiters. The salad bar is extraordinary, a long two-sided affair anchored at the corners by four hot casseroles and tended with fierce pride by a woman who looks as if she has stepped straight from a painting by Picasso. She hovers nearby, pouncing on each ingredient and prepared salad the moment it is less than pristine and making certain that none are ever empty.
The Health Department conducts unannounced inspections of restaurants at least once a year. Inspectors check for compliance in food handling, food temperature, personal hygiene and vermin control. Each violation of a regulation earns a certain number of points. At the end of the inspection, the inspector totals the points, and this number is the restaurant’s inspection score—the lower the score, the better the Grade.
…The restaurant’s mood is upbeat, its ambience casually elegant and friendly, its decor warmly minimalist. Since this is definitely not the kind of dining to rush through, if you’re planning to eat before the theatre, reserve a table for 5p.m. Better yet, see the play tomorrow and make Churrascaria Plataforma the centerpiece of tonight’s entertainment.
…At the cavernous Churrascaria Plataforma, waiters rove the floor, each with a two-foot skewer or a big plate holding a monstrous, meaty offering. Flip the little indicator disk at the edge of your table to its green side, and they stop at your table and carve as you neatly pluck off the pieces with a pair of tongs. They don’t stop coming (sirloin! skirt steak! chicken! sausage! ribs! mussels! salmon!) until you turn your indicator back to red.
…Julie, my friend and neighbor, chose [Churrascaria Plataforma] and did it right. She invited friends and family to join her at Churrascaria Plataforma, a Brazilian restaurant so big, brassy and over-the-top, you could probably have a great time there if you were celebrating an inner-ear infection…
…Vasconcellos mentioned a few authentic examples in Manhattan and declared the atmosphere at Churrascaria Plataforma in midtown to be “exactly like you would see in a Churrascaria in Brazil. And yes, in Brazil they use the same red and green disks to alert waiters whether they want any more meat.
…and I am not even sure how to pronounce it. “one of the very best things about Churrascaria Plataforma is that you don’t feel as if you’re in New York at all. The owners have striven to make this restaurant (unlike several pretenders in the city) absolutely true to Brazilian detail…