TerraMar Brazilian Steakhouse - Pinellas Park FL
Terra Mar Brazilian Steakhouse
Open 11:00AM until 9:00PM
and until 10:00PM Fri and Sat
As our moving day neared, my wife’s Aunt Effie and Uncle Gil asked to take us out to lunch. They reasoned that it would be a long time before we could go out to lunch together again. I was all for the idea. Whenever anyone wants to take me out to lunch, I am for the idea. I was assigned the task of finding a suitable place to eat. Ordinarily an easy task, it was not so in this case as there were some very definite likes and dislikes to be considered.
We, my wife and I, have driven past the TerraMar almost weekly on our errands and each time I wondered what it was like. When I was assigned the task of selecting the restaurant, the TerraMar came to mind. Last year we all had dined at another Churrasco restaurant across the bay in Tampa. Everyone enjoyed that dining experience. It is close to home, of a type already enjoyed, and a check of the online reviews provided a positive picture of the TerraMar. Also, in checking the online menu, the lunch prices were very reasonable.
We drove over to Seminole and picked up Aunt Effie and Uncle Gil. It was about a twenty minute drive in mid-day surface street traffic. The restaurant was open but we were the first to arrive. There was a tree shaded parking spot right in front of the restaurant. We entered to the aroma of meat roasting over a charcoal fire. If we weren’t hungry before we were now!
Marlete greeted us and showed us to our table. She was very vibrant, telling us all about the restaurant and our choices for the meal. Our beverage orders taken, we ambled to the buffet to start our meal. To those of you not familiar with the Churrasco style restaurant, it is a restaurant that serves grilled meat; many offering as much as you can eat. Most feature a large rodizio grill where a charcoal fire roasts many skewers of meat at the same time.
Waiters, called passadores, bring the skewers to the table and slice off portions of the various meats. There is usually a colored token of some kind to indicate bring more or, “I have had enough.” This style of service is popular in Southern South American nations and other Latin American countries. Legend has it that it is reminiscent of the fireside meat roast of the gauchos, South American cowboys, herding cattle on the Pampas. The Pampas is a fertile plain extending from southern Brazil, across Uruguay and into Argentina.
For lunch or dinner, the options are the same; the difference being the price. There is a buffet, a cold side and a hot side each with about 10 offerings. There is also a cauldron of soup of the day. (Lunch – Hot and Cold Sides Only: $9.99 All you can eat. 11AM – 3PM 10 different kinds of hot sides. 10 different linds of salads and soup of the day.) The second option is: (Lunch – Sides Plus Rotisserie Grill: $14.99 11AM – 3PM Top Sirloin, X Kebab, Pork Ribs, Chicken Drumsticks and our home made sausage.)
Dinners and weekends are a bit more, $24.99 for the sides plus rotisserie grill but there are some added meats. Included are chicken breast with bacon, filet mignon with bacon, garlic steak, rib eye steak and lamb. There are some lunch and dinner entrees to order from the menu but I did not explore that option. Juice, soda, beer, wine and sangria are available.
A bit early for a heavy meal, my three companions chose to have the Hot and Cold Buffet. I, on the other hand, chose the Sides and Rotisserie Grill. Even taking tiny sample portions, it requires two trips to the hot and cold buffet to try everything. My first plate of buffet food included green salad with tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, chick peas and delicious house dressing. There was cold pasta salad, sweet potatoes, an excellent potato salad, rice, fried bananas, and fried white fish. It was a meal in itself but the best was yet to come.
Our passadore, who also seemed to be the kitchen man during the slow start to the lunch hour, came by often with skewers of roasted meat. A very personable young man, he provided me with many samples of delicious meats from the rodizio. I am nit a particular fan of dark meat chicken so any such offering will meet with keen scrutiny. There is minimum seasoning, salt perhaps, so it is chicken and grill smoke flavor; all very good. Chicken on the bone is hard to grill; getting the next to bone meat cooked without burning the outside is difficult. The slow roasting over the coals does an excellent job. The chicken was cooked through yet still very moist and most certainly not burned on the outside.
The slices of top sirloin were excellent. Cooked medium rare, they were tender and full of roasted meat flavor; a minimum of seasoning. That particular cut became my favorite for the meal. My second favorite was the X Kebob (why the X I do not know but I will ask my next time there). Skewered with slices of green Bel pepper and onion, they are flavorful little chunks of meat. Not as tender as the sirloin, they are however very tasty and go so well with the peppers and onions. I had several sausages over the course of the dinner. Homemade, they are very flavorful although I am not familiar with the spice combinations used. They are very tasty but I would have to learn to like them to make them a favorite.
With all of the tasty food available, my three lunch companions had more than enough to eat and were pleased with the selection of the TerraMar as the place to go for lunch. I thoroughly enjoyed my meal perhaps a bit to excess. I would definitely like to return to the TerraMar in the future and if not for lunch then perhaps to splurge a little and try out the other meats cooking on the rodizio grill. Good food, good conversaion and all shared with loving family; what could be better?
In researching the TerraMar, I came across these two videos on YouTube. Perhaps you would like to take a look.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1ob60eG-XM& Uploaded Mar 22, 2013, and
Labels: BBQ, beef, Brazil, Brazilian Steakhouse, chicken, chimichurri, churrasco, lamb, rodizio grill, rotisserie, salad, steak