It took a few weeks but I finally made it out to Roseville’s first churrascaria, Flame & Fire. This is a Brazilian steakhouse that has taken the spot of the long defunct night club Cloud 9 in a small shopping center on Pleasant Grove, where you will find Ninja Sushi, Granite’s Wings and Taj Oven. They opened almost exactly a month ago on June 21st. I had popped in that weekend to take a look and was greeted by the manager (I think he said his name was Miguel). He enthusiastically told me about the restaurant, how it all worked and about all the different meats and salad bar items they had. I’ve been pretty excited to come and try it out ever since.
I was joined by recurring-dining-company Justin. He beat me there by about 5 minutes and got a seat for the two of us just before 6PM. I didn’t expect it to be that busy on a Thursday, but almost everyone that came in seemed to have a reservation (we were seated near one of the main dining room entrances which was right by the hostess’ podium). The place wasn’t full, but easily half capacity at it’s peak when we left at around 7:30. We only saw the main dining room and bar area, to the right and left respectively. There seemed to be at least another dining room behind the bar and, based on a video slideshow I found via their Facebook page, apparently they have a huge patio as well.
As I entered and found Justin at the table I was spotted by our server, who came to the table to greet me and then run through quite a primer on how everything worked. This was our first time at a Brazilian steakhouse. I was somewhat aware of the process but Justin was getting all this info for the first time. Basically it is one price ($45 for dinner, I think $30 for lunch) for all you can eat. There is good sized salad bar in the back corner with 20-35 items on it. Then there are the meats. Servers will come by periodically with meat on long skewers and slice off a piece for you. If you want them to stop at your table then you flip a little coaster to the green side. If you are good for the time being, and don’t want any more, then you flip it to the red side. They generally cook the meats to about medium-rare, but will gladly cook items more well done on request. Seems pretty simple.
We started off over at the salad bar. This isn’t your typical “I’m gonna grab some lettuce and then some toppings” salad bar. Instead each item is very much it’s own thing, and honestly I’m not really familiar with most of what I saw. I grabbed a small selection of things including grilled asparagus, some aged cheeses, a broccoli salad, some sort of corn & tomato salad, a fancy mashed potato looking thing and a thick slice of prosciutto. Remember that video slideshow I mentioned a moment ago? Go check that out (here’s the link again). Tons of great photos of the salad bar items. I didn’t want to get all up in the way during dinner with a camera.
All of this was a pretty good start. I was barely into the salad items before we started receiving meats from the roaming servers. It was quickly apparent that the pace can be very, very quick here, if you want it to be. The nice thing is that all you need to do is flip your coaster to red if you want to slow things down, and I did just that a few times. I forgot to write down what the very first meat was. It was clearly beef, I’m just not sure of the cut. The server set a metal base down on the table with a small dimple to anchor the skewer in and then began to slice a piece of beef off. He would stop briefly for you to get a hold of it with your tongs, then he would finish the cut. It was a 2-person job, and you’re involved! This was definitely medium and maybe into medium-well territory, which I wasn’t crazy about. The flavor was decent, it was just tough. Next up was leg of lamb, which was closer to medium or medium-rare. This was better. Lamb can be a little boring, so I continued to look forward to more meats.
Parmesan pork came up next. This was one of the few items where they simply slid the lowest section on the skewer right onto your plate with no assistance. This had pretty good flavor and a crispy parmesan crust to it. The pork itself was a little dry though. I was starting to get a little worried that this was going to be the norm. In actuality, most everything after this was really great!
The next meat to arrive was one of their specials, picanha. This was an amazingly tender and flavorful piece of beef with a thick layer of fat. I got a little more of this later and could probably live off of it if given the chance. I took a little break from meats and during this time we were given a couple small sides of fried banana with cinnamon and some mashed potatoes. We didn’t get too much into the potatoes, they were fine, but the banana was crazy good. Justin loved it even more than me and ended up having a couple more brought out.
After this came tri-tip, which Wikipedia tells me is the opposite cut of picanha. Like the picanha, this was cooked perfectly medium-rare and was very tender. It had a great crust to it on the one edge. I had a couple of pork ribs after this which were light on meat but very tasty.
Next up was a small piece of filet mignon wrapped in bacon. The bacon was great but the filet itself was a bit overcooked and tough. Another parmesan-crusted item followed, this time it was chicken. The dark meat was plenty moist and tender and the parmesan crust was again great. I had a second leg of lamb piece at this point. This one was rare. For lamb, this was actually approaching borderline too-rare for my tastes. I love my beef very rare, not crazy about other meats though for some reason. Nevertheless it was pretty good, definitely tender.
Next up was a hell of a treat and actually one of our favorite items, so much so that Justin asked if they could bring it back around a little bit later, to which which they happily obliged. This was grilled pineapple. But not just grilled pineapple, that doesn’t sound so special. This was coated in cinnamon and sugar, much like the fried bananas. It was insanely tasty. We ended up having this last which ended up serving as dessert. They have a menu of desserts (for an additional price), but we were both stuffed, so a couple slices of delicious pineapple was perfect.
I expected to enjoy this. Meat on skewers, how can you go wrong? Well, some were kind of overcooked, but the nice thing is that all you have to do is wait for the next one if it’s not to your liking. As I found with the leg of lamb, one pass was med-well and another rare. There’s a good variety to be had both in meats and salad bar items. Our server was friendly and had a good sense of humor. The servers with meats were moving non-stop and there was only one point where it felt like they had been gone for a bit, but that was maybe 3 or 4 minutes tops. This was certainly one of the pricier meals I’ve had on this mission. It was a really unique and interesting experience from the getgo, and full of good food. It’s not something I expect to go do very often, but I’d like to return some time, maybe for lunch.