So Glen brought me a slice of heaven a couple weeks back: aka a big ass piece of flan from Picanha Brazilian Steakhouse. He and his coworkers discovered Picanha Steakhouse and Buffet recently which is located in Marietta near Powers Ferry and Terrill Mill Road. Think of it as the poor man’s Fogo de Chao – it is about 1/4 of the price of Fogo de Chao or Sal Grosso down the street. Oh, they also have about 1/4 of the selection.
We arrived on a miserably cold and rainy Saturday afternoon after dropping off a friend who lives nearby. Picanha was deserted save for one large group of Brazilians (about 10 of them in the all). The restaurant isn’t huge probably about 15 tables in the dining area. And don’t think it is going to be decked out in the same fashion as Sal Grosso down the street, Picanha is pretty bare bones. My apologies in advance for the poor pics as they were taken with a cell phone.
First we hit the salad / vegetable buffet. Salads looked fresh with options like caesar, tomato, onion and cucumber or chicken salad. But moving on to the hot section was an utter disappointment. The choices here were severely lacking. We were limited to white rice, black beans, okra, vegetable rice dish, and a couple other indistinguishable offerings.
Besides the fact that nothing was labeled, you could immediately tell which where the most popular items (white rice and okra) as there were slim pickings of both left the first time I went through the line. My second time around the Picanha’s buffet, the rice was replaced but the okra had about 10 lonely pieces left- tsk tsk. On the bright side, at least you don’t have to worry about filling up on the buffet like at the higher end churrascarias.
Don’t expect to see any servers wandering around with huge skewers of meat. They do things differently at Picanha. Separate from the buffet near the register, you’ll see the ovens with skewers of meat. There’s a server behind the counter and you indicate to him what you want: Top Sirloin, Bottom Round, Garlic Steak, Pork Sausage, Chicken Drumstick and Chicken Hearts were on the menu on my visit. The plates for meat are very small, only enough for about 2 different cuts of meat at a time, which I’m guessing is their attempt to avoid waste.
I tried everything, even the chicken hearts. The best item was the Bottom Round, we had a perfect slice – juicy and cooked just right without too much salt. Definitely the highlight of the meal. I found the Top Sirloin and Pork Sausage to be nicely cooked but pretty salty. I used my rice and beans to mitigate the salt factor. The Garlic Steak was extremely fatty, but salt proportion was normal – I guess one health risk at a time.
Now this was my first time sampling chicken hearts – there was a plethora of salt and spices on them, so it was difficult to discern the actual organ flavor but they looked and tasted like meaty mushrooms. I’d love to taste them at a restaurant that let’s their true flavor come true.
For the amount of meat available to chow down on, prices are reasonable. Cost is $10 Monday through Friday. Weekends are $13. There’s no difference between lunch and dinner, all the same cost. The buffet only (excluding meats) is about $7, although given the pathetic offering I don’t know why anyone would choose that. Although the staff was friendly, it would have been nice if they told us a soft drink was included with our meal after we all opted for water.
It seems that Picanha Steakhouse started off with a bang and that some of the quality has slipped. I think for the price, offering 5 or 6 meats is fine. My only real quibble is with the offering and replenishment of the vegetables. As inexpensive as those items are, they could provide more of a variety and replace them more frequently. I hear Sabor do Brazil down the street has better quality and I’ll be checking them out soon enough.
1360 Powers Ferry Rd
Marietta, GA 30067
Extras: To die for flan worth trying.