About a month ago I received a Groupon for Nelore Churrascaria Winter Park, FL , and I was very excited to discover that there was a Churrascaria in Orlando that was for locals! Typically, you would have to head over to the tourist areas to find Churrascarias in Orlando such as Texas de Brazil.
Well, last Saturday my wife and I decided to head to Nelore Churrascaria for an evening without the kids. As a man, I was very excited for an endless supply of meat! And, as I hinted above, you’re going for the experience and not the food and following is a closer look as to why.
Nelore Churrascaria Winter Park’s Food
I sampled every piece of meat that Nelore offers. Here’s a listing of their meats in order from best to worst, and my thoughts on each:
1. Garlic Beef
Ok. You have to really LOVE garlic to like this piece of meat they offer. If you don’t care for garlic, or you like subtle hints of garlic, then this won’t be ranked number 1 for you. But, if you’re like me, and LOVE garlic, this flavor explosion will have you begging for them to come around with more.
Their Garlic Beef is surrounded by, you guessed it, garlic! And, it was that perfect garlic flavor, not the over-roasted or burnt garlic taste. I highly recommend this meat.
2. Leg of Lamb
I’m not convinced this was a “leg of lamb”. I think it was more of a processed and roasted lamb roast, similar to the lamb slices you would find in a Gyro, but not as strong of those Mediterranean spices. However, that aside, this cut was packed with lamb-goodness and offered the right balance of spice, salt, and the natural lamb flavor.
3. Top Sirloin
I noticed many patrons passing on the top sirloin as it came around. Mostly likely because the top sirloin isn’t the most fanciest cut of meat. That said, it was their loss! Nelore’s top sirloin was packed full of flavor and very juicy. Every piece of meat that came around was cooked to a perfect medium rare. Even though it was a sirloin, it was flavorful and juicy and I was asking for more!
4. Bottom Sirloin (Flank Steak)
Tender, juicy, and packed full of spices with a punch exemplified by a nice char on the outside. Make sure you ask for an edge piece so you can enjoy that wonderful char.
Ribeye’s are naturally packed full of flavor. This is my favorite cut of meat when grilling. However, Nelore seemed to ignore this cut and serve it up bland. It’s 5 on my list because, well, it’s hard to screw up a ribeye as long as you don’t overcook it; which they did not.
6. Pork Ribs
This happened to be the first piece of meat I ate as it was the first piece of meat that came by my table. It was interesting that after sitting for 1.5 hours, I did not see it pass again so I am glad I got it when I did.
Their ribs were cooked perfectly. Tender, but not “falling off the bone” as that usually indicates overcooked ribs. However, the meat on these ribs where easily able to be pulled off the bone. The BBQ sauce they use on them is good, and for a Brazilian Steakhouse, it is about as good as can be expected. They’re not your ribs you’ll find at your local BBQ joint.
7. Chicken Breast Wrapped in Bacon
This one surprised me a bit. I was expecting a dry chicken breast, but the meat was very moist. It did lack flavor outside of the natural chicken and bacon flavors. Not something I would choose on a second visit.
8. Chicken Drumstick
Nothing special. It tasted as good as the name indicates. Not worth filling your belly on unless you REALLY love chicken drumsticks.
9. Filet Mignon Wrapped in Bacon
I was expecting more with this one. The size is comparable to a chicken nugget, and lacked any flavor whatsoever. Even though it’s tenderloin, pass it up.
10. Parmesan Pork
Even though it’s ranked in the bottom half of my list, I believe this one has the most potential if they would just learn to not overcook the pork. The Parmesan flavor was good, but the dryness of the pork really makes this a put-off.
11. Picanha (“House Special”)
The Picanha was the most served meat. They made a point to say it is the House Special which made almost everyone get a piece. It is a sirloin so don’t be fooled. This sirloin, however, was dry and not as flavorful as their regular top sirloin. Don’t make the mistake almost every patron was making. Get the Top Sirloin; not the House Special!
12. Chicken Sausage
Good, but not worth your appetite; especially when you’re paying $39 a person!
Your standard Chorizo. Nothing fancy, and nothing really to write about. This is a permanent pass in my book.
14. Beef Ribs
If presentation was the only variable, then the Beef Ribs would probably be ranked number 1. However, this meat was VERY bland, and not worth even thinking about getting a slice.
15. Filet Mignon
I ranked this last simply because it was disqualified…they took it off the menu! Nelore, if you’re reading this, you should update your site because my wife was expecting this, and only this, and you failed to deliver!
In addition to the meats, Nelore Churrascaria offers a salad bar. Their salad bar does not compete, on any level, with that of Texas de Brazil, and I would highly recommend avoiding it at all costs and saving all your room for the meat. The only exception would possibly be the fried zucchini. That was excellent.
For dessert, we had the chocolate layered cake. In between cake is chocolate mouse. I must say this piece of cake was excellent and really compliments the salty dinner you’re going to get from the meats.
Their coffee was so-so.
Nelore Churrascaria Winter Park’s Service
Our reservation was for 7pm to which I recommend reservations for Friday and Saturday nights. We arrived slightly late, around 7:15pm. It took about 5 minutes before anyone would greet us at the door. Then, when we were finally greeted, it took a few more minutes to set a table.
Our server was very helpful, especially in picking out a nice wine pairing. Definitely two thumbs up here. I also like how they all serve all tables. This approach kept our glasses full, and attention high.
I was disappointed with the personality of the Gauchos (the men who serve you your meat). I guess it can become mind-numbing and monotonous. But, that is their job!
Nelore Churrascaria Winter Park’s Ambiance
They certainly do pack in the tables in the limited amount of space they have. The decor was nice and definitely superior to Texas de Brazil.
It was loud but not too loud that my wife and I could not talk to each other.
I did like, however, the openness of the entry.
Bottom Line: Save your time and money, and give your taste buds something better; they deserve it! It will be some time before I go back (if I do), and it won’t be at full price because there is no way Nelore Churrascaria is worth $39 a person.