Saturday, March 11, 2006

Boa Nova Rodizio Grill House

Boa Nova Rodizio Grill House
6 Charles St. West
Kitchener, Ontario

We had read many other fairly positive reviews for this place over the last few month, so it had been near the top of our "to visit" list for awhile. However, being an all-you-can-eat type of place, we decided to wait for that most opportune time to visit; when we were hungry enough to stuff ourselves silly. After all, these types of places surely must emphasize quantity over quality, right? Wrong.

First, the technical details. There are two separate features to the restaurant. First is the hot and cold buffet, which was quite good as far as buffets go. Hot items included two soups, sauteed mushrooms, bean casserole, plain and fried rice, and a few deep fried dumplings (probably potato and seafood - I couldn't tell but they were very tasty) On the cold side there was seafood pasta salad, grilled calamari, smoked salmon, shrimp, tuna pate and various deli meats and cheeses. A nice selection, well presented and constantly refilled, and everything looked very fresh. Nothing sat on the steam table for very long, and a lot of attention was paid to keep things clean and orderly. I was impressed, although most of my buffet experience has been at Chinese and Indian buffets where the emphasis has been on, well, not quality. One can order the buffet on its own, but that kind of defeats the purpose of coming to this place. Because you'd be missing out on the main event - the rodizio grill.

In the kitchen, there is a large gas grill with numerous (28?) skewers grilling various cuts of meat. It varies depending on the day and whether it's lunch or dinner time, but when we went on a Saturday evening we were offered eight different meats plus pineapple. I'm not sure how they kept track of all the tables (since obviously every table started at a different time) but we were offered all eight in order before getting repeats

  1. Chicken drumsticks - crispy on the outside tender and juicy on the inside, not dried out as I expected at all
  2. Bacon wrapped chicken - more bacon than chicken, so it was a bit salty
  3. Pepper steak - heavy on the peppercorn rub, it was cooked to a medium well which was a bit more than my liking
  4. Chorizo sausage - meh
  5. Garlic steak - great flavour, overcooked as above
  6. Pork loin - great, if you can get piece that hasn't been attacked and dried out by the grill
  7. Lamb roast - cooked properly, didn't have the strong lamb taste/smell that can affect poorly cooked roasts
  8. Top sirloin roast - by this time I think I was too full to appreciate this
  9. Pineapple - roasted on the skewers then coated in cinnamon and sugar - delicious, juicy and tart, perfect to complement the pounds of meat just consumed - I had them come back with many more slices before the night was over
The whole rodizio concept revolves around the gauchos, whose job is to transport the skewers of meat to your table, where they remove it from the skewer or slice it onto your plate. You're given a card with a red side and a green side - green side up means "yes, please" more meat, while the red side means "no, thanks", I'm still digesting.

Overall, the service was very good for a place that claims to be casual dining. We were met immediately at the door, offered our table and an explaination of the restaurant. Plates were cleared quickly, and we were never left wanting for more meat for long. The gauchos were attentive and tried to keep track of which items we liked to bring back (more pineapple please!).

For dinner, buffet and skewers of meat is $35 per person. One can just have the buffet for less (perhaps $20 ish?) but why bother? It's not particularly cheap, but a unique and worthwhileexperience.


Melle said...

The "pretty well done" is the standard there, but a friend who went a few weeks ago said that if you request your meat more rare, they will bring it that way. When we tried Boa Nova the other week, we made that request for a couple of the meats (especially the sea salt-rubbed steak - forget what they called it), and I got my medium-rare, and my friend got his quite rare, just how he likes it.

(And really, they can never bring enough of that roasted pineapple...)

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Anonymous said...

Overall not a fan. Not bad but not great either. They have a great idea and high potential to be GREAT but quality of the meat was just ok for what they charge and side dishes were very weak. Don't go if you don't like or don't eat meat! Nothing else to order since menu is set. Salad bar available was equvilant to a hotel resuraunt salad bar. Very minimal and quite cheap. If I had paid less it may have been worth it but next time I was out for a higher end dinner this would not be my choice.