My favorite happy hours are those with terrific food specials. Sure, drink deals are essential, but they're ubiquitous. Discounted quality eats are harder to come by, which is what makes Texas de Brazil's new happy hour so unique.
The Brazilian steak house---with locations in eight states---is delicious but pricey for a regular meal. In traditional, southern Brazil style, servers circle the dining area, cutting and serving a serious selection of meats table-side. During happy hour, the bar menu---four options of mixed-meat plates---is half-price.
My friend and I grabbed a seat at the caramel-colored granite bar and immediately felt at home in the comfortable, almost tropical, atmosphere, featuring red-cushioned patio-like seating and a large, oval bench area.
After the bartender checked our "party passes" (as he called our driver's licenses), he rattled off the TK# beers available as if they were the names of his brothers and sisters. He was quick to bring us drinks: a glass of Merlot for my friend, a Caipirinha for me. The traditional cocktail (translation: "drink of farmers") is a tangy, summery mix of ice, muddled lime wedges, and sugar combined with cachaça, Brazil's national sugarcane liquor.
We chose the plate of chicken breast, garlic sirloin, and sausage---all cooked over an open-flame grill---for just $6.25. The bartender happily doubled our order of chicken when we said we didn't eat sausage. As we waited, he brought us a basket of cheese bread, a nice contrast to the sweetness of my cocktail.
The food arrived within 10 minutes, a heaping pile of perfectly cooked meat with a side of chimichurri. The sirloin had the ideal tenderness, and the chicken, marinated in Brazilian herbs, olive oil, and garlic, and wrapped in bacon, had the juiciness all home cooks aspire to. As good as it was, however, we could hardly finish the plate. That so-called "appetizer" ended up serving as my dinner, as well---and what a delicious one it was.
Happy hour runs Monday through Friday, from 5 to 7 p.m in the bar area. It includes half-priced bar menu appetizers; $3 domestic beer; $5 glasses of wine, well drinks, and Caipirinhas; and $7 martinis.8390 Northfield Blvd., 720-374-2100
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