CHUR 9 A
Pampas brings Brazil's extraordinary barbecue to Birmingham.
BY ANNABEL COHEN
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANGIE BAAN
razil's culinary marvel called chur-
rasco has finally come to Michigan.
The famous barbecue style at
Pampas in Birmingham makes all-you-can-
eat a true challenge.
As in Brazil, Pampas cooks on special machin-
ery. Enormous grills with three-foot-long steel
espetos (skewers) sear tender marinated beef,
lamb and fowl.
Like all churrascarias, Pampas won't give you
a menu. There's only one choice: everything.
And it's fixed-price: $26 for lunch and $36 for
dinner. The food is served style, or all-you-can-
eat, with each appetizer, side dish and dessert
chosen for its compatibility with the star of the
Sit down and immediately you're served
appetizers. The main three are: pao de queijo
(cheese puffs made with or tapioca flour), tiny
garbanzo fritters and bread-crumb-coated, deep-
fried banana halves. It's easy to fill up on these,
but don't. There's too much more.
After the appetizers, there's the cold buffet,
a staple of this style of eatery. Four-sided
refrigerated displays include salads and dress-
ings, smoked salmon, cheeses and hearts of
palm, artichoke hearts and much more.
Next, make yourself a plate of feijoada, the
national beans-and-rice dish of Brazil. Don't
take too much; it's very satisfying.
Then comes the meat. Turn the business-
sized card on your table to the green side.
Your pasador (runner) starts carving the first of
a least a dozen different types of meat and fowl.
They only give you a little at a time — a few
bites. And as long as your card is green, the food
just keeps coming. Turn your card to red and
you've told your server you've had enough.
And just when you think you can't stuff
another savory morsel into your mouth, there's
dessert. Pampas offers a diverse assortment,
ranging from flan (the Brazilian version of creme
caramel) and passion fruit mousse to internation-
al favorites like chocolate cake and tiramisu.
Pampas boasts an impressive wine list and
premium bar. Brazilian drink specialties include
five styles of cachaca (made from sugar cane),
authentic (cachaca, lime juice and sugar), (the
national soft drink of Brazil) and others.
I believe Pampas should be savored. Eating
here is more than just food; it's an experience.
Make an evening of Pampas, if possible. ❑
260 N. Old Woodward Ave.. Birmingham
Dinner: 5-10 p.m. Monday-Sunday
Lunch: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday
Cocktails, Appetizers: 2-5 p.m. Monday-Friday
Cost: fixed priced: S36 dinner, $26 lunch
Above: A "pasador" slides barbecue chicken onto your plate.
Right Jumbo asparagus and smoked salmon are just a few of the
plentiful appetizers and cold buffet.
Above Right: An assortment of desserts.
JNPLATINUM • MARCH 2005 •