Monday, April 28, 2014

Grill from Ipanema

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The Grill From Ipanema is a piece of Brazil in the Adam’s Morgan neighborhood, anchored on the 20-year history and legacy of serving the best of the Brazilian cuisine has to offer.  The Grill From Ipanema is the only authentic Brazilian restaurant in town that is family owned and operated.  The Grill From Ipanema is named after the famous song and Grammy Award winner (1965) “The Girl from Ipanema” by Anthonio Carlos Jobin and Vinicius de Moraes. The inspiration behind the name evokes beauty, elegance and a dream. Closest Metro is Adams Morgan-Woodley Park.

We were invited to a VIP dinner to sample some of Chef Rogerio Aparecido De Silva's exotic Spring/Summer menu creations paired with Brazilian cocktails and wine.  First, we were treated to a Brazilian favorite at the bar - caipirinha made with cachaça, freshly squeezed limes and sugar that is then well shaken over ice cubes.  I could easily drink a half-dozen of these tart drinks, they are so refreshing and not overly sweet as other cocktails can tend to be.

While sipping on our drinks, we nibbled on famous Brazilian cheese bread rolls made with tapioca and cheese known as Paozinho de Queijo.  These little bites are addictive and very easy to eat.  I had to refrain from popping too many in my mouth so as to not get full before the main dinner began.

We then moved to the dining tables and were served a salad called Abacate Maraja with avocado, shrimp, tomato, cilantro, onion, green pepper, and homemade dressing.  I enjoyed the creamy dressing with the shrimp and avocado.

A peek inside the chicken croquette.
Next, we sampled a trio of fried croquettes served with the restaurant's famous spicy sauces made with mustard and jalapeno peppers.  Of the three fried bites we tried - Bolinho de Bacalhau (Cod fish), Coxinha de Galinha (chicken & cheese), and Bolinho de Feijoada (black bean stew with pork and collard greens) - my favorite was the chicken croquette.

Last of the 'first course' items, we were served a traditional family favorite called Tapioca with Casquinha de Siri.  A yucca pancake was stuffed with crab meat sauteed with olive oil, garlic, tomato, cilantro, onion, and greens.  The pancake was very unique and the stuffing had great flavor, yet would have tasted better if the dish was hotter in temperature.

I then transitioned to white wine to accompany the main entree dishes, while Keith enjoyed another caipirinha.  I liked the Tilapia Assada ao Molho de Camaroes - baked tilapia fillet in a shrimp sauce, served on a bed of sweet potato mash.  The combination of baby shrimp and sweet potato was a little too sweet for Keith's palate, but I did not mind.

A favorite of Keith's was the Brazilian Paella.  A wonderful mixture of shrimp, mussels, squid, fish, clams and rice was prepared in a spicy green sauce of cilantro, watercress, jalapenos, green pepper, garlic, curry powder, white wine and olive oil, and then served in a clay pot.  The presentation was lovely, and the green curry sauce had quite a kick.

My favorite dish of the night was the Moqueca de Peixe a Baiana.  A fish stew prepared in a blend of palm oil and coconut milk with fresh cilantro, tomato, onion, scallions and green pepper. This stew was bubbling hot and also served in a clay pot.  White rice and yucca puree was served on the side.

Lastly, we were presented with what one might think of as the typical Brazilian dish - Picanha.  Grilled steak (cap of rump), served with potato and hearts of palm.  The potatoes were crispy and seasoned with lots of rosemary and parsley.

To end our meal, we closed with a dessert of melted Brazilian chocolate bonbons served with vanilla ice cream and peanuts known as Brigadeiro de Colher.  This simple dessert was reminiscent of childhood sundaes, and the perfect way to end our traditional Brazilian dinner.

We tried many authentic dishes from various regions of Brazil that I've never had before.  It was great to taste something different than the all-you-can-eat-meat offerings at other Brazilian steakhouse restaurants.  The pride and honor of the family behind the Grill from Ipanema comes through in the hospitality and service.  Check out the new menu from award-winning Chef Rogerio at the Grill from Ipanema beginning in June.  Happy Hour specials as well as Brunch are also currently available.

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