Meat, on a sword, at your table...Pampas Brazilian Grille inside the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood is not your average restaurant in a mall. Pampas serves up something different, not just in the food, but in how they serve it.
Fresh grilled meats are served on a long skewer and brought to your table to be carved tableside. There are 11 different meats making their way around the room, usually three or four at a time.
The finest cuts of meat are prepared with traditional Brazilian spices and spit-roasted over a brick Rodizio to perfection. Meat selections include picanha (noble sirloin), which is typically the most popular cut. There is also a chicken skewer that comes to your table, perfectly seasoned with hints of a secret blend of Brazilian spices, rock salt, and red and yellow peppers. The filet mignon is covered with parmesan cheese. Filet and cheese? Now we're talking. Other choices include costela de boi, slow cooked beef ribs, chicken hearts (a Brazilian delicacy), and a juicy ham and pineapple combo.
One highlight would have to be the cordeiro. This tender-cooked lamb dish is rich in flavor and served with Pampas' house-made balsamic reduction sauce. For vegetarians, there are also a variety of legumes that can be grilled to order, as well as a variety of chilled selections and sides.
The best way to go at Pampas is with the Rodizio, with meat or seafood options. A parade of various meats and seafood items are marched to your table. You also get access to a buffet-style salad and side bar. This is a great asset to Pampas.
When dining at Pampas, a small token is placed on the table with red and green sides. Flip the token to green when you want the meat to come to your table, flip the token to red when you have had enough and the gracious meat carriers will leave you to enjoy your meal.
For those not interested in the Rodizio, there is also an à la carte menu. Entrées are accompanied with sides like Brazilian rice, black bean stew, fried bananas, rice croquettes, Brazilian cheese bread and Brazilian pastels (dumplings).
In addition to meat items, the salad bar offers a number of chilled food selections, including sliced beets, hearts of palm, artichoke, zucchini, fresh mozzarella and tomato, salads and various antipasto-like items. Try couscous two ways, an assortment of feta cheese, olives and marinated mushrooms.
The casual-dining restaurant features a well-rounded wine list. With the meat Rodizio, our waiter suggested the Franciscan Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 out of Napa Valley. The wine paired quite nicely with the various meats and sides.
A cocktail list includes caipirinha, a traditional Brazilian beverage served with ypioca, cacheeca, lime and sangria, made with red or white crème de Bordeaux and fresh fruit.
The menu also features a sound-it-out phonetic spelling so you don't have to feel embarrassed when you try to order the Linguica (Ling-We-Sah) or Fraldinha (Frall-Ding-Yah).
When dining at Pampas Brazilian Grille, be prepared for a little something different. About 30 percent of staff members are Brazilian. Our Brazilian waiter said the cooking reminds him of home. That's a good sign.
The delicious meat offerings, great salad and side bar, paired with the casual-dining environment and simple, rustic décor is why Pampas should be a must-visit on your vacation "to do" list.