Oliveira’s did something to me. It made me forget all about this website and this Untitled Bites thing. It made me forget to take pictures of my food on my crappy iPhone camera so you guys can drool over the borderline-blurry deliciousness that I encounter. It made me come back a second time the next day. It gave me the itis.
We had Brazilian churrascarias where I grew up in Northern VA, but there were downsides – they were expensive as hell (not that you’d expect it to be cheap when you’re damn near swimming in grilled meat), and they were only all you can eat. Have you seen me? Maybe you have, maybe you haven’t, but I’m not exactly a large person and I will never get my money’s worth at an all you can eat buffet, no matter how good the food is. I am the queen of asking for food to-go and turning leftovers into something incredible – something which wasn’t possible at the spots like Fogo de Chao or Malibu Grill (what y’all know about that one? ha).
Where Oliveira’s wins is that it’s slightly less expensive, more casual (valet parking my ass), and you have the option for all you can eat or you can pay by the pound and take what you don’t eat home with you. Yes! East Boston also has a large Brazilian population so this shit is the real deal. Yes, it’s salty. Yes, your meal will be carb heavy and you will put on a few pounds. But it’s so good. The salad bar has some great cold and hot options, including salads, fruit, various types of rice (one day I went they had a rice with chicken in it, and the next day a rice with various meats like sausage stir fried into it, in addition to the basic yellow and white rices), beans, stewed meats like oxtail, fried fish, sometimes a salmon in a passion fruit cream sauce, mashed potatoes, yuca, over easy eggs (whoever discovered the art of cooking an egg with the yolk still runny gets infinite praise from me) grilled or steamed vegetables, etc., you get the idea. Then when you’re done with that part, you walk your plate on over to the grill area and just tell the guy what you want and watch as he slices it off skewers and chops it up and hands it to you. You can choose from a ton of stuff – ribs, sausages (they have chicken, pork, and kielbasa), lamb (I don’t see this often at other Brazilian spots, and their lamb was that perfect balance of fatty and lean, with great flavor), chicken wrapped in bacon, various cuts of beef, chicken hearts, etc. The sausages had crisp skins and juicy insides, the chicken hearts were pleasantly chewy, the salmon was light and the cream sauce not-too-fruity, which made me happy. The white rice tasted of that mystery ingredient that the Brazilians have found that make their basic white rice taste more amazing than mine, which I know is something pork-based. Whatever. It’s delicious.
You sit. Or you take it to go. And you eat. And you thank whatever deity you praise for putting Brazilians on our earth. And you wonder how their women are so notoriously good looking if they eat this stuff all the time. And if you’re like me, you come back the next day to ponder the exact same things.
Other important things to note that I can’t speak about because I didn’t partake: they have beer/wine, maybe liquor, I didn’t notice since I was on a sober kick. They also have a delivery menu. Their dessert case is filled with things that look potentially amazing, but who has room for all of that? They also have a wide selection of imported candy that fascinates the hell out of me, but I have been too full to purchase.
Oliveira’s, 297 Chelsea St., East Boston, MA