202 - Colour, Carnival and Carne at the CopaCabana
By Mary Luz Mejia
If jetting to Brazil isn’t in the budget, do the next best thing and drive down to Niagara Falls, Ontario where some of the tastiest Brazilian barbecue awaits with a touch of Carnival thrown in for colour. CopaCabana Brazilian Steak House is the “It” spot, standing head and shoulders above the rest in a tourist town overrun by lacklustre chain food.
The Copa offers an authentic Brazilian churrascaria de rodizio (open-flame rotisserie barbecue) complete with passadore table-side carvers. The passadores offer countless cuts and kinds of meat, all aged and marinated in-house and grilled over live charcoals. A warning to the wise: go hungry or don’t bother.
The rodizio experience starts out gently enough with a few trips to the hot and cold buffet where you can graze on fresh salads or other South American side dishes. This lulls you into the calm before the flavourful all-you-can-eat meat storm. Once the apps are over, you flip your signal card up (green for GO!) and the passadores parade their platters, carving off generous slices of Angus-grade beef, chicken, lamb or pork.
Your taste buds go wild, your eyes say yes, and sadly the stomach starts to say NO! It’s at that point that you consider flipping your card over (Red for Have Mercy!) and loosen your belt a notch.
The parade of succulent meats may be over, but there are still a few temptations left. Your server will present you with some of the moistest corn bread this side of Rio. Even if you manage to dodge that tasty bullet, you shouldn’t miss out on the sugar- and cinnamon-dusted roasted pineapple. It’s the best excuse for a palate cleanser that I’ve ever tasted.
Then get ready for a bass-thumping good time when the Rio Samba Divas take centre stage. Before a live Latin band, they tear up the dance floor with their glitter-adorned samba moves. Participation is recommended because by now you need the workout to burn off few calories, don’t you?
6671 Fallsview Boulevard
photo credits: Ian Watson