Michelle and I have been looking for an opportunity to try the rodizio-style restaurant that opened downtown for a few years, but we never found the right time to go until this past week. Master of Whiskey Robert Sickler was hosting a pairing dinner at Boi Na Braza alongside 5 different blends of Johnnie Walker. Overall the chance to have an enormous amount of meat with the chance to taste different sipping whiskeys was too good to pass up.
Our overall reviews:
Boi Na Braza
(We only had our cell phones as cameras. oops!)
Follow the jump for all the gory and gluttonous details.
To start, I avoided breakfast and lunch, instead concentrated on
drinking plenty of water to make sure I would be able to try all of the
different offerings that were going to be available in the evening.
evening started off with a trip to the salad bar, which is a slight
misnomer at Boi Na Braza. The salad bar contains everything that is not
cooked meat. Mashed potatoes, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, palm hearts,
cheeses, and finally salad were just a few of the items that could be
found on the "please don’t just eat meat" bar. I had the mushrooms, broccoli and a few other items that were all very well prepared as a
warm up course. Shel had a salad, a large selection of cheese, and a healthy serving of smooth and buttery mashed potatos. The nice thing about the salad bar was you could take
as much or little as you wanted and keep it to go along with the main
The salad course was paired with what could be considered a Johnnie Red
Bull: Johnnie Walker Red, on the rocks, with a splash of guarana soda.
The soda sweetened the scotch which still provided a nice light peat
flavor on the finish once the sweet faded. A great matching on the
first course and we still had 4 to go.
Up next was what the menu referred to as the beef and lamb course. We
had 7 different cuts of beef and 2 types of lamb brought to our table.
If you have never experienced rodizio style dining, let me explain. Men in gaucho pants and ascots, carrying large skewers of meat, come to your table and
ask if you would like whatever they are carrying. So if you would like
a piece of the filet mignon, you take a little pair of tongs, tell them
what level of done-ness you prefer and they slice off a bit that you
grab and transfer to your plate. This then repeats itself until you are
unable to move.
Michelle found the combination of meat, swords, large
knives, and all male wait staff to be a little too masculine for her
tastes – I believe she used the word "primitive." I didn’t notice as I think I had started to slip into a meat
coma in the second course. This was paired with Johnnie Walker Black
Label and the alcohol in the scotch was a nice compliment to the fat in
the meat. Another very nice pairing, although the garlic
steak destroyed any possibility of tasting what you were drinking, but
the house special was not to be missed.
Round three saw found me starting to slow down. There was no longer the exuberance to try everything as soon as it showed up at the table
knowing that I could always request anything we had already tried. This
worked out well as this was the pork and poultry selection. Sadly there
were only a few types of preparations in this course and I think it was
misleading to have it listed separately. Luckily beef ribs and a second
round of the last course were available to compliment the chicken leg
and pork chop that covered off this course. It was served up with
Johnnie Walker Green label, which Michelle preferred with a twist of
orange and a few ice cubes. It also paired nicely with the beef
offerings and would probably be very suitable for poultry if it is
Now, dessert. Michelle likes to judge a restaurant solely on how they do
in this her favorite course. Sadly, all of the goodwill that had been
generated up to this point starts to fall off. The choices were,
according to the menu, a papaya creme or a chocolate mouse. Now, as
most people are not on a fixed 5 course menu, my guess is that dessert
in not something the servers usually need to know anything about. We
asked, as always, if there were nuts in either of the offerings and we were assured they were nut free. We ordered one of each to make sure we would have as many different
options as possible. First the good: the papaya creme had a nice balance
between the papaya and did not end up too sweet although it was drenched in chocolate sauce. It was
a very nice end to my dinner.
Michelle, on the other had, tried the
chocolate cake and it arrived with what looked like the outside edge covered
in ground nuts. I took a quick taste and they had the texture and taste of
walnuts. We asked the server to confirm with the kitchen that there
were no nuts and left said he would go and check the box. He returned
and said that the box did not list nuts in the ingredients, but that if
we felt those were nuts we should just not eat that part of the cake.
No offer to switch to the other dessert, no offer to remove the
suspected nuts from the table, overall not a good answer for anyone
with a deadly nut allergy.
The dessert drink was Johnnie Walker Gold label served from the
freezer but arrived at room temperature. A little longer in the cold
should have imparted a bit more creaminess and viscosity that would
have paired well with the papaya.
Lastly, we had Johnnie Walker Blue label with a few cheeses and grapes.
Since we still had room after splitting a dessert, we opted to have the
cheese and fruit while most of the others in the group went with just
the finishing drink. Johnnie Walker Blue is a smooth, easy to drink blend with no
component being less than 18 years old. The complexity and depth was
surprising for its lack of smoke or peaty-ness. I would have expected a
heavier amount of the thicker scotch flavors, like peat, iodine or seaweed, but instead found a nice
well rounded flavor that had more honey and sweet characteristics. I’m now considering adding a few nice blended items to the
home bar to complement my current selection of single malts.
Our Master of Whiskey had a bonus bottle with him and we tried the enjoyable Johnnie Walker Swing. The bottle was created to move with the rolling movements of a ship in the 1930s, when large oceanliners were often crossing between the US and Europe.
Overall, it’s sad that one thing can change a dining experience, but when you have a customer who is deathly allergic to nuts, finding an unsympathetic staff is one of the few things that can keep us from returning to a place. Otherwise, Boi Na Braza had excellent freshly cooked beef and a great salad bar, but sadly the final note is that we will probably not return as the fear of a hospital trip outweighs the positives.
As a final note, we had a bagpiper. Jeff Linn, our Columbus-based bagpiper (think Johnnie Walker Scotch, not Boi Na Braza), chose to lead us across Fountain Square to Nicholson’s, with bagpipes jauntily playing. We had our own little parade, which was a fantastic top-off to a generally enjoyable evening.
A quick cell phone video of our march across the Square:
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