city fare
Jan. 28, 2005

Authentic Brazilian cuisine
by Lisa Waterman Gray

Sabor Brasil – A Taste of Brazil, 7148 W. 80th St., Overland Park, is the kind of place that you want to see succeed.

The chef hugs familiar customers, the waitress calls frequent patrons by name, toddlers read magazines on the floor and Brazilian visitors pass a guitar around on Saturday afternoons. Televised soccer reigns supreme here, and rustic huts surround the bar and register.

It’s a restaurant spawned from several love affairs — the first, between co-owners and spouses, John and Eliana Sedovic. The second, a merger of Eliana’s expertise and delight in creating her country’s classic cuisine, and John’s love of her practiced artistry.

But the Sedovics are learning it takes more than love to make their restaurant successful. They plan to scale back their regular menu and bring in several buffet opportunities during the week to cut down on labor in the kitchen..

For the most part, our food was terrific. However, on our first Saturday evening visit, when the restaurant had served a party of 70 only hours before we arrived, all of that previous effort took its toll on our meal.

Frango a Passarinho ($5.95) was billed as breaded fried chicken pieces cooked with garlic, olive oil and white wine. Tiny bits of tomato, cilantro and onion topped the chicken. We received a generous portion of nicely seasoned chicken pieces that had more bone than meat.

Another portion of the appetizer, served on another Saturday evening, was moist and piping hot, with minimal bones and enough succulent pieces for two people.

Mandioca Frita ($4.55), fried yucca with grated cheese, was a better choice on that first Saturday. The cactus-like plant had an interior texture and flavor that resembled baked potato. We liked the breading, although we found the carrot-based dipping sauce too salty and vinegary for our tastes.

Peixe Sabor Brasil ($16.95), a mildly sweet tilapia ordered by my husband Mark, had been overcooked and arrived tepid. Sautéed squashes, green pepper, onion and cabbage accompanied the fish, although the menu had promised greens. Our waitress did not mention a substitution before Mark’s plate arrived.

Specialty of the house and a national dish, Feijoada Completa ($11.95 at dinner, $7.95 at lunch), held its own on two occasions. It paired black beans with dried beef, smoked sausage and smoked pork ribs in a small crockery bowl, creating a smoky flavor that was both smooth and satisfying.

At our first Saturday visit, a small serving of fluffy, perfectly seasoned rice and unadorned shredded greens accompanied the crock. During a lunch visit my friend, Rick’s, greens were tender and studded with tiny bacon bits that added just the right amounts of saltiness and zest.

The dressing provided a wonderful bite that coaxed a sweat across the bridge of my nose, courtesy of red and cayenne pepper sprinklings. Tiny green onion bits also flavored the aromatic dressing. A switch from iceberg to romaine lettuce would add texture and body to this salad.

The flavor of my Bobo de Camarao ($8.95) reminded me of a wonderful homemade chicken potpie gravy, with some added heat. Half a dozen small shrimp were sautéed with garlic, tiny pieces of onion, bits of sweet red peppers and dots of cilantro.

We sampled two new entrees during our second dinner visit. Bife Rolet ($11.95) was a delectable combination of wafer-thin beef and ham, and creamy mozzarella in three, 1”-wide rolls, topped with caramelized onions. Plump raisins and carrot gratings decorated two scoops of perfectly cooked Greek rice.

Xin Xin de Galinha ($9.95) featured shredded and chunked chicken with a Brazilian spiced vatapa sauce of coconut milk, al dente cooked cashews and peanuts. I didn’t taste much of the red pepper flakes noted on the menu or see any of the anticipated red pepper chunks, although I did enjoy the mellow gravy flavor.

Sweets lovers will likely swoon over Sabor Brasil’s desserts. A large serving of passion fruit cake ($3.25) combined a delicate, sweet body with layers of buttery, creamy frosting and a healthy dose of coconut shreds.

Chocolate mousse cake ($3.25) featured three layers of dense, deep chocolate cake with melt-in-your mouth chocolate frosting. Chocolate sauce drizzles decorated the plate beneath the slice and large, dark chocolate shavings were pressed into the frosting.

Service was uneven. During two visits our waitress was enthusiastic and helpful. On the third, however, a different waitress could not answer several menu questions or tell us about wine options.

For authentic cuisine in a spot that has the neighborhood feel of a Brazilian Cheers, visit Sabor Brasil.

Sabor Brasil

7148 W. 80th St

Overland Park, KS.

913-648-4442

LUNCH: Mon. – Fri., 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

DINNER: Mon. – Sat., 5:00 p.m. to 9 p.m.

(photo by Justin McBee)

Ratings: (out of four stars)

FOOD **1/2
SERVICE **1/2
ATMOSPHERE **1/2
PRICE $$

Key: $-under $10 • $$-$10 to $20 • $$$-over $20

fork, knife, spoon


              
              
                 

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