Eli and his Brazilian friend recently discovered this new restaurant, which just opened in TriBeCa. Last week, Eli and I went to check it out, and it was charming and fun with excellent food, so I wanted to share it with all of you.
Leo Funderburk, an American model who has worked for a long time in the restaurant business, was originally going to open the restaurant as an expansion of Casa, which his Brazilian ex-wife runs. Instead, he decided to make it a separate entity, though I'm not clear on whether the name is in fact Barzinho, or the name used in several articles and on Yelp (Leo's Bar & Restaurant), which the owner says is easier for people to understand. I personally prefer Barzinho, which is what the restaurant has been using for advertising. Read more about Leo and the restaurant here.
Located right next door to Plataforma TriBeCa, a fancy churrascaria which charges upwards of US$50 per person, this restaurant is more moderately priced and more relaxed, with home style cooking and a family-like atmosphere. It's small but cozy, with simple furnishings and great Brazilian music. Also, on Thursdays, Chris Barreto and her band play live samba, forro, chorinho and bossa nova. The cook is an extremely sweet mineira, who scolded us for not warning her beforehand that we were Brazilian (I apparently fooled her) so she could "caprichar um pouco." Leo, the owner, was chatting with everyone and made us feel very welcome.
The restaurant has standard Brazilian fare, with delicious salgadinhos for appetizers (think coxinha and camarão ao alho e óleo) and great main courses. There's feijoada, of course, but Eli and I had the moqueca and the peixe frito, which were both amazing. One of my favorite things is a drink the owner invented -- a mixture of Brugal (rum from the Dominican Republic) and Guarana Antartica. While in theory, it's kind of an odd combination, in practice, it's surprisingly delightful.
The only two downsides are that it's cash only and slightly understaffed, so the service is a bit slow. They should theoretically start taking credit cards soon, and it's possible service is better during more crowded meal times. Overall, it's a wonderful way to matar saudades or to just eat some really delicious Brazilian food.
For more info on Barzinho, click here.