Mix Flavor Brazilian Grill

Mastering the hearty, diverse, and frugal pleasures of churrasco
By MC SLIM JB  |  July 5, 2010


The churrascaria is a great friend to the tight-fisted carnivore. Brazilians are spectacular at high-temperature grilling of well-salted, marinated meats on skewers, and generally serve them at very attractive prices. All-you-can-eat churrascarias run about $25 a head; you can load up again and again, aided by servers who bring the skewers right to your table. By contrast, weigh-your-plate places charge a flat fee per pound for only what you take from the big buffet of stewed meat dishes, legumes, starches, salads, and other sides, plus any grilled meats. Mix Flavor Brazilian Grill, a new churrascaria located near Somerville's Union Square, falls into this second camp, charging a mere $5.99 per pound.

Many Brazilian hot-buffet dishes are stews that don't suffer much on a steam table. Get a little scoop of everything you see: some julienned, barely cooked greens; surprisingly flavorful long-grain white rice; tasty stewed pinto beans; feijoada, a rich black-bean stew loaded with tasty pork bits (including bacon, ribs, hocks, and tails); farofa (a powdery, grain-like preparation of cassava flour) with sausage; carne de panela, a fine beef and root-vegetable stew; chicken sautéed with brightly flavored orange peppers; some green salad and pickles; a sunny-side-up fried egg; cigar-shaped rice croquettes; perhaps a chunk of fried yucca. Judiciously scooped, you have loaded up one heaping plate. Ask questions if you're uncertain what's what: the staff's English is decent and they're very friendly and helpful. Get another empty plate.

Head to the back, to the churrasqueiro's station. Again, get some of everything: the salty, fantastic charred-but-rare sirloin; some linguiça (a loose, coarse-grained pork sausage quite unlike the Portuguese version); a bit of superb, lightly fat-rimmed pork loin; some liverish but delicious chicken hearts (disturbingly like tiny human organs); chicken-breast chunks wrapped with bacon to avoid drying out; a meaty beef rib or two. Keep a tight rein on how he slices or slides these off the skewers — his default is to go heavy — and modestly fill your second plate. Let them weigh your plate(s); they will bring your check later. Order a drink, perhaps a sugary, jitter-inducing Brazilian guaraná soda ($1.50), or a passion-fruit nectar ($2). Take a seat in the long, spare, scarlet-walled dining room and tuck in. If your check exceeds $15 and you finish it all, you're officially a trencherman. But don't knock yourself out: even a single, carefully laden plateful at Mix will still be one of more flavorful, diversely composed, budget-friendly meals you will find in Boston.

Mix Flavor Brazilian Grill, located at 445 Somerville Avenue, in Somerville, is open Monday–Saturday, 11 am–11 pm, and Sunday, 11 am–10 pm. Call 617.718.8000.

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