43 Carmine Street
New York, NY
It is with a little irony that we went to a middle eastern restaurant on a street called “Little Brazil” in Midtown Manhattan. Up and down the street there were Brazilian restaurants and stores, but we were meeting a friend who suggested a Middle Eastern place, so we only could look wistfully at the signs advertising Açaí smoothies and the like. I took us a trip to Greenwich Village to get our fill of Brazilian food, when we ended up at Berimbau. We got a little turned around on our way to the restaurant (we went without the aid of smartphones at the time – can you believe it!), but we eventually found our way. The restaurant itself is tinier than tiny – with two rows of tables (probably seating for 20 or so) and exposed brick walls with a few Brazilian berimbaus on display.
The nicely edited menu contained many of our favorites as well as updated takes on some classics. We started out with one of our iconic favorite, Pão de Queijo ($6.95), little cassava flour rolls filled with Catipury cheese. We were the first diners there, by necessity of making an 8PM show that night. It was a tiny bit awkward, as the servers stared us down while we twiddled our thumbs waiting for our Pães, which turned out to be quite good.
For entrees, M ordered the Strogonoff de Frango ($17.95). The Stroganoff consisted of chicken breast in a mushroom cream sauce and came with rice and shoestring potatoes. The sauce itself was very flavorful with the aroma of mushrooms, but seemed like it was missing a little bit of a kick. L ordered the Bobo de Camarão (18.95) – a traditional Bahian fish stew with Shrimp and yucca. It came garnished with a heaping helping of cilantro, which is always a plus, and had a little bit of spice, which we found missing from M’s dish.
Berimbau filled something of an interesting void for us – an upscale Brazilian restaurant that was not an oversized steakhouse or a tiny mom and pop cafe. Of course, there is nothing wrong with either option, but definitely a Brazilian dining option we lack in Chicago. Berimbau, perhaps at a little bit of a later hour, would certainly be perfect for a date night out.