>> Brazilian Plate House | Eat the World Los Angeles

Wednesday 4 May 2022

Brazilian Plate House

Torrance Blvd. facade

COVID-19 UPDATE: Ordering is done at a walk-up window, the only seating area is under a tent outside.

You could do an entire photo project or essay about businesses that have made their homes in former Wienerschnitzel A-frame buildings. This one in Torrance went out of business sometime in early 2012 and was then a barbecue restaurant for a couple years before turning into its current iteration as a bright green Brazilian spot.

While many Wienerschnitzels have closed, there are still quite a few around so it is hard to say that their food is not desirable. But no matter what you think of it, what they got right were these buildings that perfectly fit the lifestyle of Los Angeles. They mimic the walk-up burger stand while adding a little architectural flare, and it is wonderful that places like Brazilian Plate House and Mexican and banh mi spots in the San Gabriel Valley have enhanced rather than hid these buildings.

Full order

A small tented area is great for sunny afternoons with cool Torrance breezes, but since all food is packed to go no matter where you eat it, it also makes sense as a pickup for beach days if you are taking advantage of the South Bay. The menu is large and can go meaty or leafy as desired, with everything in between.

Weirdly, given the name of the restaurant, the plates are actually the weakest part of the experience here. As any good Brazilian meal should include black beans and white rice, the plates are a way to get both of these on your table, but unfortunately they are just not right here. There is a reason Brazilians eat rice everyday and that is because their rice is so damn good, laced with garlic and onions and very oily. The rice here is dry and tasteless.

Picanha plate combo

The beans are not that bad, but are just ok and lackluster compared to the porky dish that most chefs are proud of serving. You also get a drink, fries, very spicy salsa, and ground yuca flour known as farofa. In the picanha plate (above) the prime cut was definitely the star of the show but was not medium rare as ordered and was just about average for this cut of meat.

You can also get "FIT" versions of these plates, which substitute the sides for boiled yuca, grilled zucchini, and salad. To be honest, those will probably satisfy someone trying to eat healthy a lot more than the standard sides.

X-tudo tri tip sandwich

Thankfully the non-plate bites here are much better. It seems a more rewarding choice to put your meat orders on a sandwich, like the x-tudo tri tip (above). The letter X is often used on sandwiches and burgers because in Portuguese it sounds a lot like the English word "cheese" and signifies the inclusion of that. Tudo as you can probably guess means everything, which here includes a fried egg, bacon and ham, tomato, lettuce, and mayonnaise. Tudo.

This full complement of ingredients, textures, and tastes is all between a crispy toasted bun, which rounds everything out. You can also get the picanha on a sandwich, or sausage, chicken, ham + cheese, or shredded beef.

Coxinha com catupiry

Even better was the superb coxinha com catupiry (above) a fried salgadinho that takes you straight back to a lanchonete on the streets of Rio. This drumstick-shaped snack is full of shredded chicken and creamy catupiry cheese surrounded in wheat flour dough and mashed potato. Once the shape is perfect, it is battered and deep fried just a bit for a thin, crispy shell.

This is probably about as perfect as you can find a coxinha in Los Angeles and next time a box full of them will be purchased instead of just one. If you prefer cheese-less fried snacks, they come in smaller versions sold in a portion of four.

Mousse de maracuja (passion fruit mousse)

Like many Brazilian restaurants, you can get feijoada on Wednesdays and Saturdays, but given how mediocre the beans were this might be skipped. Always happy to be wrong, please mention it in the comments if that usually wonderful dish is actually worth enjoying at Brazilian Plate House.

You cannot go wrong with the full menu of desserts in the meantime, including this mousse de maracuja (above) which was small but hit the spot. The full flavor of passion fruit takes a bit to hit your tongue, but when it does it is really satisfying. A perfect companion to those cool salty South Bay breezes.


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