2010-11-24 / Restaurant of the Week

Copacabana Brazilian Cuisine

With a population of nearly 200 million people and a land mass ranking 5th largest in the world, Brazil is a country to watch. Brazilian cuisine is as big and bold as the country itself, with so many regional dishes reflecting the diversity of its population. Lucky for us, Copacabana offers the flavors of Brazil in a convenient, comfortable setting, to eat in or to take away. Best of all, you can choose what you like and pay by the pound at this friendly, family eatery and grill.

Ninth year in Astoria and owner Jose Bezerra takes pride in his restaurant and adjoining pizzeria. Just under the green awnings of Copacabana, you will find the churrascaria and restaurant, where one can eat in the coral colored dining room with vibrant murals adorning the walls. Copacabana’s hot and cold buffet offers dozens of choices of entrees and salads each day, reflecting the culinary diversity of Brazil. There’s something for everyone at Copacabana with plenty of fish dishes, chicken, pork and beef, as well as fresh vegetables, potatoes and, of course, rice and beans. The night we visited, there was tender, sliced roast beef and sliced beef tongue with potatoes, both flavorful. Fejoada is a traditional Brazilian stew with ham, beans, sausage, and spices. Golden fried fish fillets were crispy, while the sautéed fish was juicy and flaky. Ziti pasta with pesto and chicken makes a nice side dish, but you must have the rice and beans. Two kinds of beans, pink and black, are best served over fluffy white rice and topped with Brazilian corn meal. There is also seasoned rice with vegetables, creamy mashed potatoes and crunchy French fries that are hard to resist. Freshly steamed Swiss chard, broccoli and cauliflower add a healthy note. The cool salad bar is filled with fresh, crunchy green salad, potato salad, 3- bean salad, beets and tomato salsa, Russian salad with diced carrots and peas and several choices of dressing. The hot buffet with cold salad bar costs just $4.99/lb. so you can load up your plate.

 

The star of the show is the churrasca grill where the grill chef skillfully tends to the long steel skewers holding delicious cuts of meat, chicken and sausage that rotate over the hot flames. There is savory top sirloin called “picanha”, sliced to order, as well as grilled loin of pork and the tastiest sausages you’ll try, made with either pork or chicken. The beef short ribs are slow cooked for hours so the meat renders easily from the bone. Turkey wrapped in bacon and juicy chicken thighs are popular. Chicken hearts are a specialty in Brazil and you ought to try a couple here. This method of cooking imparts exceptional flavor and juiciness to all the meats and explains the endless line of customers who come for the delicious food at reasonable prices. Simply select what you want and pay at the cashier. The churrasca and cold salad bar costs just $5.99/lb. You can also just order the grilled meat to eat in or take home at just $7.99/lb. At these prices, it doesn’t pay to cook at home.

Finish your meal with some house made desserts such as light and fluffy passion fruit mousse, cool and creamy flan, rice pudding, “cocada” coconut pastries or chocolate treats called “brigadero”. You’ll love the Brazilian fruit drinks and sodas too.

Copacabana is open seven days a week from 11:30 am to 10:00 pm. The adjoining pizzeria has Italian and Brazilian style pizzas, topped with hearts of palm, pineapple and ham. They make juicy burgers, chicken sandwiches, salads and more. The pizzeria will deliver to your home or office and Copacabana is located very close to the 36th Avenue station on the N train. Obrigada!
COPACABANA
31-13 36th Avenue • Long Island City, NY
(718) 545-3685

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