Thursday, April 5, 2012

An early taste of Tucanos

Posted By on Thu, Apr 5, 2012 at 11:47 AM

As we told you in our March 15 Side Dish column, Tucanos Brazilian Grill is set to open tonight at 3294 Cinema Point in the First & Main Town Center.

That opening will be followed by a grand opening celebration on Thursday, April 26, in benefit of local charities.

Last night, I attended a soft opening event along with other Springs media faces and various members of our community — the typical kind of dry-run restaurants like to do before opening the doors to the public, to work out the final kinks with newly trained staff.

View a slideshow from the evening here or by clicking the photo below.

Tucanos employees canvas the dining room, slicing off whatever quantity you desire — everything from shrimp, beef and pork to grilled vegetables. It's highly interactive and fun.
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Tucanos' employees canvas the dining room, slicing off whatever quantity you desire — everything from shrimp, beef and pork to grilled vegetables. It's highly interactive and fun.

As usual in these type preview blogs, I'll reserve any critical comments on the food until our food team returns for a formal review once the outfit has been up and running a while. That's only fair.

But I see no problem with telling you a little about the decor and energy of the place, and a little about what it feels like to dine there.

As you'll see if you click the brief slideshow above — do it! — the interior is super bright and warm, with long curves in the architecture and lighting, and high, dramatic ceiling spaces. Big bay doors await fairer weather for breezy access to the patio outside. Overall, it's a very pretty space that speaks to the strong financial backing of an already successful franchise.

Visiting the "salad festival" — can we all just agree that nobody who visits is actually going to call it that, and just say "salad bar" from here on out? — is the first overwhelming aspect of the dining. It just keeps going, and going, and going; and every time you turn a corner of it, there's more. And you keep thinking to yourself: "Dammit! My plate's almost full. I should have saved some room. Now here I am stacking stuff like a little piggy. What's everyone gonna think about me? ... Oh wait, they're stacking too. Hell yeah. Let's all stack. Let's loot this fresh line!"

Lesson: Don't do what I did. You can make unlimited trips as part of your all-you-can-eat churrasco experience ($13.95 at lunch or $20.95 at dinner). So relax and go back.

Next, there's the whole rodízio element where the staff just keeps coming at you with more and more grilled items as long as you keep your Tucanos Cue (an hourglass-like instrument, not in shape, but size and flippable function) turned with the green side up. When you've finally started to bulge, flip it to the red side for respite.

As you can see: a very lively, funky space.

That part is novel as a dining style (not far off from a Hong Kong-style dim sum cart when you get down to it) and makes the whole dining experience very high energy.

Lastly, since I'm again skipping over my feelings on the food, I'll comment on the bar offerings I tried (those we paid for ourselves; the meal was comped for all guests). Though I'm glad I tried it, I'm not a huge fan of the Brazilian Xingu Black Beer. As a review on the Beer Advocate page that I just linked to says, "Despite smelling like a stale american [sic] macro, Xingu turned out to be a decent, but forgettable Schwarzbier."

The Caipirinha cocktails are sweetly pleasant however, and we didn't get to trying the top-shelf mojito selection.

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