August 5, 2009

Agora Churrascaria

There are only two rules you need to know when going to a Brazilian AYCE. Red means stop, and green means keep the meat coming. You signal with a cardboard circle on your table. (You can see it hiding behind the bread basket in the picture below.) If you've never experienced Brazilian BBQ before, the servers come to you with the meat on these big skewers and serve it to you.

$23 bucks for lunch is pretty pricey to me, but I had just taken a midterm and wanted to go celebrate. I hit the gym after my test though to work up a good appetite, then drove over to Agora with my cousin.

The place was pretty nice and roomy, but it was a bit empty when we entered, granted we got there around 1:00 PM on a Monday.


As soon as we were seated, a big warm banana that had been liberally brushed with sugar and cinnamon came out along with a basket of some poofy bread that had a thin layer of cheese inside of it. Its taste reminded me of those cheese puff balls that comes in the blue cylinder container...I can't remember the name. Both were delicious.

Besides their offering of about 12 or 13 different kinds of meat, they have a decent/good salad bar as well as a hot food selection consisting of about 10 different items from rice and beans to salmon and potatoes.


This was the only shot I took however of the salad bar, which was more of the sides/condiments section...olives pickles, peppers, pico de gallo, and some cold cuts in the back. I know some people only go straight for the meat to not get full on the sides, but I like to have some veggies to eat along with it.


A picture of some of the things I got the first time around. In the end, I mostly got the onions, which had been marinated in vinegar and some herbs, and the bell peppers. They offer a variety of veggies, most of them served raw and plain, along with some different salads.


Collard greens, black bean stew, and garlic rice, which I really enjoyed particularly. The beans were cooked w/ pork, giving it a nice flavor.


First up was bacon wrapped filet mignon and some chicken. I found the filet was cooked a little too long for me. The chicken was great though.


Tri tip. This was my favorite cut.


Top sirloin.


Top sirloin well done (bleh) and the pork sausage. It had a mild almost nutty flavor to it.

And this is where I stopped taking pictures. I forgot about my camera and just gorged myself for the next hour. We were the last ones to leave the restaurant. The only other things I can remember they offered was a chicken sausage, which was good, and another bacon wrapped meat.

Service was great. The staff was helpful and asked us if there was anything we liked, so they could bring that out to us.

I heard from people/read reviews that the meat is too salty, but I thought it was fine with the exception of one or two items. My only complaint was that I didn't like the meats that had been cooked too long, but after going through one round, I became more selective of what I wanted.

My experience with Brazilian BBQ is very limited, so I am by no means an expert on the subject. I've only had it at one other place, which was in downtown SD, but I can't really remember how it compared, since it has been over 2 years since I've had it there. All I know is that the prices were a bit cheaper for lunch in SD, and I thought the salad bar was a little better there. But overall? It was my cousin's first time at a Brazillian AYCE, and he seemed impressed and liked the food. I also had a very enjoyable experience here and would go again for lunch sometime if I was in the area and had some cash to throw around =p


Agora Churrascaria
1830 Main St
Irvine, CA 92614

6 rah rah rahs:

Dennis K. said...

Holy crap, this place looks awesome! And all this during lunch even..? Sounds mighty mighty good to me and I think a must visit for me before the year ends.

cabcooks said...

Looks good! I've only had 1 Brazilian meal long long time ago and can't remember much about it. I'll have to find a place to try it again in SD. :)

KirkK said...

Hey Sawyer - Have you been to Greenfield in West Covina, we thought that place was pretty good. We also used to enjoy Roda Viva in Puente Hills Mall, but I understand that place has gone through an succession of different owners.

kirbie said...

Mmm. yummy. I haven't been to Rei de Gado in years (the Brazilian bbq place in downtown SD), but seeing your post on Brazilian bbq makes me want to go back.

elmomonster said...

Oh I so need to go here again. But I'm afraid my heart can't take it! Thanks for this review and your awesome pics...gives me the chance to relive Agora in the meantime.

Sawyer said...

dennis: you do get a pretty good selection for lunch haha...there's also one or two in downtown sd if you've never had it before.

cab: the place i used to go was on 4th in dt sd called rei do gado. i think there was also another one around too...maybe in horton? not sure if it's still around though.

kirk: i'll have to check out greenfield's sometimes, thanks for the suggestion. roda vida is no more tho...it's been gone for a while, replaced by a max's of manila and some other filipino restaurant.

kirbie: whenever i left rei de gado i would always think that i would be done w/ that place for a while, but the next day i'd be craving it again haha.

elmo: it's definitely a lot of meat....not something you can eat often, but so good. i went to the gym before and not after because i knew there was no way i was going to be doing anything after that meal =p

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