San Francisco: Espetus Churrascaria

When my sister got into med school, T suggested we celebrate by going to a Brazilian steakhouse.  It took us a while, but we finally got our act together in October, just in time for my sister's birthday to make it a twofer.

T and her friend CV drove up from the South Bay.  They first picked up my sister and then swung by BART for me.  It was just a short drive from there to Espetus:

We had reservations, but I'm not sure how necessary they were for a Wednesday night.  The restaurant was pretty empty when we arrived, though it certainly filled up as the night went on.

Our table was conveniently located close to the salad and hot food bar:

We dropped off our jackets and made a beeline for the buffet.  I got a little bit of everything that interested me:

I may have skipped most of the salad-y things.  Heh.

Once the meat started coming around, I was too busy tracking the cuts I wanted to get off my butt for a second round at the buffet bar.

Instead, I filled my downtime between meats with the complimentary appetizers on the table:

Out of the fried polenta, fried bananas, and the cheese bread, my favorite was the banana.  So crisp!  Molten inside, which is a problem when you're in a hurry to stick the whole thing in your mouth, but it's a lesson you only need to learn once.

Every table has a little sign that signals to the servers whether or not you want more meat:

The meats are all you can eat (what I picture heaven to be like).  When you need a break or when you've reached food coma status, flip the sign to red to stop the onslaught of protein.

We kept ours green for a good two hours.  Yes, we wanted to curl up and sleep for twenty years afterward, but we left with our pride intact.

When the server come to your table, he describes what he is offering and asks if you want some.  If you do, he slowly starts the slice and then waits until you have a grip on it with the tweezers provided to finish the cut:

I could flood the rest of this post with photo after photo of all the different cuts of meat I had that night, but it wouldn't be a very pretty sight.  I'm sure nobody wants to see all that carnage.  So I've taken the liberty of narrowing it down to a few choice shots.

Like this one:

And this one:

And this one:

Espetus offers everything your little carnivorous heart desires.  Beef.  Pork.  Lamb.  Chicken.  Filet mignon.  Sirloin.  Ribs.  Crusted with garlic.  Crusted with parmesan.  Unadulterated.  If you like your meat on the rare side, don't be afraid to tell the server.

There was even shrimp:

And the best thing of all, chicken hearts:

At first, they gave us only three hearts at a time.  But then they realized how much we loved that stuff and started giving us each six at a time.  Oh, yeah baby.  Bow chicka wow wow.

If you want a palate cleanser, you can hit the salar bar or request some grilled pineapple:

Espetus is fantastic, but save it for a special occasion.  Unless you're fine with dropping $56.95 per person for dinner any old day.  (Beverages and desserts not included).  The service is attentive and the atmosphere is swanky.

Here's a tip: prepare your stomach by fasting a day in advance.  We ate so much that night that we walked out bent over at the waist.  The extra plate of fried bananas we asked for certainly didn't help.

So.  Much.  Pain.

I would totally do it again.

Espetus Churrascaria
1686 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 552-8792


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