A few weeks ago, I was in Pittsburgh visiting family. I had a great time and went to several great bookstores and restaurants. One restaurant in particular was rather noteworthy though. It was a dining experience unlike I’d ever had before. It was a Brazilian meat adventure of epic proportions.
Can I Eat? Lol.
My sister, Alaina, and her boyfriend, Kevin, wanted to go out to dinner in celebration of my nephews recent birthday. They had been telling me about this Mongolian grill out in Southside for a couple days, and it sounded like a great place to eat. Alaina had something to do after dinner, so she drove one car, and her boyfriend another. I rode out with Alaina.
Unfortunately, once we got to the Mongolian grill, we found the wait was over an hour. Alaina didn’t think Kevin would want to wait that long, so she called him. They talked briefly, and then Alaina looked at me and said, “Can you eat?”
I stared at her with an intensity usually reserved for only the most serious of occasions and very clearly said, “Yes.”
So she went back to talking to Kevin, and they agreed on a place to go. Green Forest, in some other part of the city (I don’t know the area too well). Alaina said to me, “It’s a great restaurant, but you need to be able to eat a lot.”
To which I said “Have you looked at me recently?” with a look of incredulity and a gesture at my massive frame. “What kind of place is it?”
“It’s a Brazilian place.” Ah, I had heard about this. Kevin had told me about them the day before. Apparently they brought around skewers of meat fresh off the grill to each table and cut you a small bit off. It sounded cool. So like that, we were going to the Brazilian place.
When we arrived, I was pleasantly surprised. It was a really nice place; dim lighting, wood everywhere, classy like. We sat down, the waiter came around for drink orders, and we were loosed upon the food. It’s an all-you-can-eat place, and has a pretty awesome buffet. I wasn’t sure what to do or where to go, but Kevin clearly saw my look of apprehension and gave me the low down. We went to the buffet, he handed me a plate and warned me not to fill it too much. Before I had an opportunity to ask what he meant, he was gone. Hmmmm.
The buffet was covered in all sorts of food. Kevins advice to keep a small plate went mostly unheeded. Grilled portabellas; roasted red, yellow and green peppers; rolls of fresh sushi; and tons of grilled vegetables all tempted me. I took less than I normally would, but my plate was by no means empty. Besides, it’s just small pieces of meat coming around, right? I had enough room for small pieces of meat, and if I got too much for the plate, I’d just eat it. Famous last words.
Would You Like Meat with Your Meat?
My family mentioned what type of restaurant Green Forest is, and maybe I should have googled it. In fact, Green Forest is a churrascaria, which is clearly Portuguese for “Lots O’Fucking Meat”. No sooner had I sat down than the butcher’s parade began.
First, let’s clear up the misconception of skewers. These were not small skewers of meat like you might use on your grill at home for kebabs. These were great big fucking swords covered in massive chunks of cow, pork and various other once living creatures, which the waiter would thrust into the table before looking at you and asking very clearly and in perfect English, “MEAT???”
To which you always replied “Yes, please” like some street waif cowed by this delectable haunch of dripping, grilled oral gratification.
While they did cut off small portions of a few bites each, you quickly realized that you had no chance of eating the meat as fast as you got the meat. No sooner was the fresh steaming slice dropped on your rapidly filling platter than another waiter would be there, meat sword in hand, ready to tempt you with a completely different cut of deliciousness. You had a small coaster that was green on one side and red on the other which you would flip as you wanted meat, but the waiters were mostly colorblind and tried to give you their meat anyway.
So Much Meat!
These guys were almost always five deep at the edge of the table, waiting patiently for their turn to bless us with their beefy bounty. I found that the plate of vegetables I had gotten from the buffet would have to be forgotten. Indeed, I never even made it back to the buffet. I was too inundated with meat.
My sister and her boyfriend were sharing a meat plate between them. The waitress was very helpful. I kept running out of room on my plate for more meat, a problem she solved by bringing me more plates. Note that she never actually took a plate away without my asking. Though at some point, she must have wondered if I would really eat three plates of meat. Which I did.
“Why?” you must be asking. “How many pieces of steak do you want?” See, that was another of my initial problems. I thought at best they might offer six or seven cuts of meat, and maybe some chicken. I was wrong.
They Had All the Meat.
They had skirt steak, strip steak, loin, long ribs, short ribs, filet, bacon wrapped filet, bacon wrapped turkey, swordfish, Brazilian sausages, lamb chops, leg of lamb, cheese crusted strip and many, many more I can’t remember. Any cut of meat you can imagine, likely a small slice or two ended up on my plate. By the end of the meal, I was in imminent danger of colon cancer or a heart attack. Probably both at the same time. Kevin was more than generous to pick up the tab, and Kevin, Austin and I went on our merry way home.
At this point, I’d like to warn you. Stop here, because further on, it gets a little…eww. Not my typical brand of humor, but appropriate.
Once we got back to the house, I felt a smoke was in order. I went out to the back porch, and Austin joined me shortly after. With the indomitable stomach of a teenager, my nephew had brought a flan home with him from the restaurant and proceeded to eat it as I smoked.
“Do you feel it yet?” Bite of flan.
What was he talking about? “No, what do you mean?” I asked
“Hmm. You will.” Bite of flan. “And it’s gonna smell terrible.” Bite of flan.
What the fuck was he on about? Then without warning, my stomach gurgled. Just once, but it was enough. My nephew heard it clearly from across the porch and looked up knowingly from his damnable flan. I was suddenly done smoking.
I made it to the bathroom with time to get my pants down, but not much else. To make a long story short, this was the most crazy shit of my life. It was like something from a movie. Loud explosive booms mingled with staccato bursts over long drawn out rumbles of thunder to make the most embarrassing cacophony my ass has ever produced. I clutched weakly at the seat as I heard my rear make a noise not unlike it was vomiting into the toilet. I flushed that bitch three times, and still it went on.
When I finally finished, I was convinced that the neighbors had certainly been woken by my impromptu anal orchestrations. I cleaned the toilet as best I could, and went to rejoin the others. However, when I went into the great hall, I found only my nephew sitting on the couch. “Where’s Kevin?” I asked.
“I don’t know. He left about a little while ago.” Austin informed me. Then he started laughing. “I took the opportunity to use the bathroom. It was massive. I named it Simon.”
“That’s nice,” I laughed back. “Mine were Huey, Dewey and Louie, because I had to send that beast to hell as triplets.”
We continued laughing and Kevin suddenly came in. He saw us laughing, started to grin himself, and asked what we were laughing about. I knew in his head, Kevin was thinking, “Damn, they DID hear it down here!”
All photos of food are from the Green Forest website.