Rodeo turns 65 with traditional, anachronistic and renowned barbecue in SP

by

Daniel Buarque

The most recent edition of Folha’s Melhor de SãoPaulo awarded Osso, a steakhouse specializing in dry aged cuts, as the best restaurant to eat meat in the city.

In other guides, houses specializing in Argentinean or Uruguayan-style parrillas have been acclaimed, using Wagyu cattle and new cuts for the city, such as Denver steak, flat iron and entraña.

While the São Paulo public immerses themselves in new experiences with steakhouses, the tradition also maintains its popularity. This is the case of Rodeio, a venue that turns 65 years old in 2024 and remains linked to a classic proposal already established in the city.

Sliced ​​picanha from Rodeio steakhouse at Iguatemi shopping mall

Sliced ​​picanha from Rodeio steakhouse at Iguatemi shopping mall – Isadora Brant/Folhapress

Tradition was one of the words most uttered by the restaurant’s superintendent, Silvia Macedo Levorin, during a recent lunch at the Rodeio at the Iguatemi shopping mall. After more than six decades, the restaurant has always avoided following trends or changing its proposal. It never joined the bandwagon of rodízios, which for a long time dominated the steakhouse scene, it didn’t appeal to more different cuts from the popular menu in Brazil, it didn’t abandon picanha. Everything to “maintain the company’s values ​​and traditional processes”, she explains. “You can’t reinvent the ox,” she says.

The proposal may sound somewhat anachronistic, and a visit to the carefully decorated room, with white tablecloths and formal service, may contrast with the idea that some people have of a barbecue, but the house maintains its appeal. Proof of this is that both addresses are always full and 4.8 tons of meat are served there per month.

Thus, the classics continue to dominate the menu.

If we are to talk about tradition, perhaps few restaurants in the world still serve what Rodeio calls beef tea (meat tea, R$75). It is a broth prepared with meat and bones cooked for a long time with spices and reminiscent of “bouillons”, restorative soups that were at the beginning of the first restaurants in history, in France. The broth arrives in a cup, hot, almost translucent and gives an impression of lightness, but it is full-bodied, has a spicy touch and seems to fill the stomach, energizing immediately.

Among the meats, the beef rib (R$ 248) is tender and juicy, one of those cuts that fall apart on a fork and whose flavor spreads deliciously in your mouth.

The most famous dish of the house is the sliced ​​picanha (R$ 298). Served very thin, it loses the appeal of texture and rarer doneness that has been valued by more contemporary houses in thick cuts, but it gains flavor from the touches of caramelization on both sides and is very tasty. The meat is finished in the room, in small Argentine-inspired parrillas installed in the center of the restaurant, but carefully planned to prevent smoke from spreading throughout the environment.

Prime rib from Rodeio steakhouse

Prime rib from Rodeio steakhouse – Isadora Brant/Folhapress

There are also classic desserts. The rodeo goes back decades with a papaya cream with cassis that was fashionable across the country in the 1980s — and which may surprise those who think it is an outdated preparation. Cold and with the soft texture of an ice cream, it has a touch reminiscent of vanilla and is very refreshing, finishing off a meal full of meat.

One of the restaurant’s few innovations is that it currently offers dishes designed for customers who don’t eat meat — even if there are still few of them. In addition to salads served with chopped and seasoned leaves and vegetables, with heterogeneous textures and good refreshment, the kitchen also offers a brie and asparagus risotto (R$ 155) that has gained fans.

And it is a vegetarian garnish that stands out even among many meats. The roasted heart of palm (R$88) is worth a visit to the restaurant. Served soft, it has a delicate flavor and is accompanied by butter and capers.

Maintaining this repeated tradition means that the Rodeio has a loyal audience, who attend regularly, know the waiters and feel at home in the restaurant’s dining room, with an almost family relationship, according to Levorin. “Rodeo customers don’t even need to look at the menu,” he says.

There is no doubt that the restaurant is part of the city’s gastronomic history, but if the customer has financial limits, it is a good idea to look carefully at the menu and evaluate the costs of each order so as not to get scared. A full meal at home can easily cost more than R$500 per person.

This is because a lunch can start with the cover charge (R$45) to try the delicious cheese breads served warm, include beef tea (R$75) as a starter to discover the interesting restorative broth, and go through a mixed salad ( R$ 68).

For the main course, the famous sliced ​​picanha for one person (R$ 298) cannot be left out, which deserves to be accompanied by the excellent roast heart of palm (R$ 88) and perhaps a popular rodeo rice, a version of the popular biro biro with potatoes , onion, egg and bacon (R$ 88). To finish, there is the papaya cream (R$ 53). It’s true that it would be too much food for one person, but it would cost a total of R$715, not counting the service.

Source: Folha

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