Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Culver City: Libra Brazilian Steakhouse

Two Sundays ago, David and I had lunch at Libra Brazilian Steakhouse in Culver City, a restaurant we had been planning to visit ever since I bought the corresponding AmazonLocal voucher.  We had a reservation for noon, but that turned out to be unnecessary, since we arrived to find a completely empty restaurant that in fact had just opened for lunch service.

As our server explained, here's how Brazilian steakhouses work: there is a large salad bar with salads, cold dishes and hot dishes.  One can make unlimited trips to the salad bar, but it is recommended that one saves plenty of room for the main attraction, which are ten (at lunch; more at dinner) different meats that are brought to the table by a server.  The beauty of being the first and - for a while - the only customers in the place was that all the food was completely fresh, and seemingly prepared just for us.

The salad bar is on the left side, continuing behind the screen

But before we even got to the salad bar, a bowl of little cheese breads was set down at our table.  These things were addictive - gluten-free, and so they were essentially cheesy baked mochi.

I neglected to photograph my conservative selections from the salad bar, but everything was very fresh.  There is a [less expensive] option of only the salad bar, which would still provide a great meal considering that in addition to vegetable offerings, there were also two meat stews, rice, potatoes, caramelized bananas, and more.  Anyhow, the first meat that arrived tableside was garlic chicken, followed by garlic beef.

Garlic chicken

Garlic beef

After those two meats came some sausages, tri-tip, pork ribs, and two others which I can't remember right now.  All were very good, with our only criticism being that our slices of tri-tip were too salty.  I stopped photographing until the house special of picanha (top sirloin) arrived:

We tried all nine of the meats and managed two slices each of the picanha, finishing with some grilled pineapple that had been sprinkled with cinnamon.  The result was complete protein overload (and, I suppose, plenty of fuel for studying).  Needless to say, I had salad for dinner.  For the quality of food and also the relatively polished atmosphere, Libra is a great deal, especially if you go for lunch (and if you make it there before noon on a weekday, it's only $15 per person!).