Monday September 23rd 2019

Midwest Grill Brazillian BBQ – Saugus, MA

logo_animThe Midwest Grill is a Brazilian BBQ with two Massachusetts locations. One in Cambridge and one on Route 1 in Saugus. I recently visited the Saugus location for dinner. We arrived at about 6 o’clock on a rainy Friday night and the restaurant was less than 25% full. This restaurant is in very busy area of town and normally at this time of night most restaurants have lines. When I logged onto the restaurants website before leaving the house I checked their online reservation system hoping to make a reservation. The system told me there were no more available reservations for this night. I assumed this meant the restaurant would be packed, but I imagine the system must have been down.

Atmosphere

When we entered the restaurant we were immediately greeted by a live band playing near the entrance. The band was comprised of two people, one playing guitar and the other singing. I would call the music they played Brazilian folk music, it was pleasant to listen to, if a tad on the loud side.

The building appeared to be divided into two separate areas, the dining room and the bar. The full service bar was decent sized and had about 20 barstools. We sat in the dining room, which I have mixed feelings about. On one hand I thought the decor in the dining room was very high end. The decorations on the walls were classy and the lighting was pleasant. However, the table arrangement was not so classy. There were about 50 tables all lined up in rows in the square room. Since the restaurant was quite empty it wasn’t that big of a deal for us – but I would imagine if the room were at capacity it would feel a bit like a cafeteria.

The Food

Like most Brazilian BBQ restaurants dinner is served “Churrassco a Rodizio.” This means you pay one flat fee for all you can eat food, this includes a buffet of salads and side dishes as well meat that is brought around to the table on swords. At the Midwest Grill there was one buffet counter in the back of the dining room. On one side it had salad with your standard salad veggies, a pasta salad and some cheeses. The salad was all standard fare, nothing extraordinary. On the other side of the buffet was a very tasty garlic bread with an oil based garlic/cheese dip. The bread was probably my favorite thing I had to eat at the restaurant. There were also a handful of side dishes on the buffet. There was a yellow rice with some pork(?) in it, plain jasmine rice, mashed potatoes, beans, steamed carrots and broccoli, chicken wings, and some other hot items that I did not try. The rices were okay but I found the beans the vegetables to be quite plain and boring. I did like the chicken wings which had a sweet and tangy flavoring.

The main feature at the restaurant is the meat that is brought to your table. Now I have to admit I am not a big red meat eater so I did have some reservations about going to this restaurant. Sadly I was right. The first meat that was brought by was chicken. I had a small taste and found it to be very bland. Next were steak tips cooked medium rare, which I took one of but I just don’t care for my meat cooked that rare. This was followed by some sirloin, also quite rare, and then some lamb. At one point the waiter did come by with some well done steak tips and I thought these had a decent flavor. The last meats we sampled were sausage and kielbasa – neither of which I finished because they were just too salty for me.

Drinks

I was fairly impressed with the drink menu. From looking at the wine list everything seemed reasonably priced and even a bit lower than most other nearby restaurants. They also had a good selection of mixed drinks offered at reasonable prices. I would consider going back to the Midwest Grill if I were looking for someone to meet the girls for an after work drink.

While the alcoholic drinks were inexpensive, the soda did not include free refills – something I haven’t encountered at a restaurant in years.

Conclusion

Overall I was very unimpressed with the food. You pay a flat fee of $20 for your meal and I don’t think I found $20 worth of food I liked. The side dishes were average and nothing really stands out in my mind. Much of the meat was too rare for my tastes and I passed it by. The meat that was cooked to my liking simply had no flavor. When I think of Brazilian food I think of tasty spices and I don’t think any of this meat was even seasoned. Perhaps it was because they are cooking such large cuts of meat and we were always eating meat from inside the cut and never got the skin or outside of the meat.

I thought the service was average. While we saw the waiter that served meat about every 4-5 minutes we rarely saw the waitress who would refill our drinks. A necessity when serving such salty food!

I can understand why some people think this restaurant is great. If you’re a big fan of red meat and can eat a lot of it in one sitting then this restaurant may be good for you. I would imagine the restaurant being a big hit for groups of young guys. If you had the time and belly space to stay for two hours you could certainly get your monies worth in meat. For me, I would rather take $20 to a restaurant where I can chose the cut, cook, and flavor of the meat I order.

Pros: All you can eat, good music, inexpensive cocktails/wine

Cons: mostly rare/medium rare red meat, bland tastes


Review also posted to Epinions

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