The gauchos are hired and the skewers sharpened as white-tablecloth rodizio restaurant Dora's Brazilian Grill comes to life at 14th and Cary streets on Monday. Its opening at the foot of Shockoe Slip brings Latin liveliness to an increasingly international eating scene in an area deserving of attention.
Guests at Dora's will get the traditional red and green flip cards that summon gauchos and their wood-grilled meats to the table: homemade pork sausage, chicken drumsticks, bacon-wrapped chicken, roast pork loin, beef tenderloin, picanha (top sirloin), beef tri-tip, flank steak, roasted lamb and rib steak. Servers also bring salad, bread, black beans and rice, baked potatoes and sautAced plantains. Meals end with abacaxi (grilled pineapple).
Wines from Chile, Argentina and Brazil top out at $30 a bottle, and meals are a set price, $26.95 for adults, $10.95 for children ages 4-9. Beverages span the gamut: caipirinha cocktails, Brazilian coffee made with South American brandy, and guarana Antarctica, a soda of fruit from the Amazon forest.
Latin music will play off the bright abstracts of Brazilian painter Walter Ribeiro; the scene centers on a long blond bar to be manned by Evan Schultz, recently of Havana '59 and CafAc Gutenberg. Dora's owners are Rolf and Dorinha Laubach, Freya Goins, and Robert van der Meulen, all of whom have labored over the renovation of a former hair salon in the century-old warehouse. Now it's a 130-seat room with a street view, a patio by spring, a new kitchen and a staff clad in Brazil's yellow and green national colors. A Brazilian community is growing here, and the churrascuria tradition now extends to three spots in town.
At Dora's, Goins is the vivacious accountant and frontwoman, thrilled to find an immediate welcome in Richmond, a domestic perch at Vistas and a restaurant within eyeshot. “We want the tourists,” she says, “but more than that we want the locals to enjoy coming here and feeling like they got their money's worth and had a very entertaining, relaxed and colorful experience.”
Open for dinner nightly, Sundays until 6 p.m. Vegetarian options; universal access. 1331 E. Cary St. 269-3697. www.dorasbraziliangrill.com.
Deli buster: If, like author David Sax, your food quest involves authentic sandwiches, you'll salivate while listening to his talk at the Weinstein JCC. “Save the Deli: In Search for Perfect Pastrami; Crusty Corned Beef and the Heart of the Jewish Deli” is Sax's ode to those classic tastes and traditions. He'll be part of the center's Jewish book fair on Nov. 17 at 6 p.m.; a kosher deli dinner will be served before his presentation. The Weinstein JCC is at 5403 Monument Ave. 545-8610. www.savethedeli.com; weinsteinjcc.org.