Copacabana Brazilian Steakhouse with Dwayne Walker

Posted on June 14, 2012

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From L to R: Ray, Janice, Dwayne and me :)

If I were to list the top 5 influential people in my life, Dwayne Walker would make my list.  If one would describe me as optimistic, I would attribute part of it to Dwayne as he was one of the people who could make me believe that I can do anything.  All these years the best thing he has taught me is to believe.  To have the will to make things happen is half the battle.

These days I don’t get to enjoy his company like I used to.  I am not the gym rat that I used to be with the schedule that I keep these days.  So when he or his partner calls for a get-together, I try my damnedest to be there no matter how busy I am.  To see him I know I would get a dose of my happy pill and experience the satisfaction of having a good friend.  This past meeting was a surprise birthday party for Dwayne and it was not something I was going to miss.

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His partner Ray called me and invited me to a dinner at Copacabana Brazilian Steakhouse.  When I checked out the place for reviews, the anticipation grew as I found out that the restaurant served its steak and meat dishes the way I once seen at Food TV Network.  Servers holding large skewers of meat go around patron’s tables and would slice a sliver of the meat table-side.  Like YAY!  Something different and something interesting.   Any foodie would be licking their lips in anticipation.

The restaurant was easy enough to find coming from the Yonge and Eglington Subway station.  It was a short walk towards the northeast side of Eglinton.  Walking inside a cozened-up space lined with long tables , a restaurant jam-packed with people came into full view.   My party was prudent enough to have made reservations and in no time I have located my friends.  It took me awhile to get to the table as I was watching the spectacle of servers walking swiftly from table to table with huge skewers of meat and long knives.  I winced at the thought of the knives flying close to me but it wasn’t enough to scare me running out of the restaurant.

I reached my party’s table and I sat beside Dwayne.  We did our exchange of updates and I was pleased to know that he has already started with his own business venture just like I did.  Eventually the topic led to the good food around us and he explained to me the mechanics of the dinner.  Apparently, to get the servers to swing by our table, there are cards on the table that say “Fire it up!”.  Once servers see it, they would come and offer slices off their skewers.  For the weekend, the selection of meats was more than a dozen.  To balance out the richness of the meats, there was also a salad bar for sides.  Once fully sated, the group can choose to flip the cards to “Cool it down!”.  Seemed simple enough and when most of the party arrived, we flipped the cards and the servers started including our table on their route.

It was quite entertaining to watch them move from table to table and slice meat swiftly.  At one point, I have servers sandwiching me in-between, I dare not move and stayed perfectly still at the middle as two long knives where slicing at skewers at each side of me.  Lucky for me, they were quick enough for me not to hold my breath too long.  Part of me wished that there was another camera to show me my priceless expression.  It must have been so funny, me with an expression of awe and fear at the same time.

I must say that the restaurant is not just spectacle as the food was amazing.  All the slivers of meat that I have tried were perfectly tender, marinated and seasoned really well.  The quality of service from the servers were amazing as they remember details of each person’s preference.  But no matter how good each meat was served, what is really worth mentioning were the corn bread muffins and the grilled pineapple.  It was one of the best corn bread that I have tasted, soft and fluffy and moist with the right amount of sweetness and was crusty on its muffin top.

The biggest revelation was the grilled pineapple.  When the server first approached with it, most of my friends (me included) looked at it with disinterest.  The server told us not to miss out on it and asked one of us to try it.  Janice, who was sitting beside me, nudged me to try it with her.  I figured what would it hurt to eat pineapple (for those who don’t know, my mom worked for Del Monte Philippines for 23 years! I was literally saturated with pineapples when I was a kid!).  It wasn’t the warmth the impressed me with the grilled pineapple, it was my amazement how sprinkles of cinnamon can enhance its sweetness.  All those years that I ate pineapple, I never would have tried sprinkling cinnamon on it!   Another first for this foodie! :)

After a few minutes of eating, I don’t think I could look at another skewered meat again.  It was a lot for just one night.  I did get extra helpings of the pineapple though.  Funny how something so ordinary can be so exceptional with the addition of just one other ingredient.

It was good to try this restaurant in the company of good friends.  I don’t think I would have enjoyed it half as much without sharing it with Dwayne.  Happy birthday once again Dwayne!

Copacabana Brazilian Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

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Posted in: Toronto Eats