When you mention a Brazilian restaurant to folks in the US they automatically envision various cuts of roasted meat, ushered about and sliced at the command of a colored card. They then remember the pain from overindulging in the “salad” bar that was literally the size of a large school bus; is this really what Brazilian food has to offer, do they really have carbon copies of Fogo on every block like Starbucks? The answer is no, but from personal experience there are several family style Churrascos (Brazilian steakhouse) in and around the larger cities; Botekim however is not one of them.
Situated on the corner of Powers Ferry and Terrell Mill roads, Botekim is an oasis in an area surrounded by cheap Brazilian buffets and steak houses; they are truly trying to offer a more refined, upscale alternative to the burgeoning Brazilian population in the area. The space itself is very open with high ceilings and exposed beams; I imagine it would get rather loud in here on a packed night, but during all three of my visits, the patronage was pretty sparse. They also have a full service bar at the back where you can try one of their signature caipirinhas made with cachaca (sugar cane rum), and trust me they’re pretty damn strong.
They specialize in traditional foods with a nod to both Mediterranean and European influences. Items like yucca fritters and braised beef croquettes give way to beautifully prepared pork, chicken dishes, and various cuts of grilled and braised meats. There are also some pretty good fish dishes and a few meat and cheese samplers.
On my lunch visits I sampled the braised beef croquettes, the Porco (grilled pork loin w/ cheddar and pineapple) and the X-picanha which was grilled rump cap w/ blue cheese and a vinegrette dressing.
My favorite was the pork sandwich; perfectly cooked to a nice juicy medium rare with just enough char to add some favor and bite. I was skeptical about the pineapple and cheese combination, but it worked beautifully; the melted cheese was a great compliment to the sweetness of the pineapple. The other thing that works really well for them is the bread. I’m not sure if they make it in-house, but every sandwich had crisp bread that soaked up the juices from the meat like a sponge; you can probably tell that I really hated this sandwich…
The dinner menu has a lot more interesting meat options, like braised beef ribs, flounder and a braised lamb shank, which is of course what I ordered; I haven’t turned down a braised shank on a menu in years! It was perfectly cooked and served in a mint jus made from the braising liquid…no fork required. The only complaint I had was with the two hockey puck sized starchy fritters that accompanied the shank; they were just too big! They were great for sopping up the sauce, but I ate both of them and had to adjust my belt upon exit. For those of you who follow my Sunday Supper series, I recreated this dish over the weekend…minus the fritters; take a look (http://bit.ly/AuMW22).
I also tried the yucca fritters (as if I hadn’t had enough, but I did order these first not knowing what was to come), or Bolinho De Aipim Com Carne, which were stuffed with ground beef and lightly fried. The sweet malagueta pepper sauce they came with really stole the show, and while it may have been sweet, it packed plenty of heat!
I also tried the flounder and the chicken breast, and while good, they didn’t quite live up to the other items. I would highly recommend sticking with the meats and sampling a few of the apps. Be sure to sign up for the mailing list and follow them on Twitter, as they have specials just about every week on both food and drinks. If you’re looking for a little something more from Brazilian food, you should really give them a try…after all they’re barley a mile OTP! I really hope the neighborhood and larger surrounding community supports this place, because the food is well done, the service is very sincere and attentive, and I want to go back several times and try some more items…and maybe have a few more caipirinhas!