Nelore Churrascaria is not a smaller version of Texas de Brazil, a larger rival chain located in the tourist corridor of International Drive to attract one-time visitors . Nelore is excellent in its own right with its own distinctive ambiance and service. We were a party of four superannuated adults, enticed by a soon to expire $50 Groupon (cost $25) to drive over an hour from Lakeland.
The restaurant is in the upscale shopping area of Winter Park close to Rollins College. The interior is that of a good local restaurant frequented by loyal patrons who enjoy its quiet ambiance and value. But, that does not mean it is cheap or that much different from its larger rival in that respect. The total cost was about $45 per person including tip, one bottle of wine, and bottled water after the $50 Groupon was deducted.
The salad bar is, perhaps, smaller but has items that require more preparation such as grilled eggplant, thin sliced zucchini and yellow squash. The eggplant, thick slices embedded with small cubes of vegetables, was exceptional. There were far more items than could be skillfully placed on the large cool dinner plates. I cannot stand hot plates for salad! The salmon was of the lox variety, hot smoked and low in salt, i.e. the better grade in most people's opinion. For a restaurant that seats slightly above 100, the salad bar was exceptional!
There were several selections of good relatively inexpensive wines of which we had a cabernet. But, if you are rich, or think you are, the most expensive wines were well over a thousand dollars. They also had large bottles of San Pelligrino mineral water, a favorite of mine.
The meat servers made the rounds less frequently than at a larger churrascaria, but frequently enough that once the red circles were exposed we never lacked. Sadly, they do not have lamb chops, but essentially everything else. Perhaps that accounts for the six-dollar lower price per meal. One member of our party asked for well-done beef and they quickly obliged. The wait staff was professional, unobtrusive and exhibited a good sense of humor. Because of the Groupon, the tip, probably 18%, was added to the bill.
We thoroughly enjoyed our leisurely two-hour-plus dinner; there was no feeling of being rushed. As usual, we overate and left no room for dessert. We will definitely go to Nelore again and I think they were wise to use Groupon to entice folks to try them. Otherwise we would not have discovered this gem of a restaurant in Winter Park.
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