Don’t go to Espetus, the Brazilian steakhouse on Market Street at Gough, unless you’re starving, because you’re in for a fixed-price, all-you-can-eat session of marathon meat-eating, which stomach needs to be empty to fully enjoy. There is no menu and no ordering. I suggest starting with a glass of sangria or a caipirinha before heading up to the salad bar, where you’ll find soup, paella and roasted potatoes in addition to fresh vegetables. With your drink, the Gaucho-styled waiters deliver a coaster-sized chip colored red on one side, green on the other. Keep the green side up, and the waiters will come to your table bearing huge skewers of meat fresh from the fire in a continual revolving feast. Turn the red side up when you need a break, or to ultimately surrender. (But beware, because even then, there is dessert to be had: flan, crème brulee, tres leches cake and more.)
The meaty centerpiece of the meal consists of all variety of charred flesh: filet mignon, top sirloin, herbed chicken legs, parmesan-encrusted pork loin, skewers of grilled shrimp and fat linguica piled atop each other, and even tiny dark chicken hearts. The night I visited, there were 14 courses of meat in all, most of them deliciously crispy on the outside, some a bit overdone inside, perhaps owing to the fact that the family-style service has to cater to those who like their meat well-done instead of rare. Naturally, you must pace yourself, and luckily you get to control how much you take of each serving.
The next day, if you’re anything like me, you’ll awaken with a craving for salad or sushi or some other wimpy-arse excuse for nourishment, but you’ll also harbor the memory of having eaten like a real man the night before.