The décor at Brasilina, a new Brazilian-ish restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen, is certainly pretty if not totally South American in feel: brick walls, potted trees, wood beams, mismatched vintage plates. The menu, too, features a somewhat bizzare hodgepodge of Brazilian classics (black bean soup, pastels, etc.) along with lackluster American fare (sliders, Caesar salad, braised short ribs). A recent trip to the eatery didn’t inspire a whole lot of confidence in the place, though the South American dishes were, unsurprisingly, the better dishes of the bunch. A black bean soup wasn’t bad, nor was the moqueca, a shrimp-and-cod stew.
Well, at least the cod part of the stew. The shrimp were a combo of regular-sized and rubbery baby shrimp, which we’re not a big fan of. A huge bowl comes full of a coconut milk broth and plenty of cod and assorted peppers and onions, furiously boiling away as it was placed down on the table. A small dish of pirão, a sort of fishy chutney, came alongside, as did cashew-studded rice. Take a little of each and spoon it into your bowl for a hearty, filling dinner. Was it good enough to bring us back for a repeat visit? Not really, but we will vouch heartily for the limey caipirinhas, which come both plain and flavored with maple or hibiscus, and are all tasty. Knock back a few here, but then maybe grab dinner elsewhere.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 13, 2012