Monday, May 5, 2008

Agora Churrascaria

I'm starting to think I should buy myself a small point-and-shoot to carry around. Why? 'Cuz. A lot of my food adventures are spur-of-the-moment while I'm driving, shopping, or visiting friends. I've failed to document a buttload of great eats!

Example 1: Agora Churrascaria in Irvine.
The family and I were only supposed to compare prices/window shop at South Coast Plaza for a bit before heading home for lunch, but we ended up having Brazilian BBQ instead.

WARNING! Pictureless post ahead. I'll try to scan some pictures off their brochure next week since I left it in LA.

Agora's salad bar covers more than just basic salads. The list is extensive and can be viewed on their website. I didn't bother with the vegetables since all that fiber would just take up precious space I reserved for wholesome and nutritious beef. I did, however, pick up quite a few of the meat/dairy items such as gravlax, tomatoes+fresh mozzarella, the cold cuts, and cheeses. They were all good enough to be eaten as my lunch. I wasn't too enthused about the tomato/mozzarella since nothing will ever beat the bufala mozzarella I had at Antonello, but it was good nonetheless.

Plenty of hot dishes are also available to distract patrons from the skewers of seared beef being paraded around the room. Again, the list is quite large and you can see them on Agora's website. These were really uneventful and I have to say...I've made better stroganoff and mashed potatoes. Clams were so-so. The black bean stew bland and unremarkable. But seriously, who the hell cares? People are here for grilled meat!

There are a total of 11 types of meat offered at Agora. For lunch, however, the list is significantly truncated but still hits some awesome cuts: top sirloin, filet mignon, sausage, coracao (chicken heart), beef skirt steak, pork tenderloin w/ Parmesan, chicken, and some other(s) that I've forgotten. Hey. YOU try remembering everything when being assaulted with skewers and skewers of the juiciest, tenderest, sweetest meats you've ever had.

Chicken, sausage, and pork tenderloin were very good, but the beef was GREAT. I still cannot wrap my head around how Agora grills their beef. How is it possible to perfectly sear hunks of meat so that the interior is a uniform perfect medium rare? I kid you not, the actual thickness of the seared surface was no thicker than 3mm. No real seasoning other than salt was necessary. These cuts of beef were so full of that beefy "sweetness" that I think they could give good steakhouses a run for their money. Honestly, I don't know how to describe the sensation of chewing on a perfect bite of beef, so I'll just say that I had a mouthgasm with each bite.

Here's a preview of what I'm raving about:

This picture doesn't even do the meats justice. They look far moister and pinker in person.

With lunch only $23, this place is totally a steal of a meal considering the amount of quality meats available for you to gorge on. I love a nice juicy steak just like any other dude and I'm willing to blow some cash at Porterhouse Bistro, Donovans, Ruth's Chris, or my SD favorite The Butcher Shop, but you know what? I'll happily settle with lunch at Agora. To hell with those steakhouses! It's always awkward and rude when I have to loosen my belt in those formal/stuffy restaurants anyway. Believe me guys, you're gonna want to wear some oversized jeans to allow for major stomach expansion after lunch here.

Oh yeah. Don't forget to order flan for dessert. It comes out as a huge mound enough for four people to share! Totally hits the spot.

Agora Churrascaria
1830 Main St.
Irvine, CA 92614


Darlene said...

If I remember correctly, the happy hours prices for beef are quite reasonable too. But again, a limited selection. And the cheese bread!!

I always carry my compact digital camera with me, backache be damned. My SLR which takes awesome photos isn't always practical.

KirkK said...

Hey Roger - Since you're originally from the area; how does this compare with Roda Viva in Puente Hills and Greenfields in West Covina?

Roger said...

Oh my! Thanks for reminding me about the cheese bread darlene! It also brings to mind the banana...though I'll have to look up the name for its preparation.

Kirk, Agora is a lot better than Roda Viva. The most significant differences are:
1) larger selection at the salad bar and hot dishes. taste better too.
2) much better (and juicier) beef. Beef from Roda Viva just doesn't have the same "sweetness" as Agora.
There's probably a far better way to describe that unique flavor, but this is the best I can do =\

As for Greenfields, I haven't tried it yet but I sure will now!

Thanks for dropping by, guys.

RecipeGirl said...

Looks like a great place!

I stopped into Ritz camera the other day to browse and left with a point and shoot. I told the dude at the counter (a photographer) that I was looking for something that would be appropriate for things like Disneyland and the occasional food shots while out running around (and it had to fit in my pocket too!) He talked me into the Nikon Coolpix. Now I can just stick it in my purse (or pocket) and I can be the freak in the restaurant who is taking pics of food!

Charlie Fu said...

Greenfields is the ish. Significantly better than Roda Viva could ever dream of being.

A place that serves really good BBQ is this Argentinian restaurant in downtown brea. THey have BBQ on sunday for brunch.... It's probably the only Brazilian BBQ in Socal not owned by koreans.

Thistlemoon said...

I have the same issue - I forget my camera sometimes and then it really is hard to write an article with no pictures!

I have been to a Brazilian BBQ place like this in the past and I usually only do the salad bar! So much food just with that!

Welcome to The Foodie Blogroll!

Anonymous said...

Oh man... i'm not from cali, but you've sold me on this churrascaria! meat on a stick... lots of meat on a stick, wait, BIG pieces of lots of meat on a stick. I'm IN.

joanh said...

Mmm. I will totally have to try this place. I had brazilian bbq for the first time in Europe, of all places! and I agree- spent half the time trying to figure out how they grilled their meat.