284 Glen St, Glen Cove
(516) 759-1913 | chamarodizio.com
Mineola’s monopoly on Portuguese restaurants is waning. Although there are still as many or more of these PortugueseBrazilian spots in the town as ever, diners have an increasing number of choices in other areas of the Island. That’s especially significant when it comes to the popular rodizio all-you- can-eat meat-centered meals heretofore available almost exclusively in Mineola.
This is aptly illustrated by the newest rodizio entry, located in Glen Cove. Chama, a no reservations Portuguese barbeque restaurant that opened in late February, features a 10-dish, $32.95 rodizio array as well as a full à la carte menu.
All the entrées come with bountiful family-style servings of house salad, french fries, white rice, sautéed vegetables, boiled potatoes and homemade potato chips. The rodizio dinner offers all of the above and more, including shredded collard greens, black beans, fried bananas and farofa.
Chama is not a fancy, highfalutin restaurant, nor does it pretend to be. It serves large quantities of wholesome food in modest surroundings at manageable prices. Someone at our table called it “a fun place.” And though there are no culinary disasters here, some dishes are better than others and service, especially on busy weekends, can be erratic and inconsistent with long gaps between courses.
The sizzling skewers of the rodizio that keep coming until the diners who ordered them surrender, feature chicken legs, two types of Brazilian sausage, top sirloin, skirt steak, short ribs, spare ribs, bacon wrapped turkey, pork and beef cubes. (An all beef, no pork rodizio is available for $38.95). All the pork selections are first class as are the equally tasty, vibrantly seasoned Brazilian sausages. Yet, about half of the beef selections were rubbery.
At the meal’s outset ferret out the dense, sturdy Portuguese corn bread from the bread basket and skip the other mundane choices. Then order a bowl of the modestly priced green soup ($5.95) a rich, silky, potato brew speckled with slices of chorizo and collard greens. Barbecued chicken is always a wise pick at a Portuguese restaurant and the juicy, crisp-skinned one here lives up to its reputation. It’s $23.95 for a whole bird and $12.95 for a half—enough for most diners.
The pork loin ($17.95) had the satisfying heft of a main course and yet a superb refinement as well. The velvety grilled cod fish (the reconstituted, salted version so common in Portugal and Spain, $24.95) proved that despite its emphasis on meat Chama’s chef and co-owner Jose Marquez has a deft hand with fish as well.
Choose one of the three or four fairly priced Portuguese wines by the glass or a pitcher of sangria to accompany the meal and end it with either a large, rustic slice of flan ($6) or the towering heavenly whites: egg whites, caramel and whipped cream in a sundae glass ($6).