|With the flash of a waiter's knife carving wood-fired meat at your table, Choripan Rodizio in Hackensack appears to be serious about bringing customers the experience of eating at an Argentinian grill restaurant.|
|However, my teenage son complained everything he tried was too chewy, too salty or too dry, and he left a lot of meat on his plate.|
By VICTOR E. SASSON
We loved the salads, pasta and steak on our first visit to Choripan Rodizio in Hackensack.
But when we returned to celebrate a birthday with the signature all-you-can-eat, Argentinian-style meat feast, all I heard was complaints.
I haven't eaten meat or poultry for more than 3 years. I'm perfectly happy with Choripan's wonderful soups and salads.
Estrachatella, a fantastic soup of spinach with beaten eggs in chicken broth.
My teenage son, on the other hand, is a dedicated carnivore, and I recall how much he wanted to try the all-you-can-eat rodizio we saw at Casa Nova Grill in Newark last year.
This past Tuesday, his birthday, we were among the first customers at Choripan, and I asked about the $15 rodizio special I had seen advertised in Premiere Savings magazine -- a 50% discount.
For $15 a person, we were planning to order the all-you-can eat meal, with two side dishes, for my son, wife and mother-in-law, but the waiter said no such special is offered on Tuesdays.
I should have brought the page from the Spring 2013 issue of the magazine with me.
Plan B was for my son to have the all-you-can-eat meal, and the rest of us to order a la carte.
|Remolacha, Huevo y Chaucas is a salad of beets, string beans and boiled egg in the house vinaigrette dressing, above. Espinaca, Peras, Nueces y Roqueford is a fresh spinach salad with pears, walnuts and blue cheese in a balsamic dressing, below.|
We started with two wonderful salads to share -- one with beets and the other with fresh spinach as the main ingredients ($8.25 and $8.50, respectively).
I followed with a spinach-egg-drop soup, one of the great dishes Italians immigrants brought to Argentina ($6).
The waiter began coming over to the table with a long, sharp knife and skewers of chicken, sausage, beef, pork and turkey bacon that had been rotated over a wood fire in the open kitchen.
The aroma could take you back to the caveman era.
My son started eating, but didn't seem that enthusiastic. He certainly didn't seem intent on setting a new record for meat consumption at one meal.
|Two side dishes come with the all-you-can-eat rodizio. My son finished the tasty rice and beans, and took home the crisp, skin-on french fries.|
I asked him what was wrong, and he said the meat he tried was "too chewy." Then, he described the other portions as "too dry" or "too salty."
My wife ordered the same pasta dish she had the last time, Linguine A La Vodka with shrimp ($14.50), and my mother-in-law had Grilled Salmon served with sauteed spinach ($17.75).
They also ordered Chicken Noodle Soup ($5.50).
Linguine A La Vodka with jumbo shrimp, above, and Grilled Salmon, below.
The salmon had some sort of breading on top that wasn't described on the menu, and the fresh spinach appeared to have been sauteed in lots of butter, also not mentioned on the menu.
My mother-in-law complained the dish had "too much grease," referring to the butter and breading.
She would have preferred the fish without breading, and the spinach sauteed in olive oil.
I plan to return to the restaurant with the $15 rodizio special ad, and ask for a credit or refund.
Choripan Rodizio, 72 Main St., Hackensack; 201-880-4832. BYO, metered street parking before 6 p.m., except Sundays. Closed Mondays.