You might be surprised to find out that Charlotte's favorite (and only) Brazilian steakhouse actually originated in Brazil. If you've ever been to Chima, this shouldn't surprise you, because it feels authentic af. Ft. Lauderdale got the first US location in 2004, and now Chima has four US locations, and Charlotte is lucky enough to be included in that exclusive club. If you have ever been to a Brazilian steakhouse, you know how magical they are. Close to twenty different varieties of meat brought to your table on skewers? It's every American's Brazilian dream come true! We have long been Chima fans, particularly during restaurant week, as you can get so much bang for your buck here--you can save $20 per person off of the typical rate during restaurant week! Jason's history with Chima is particularly storied, and you can hear more about his meaty history in detail on this episode of the podcast (preview: his muscles get bigger with every bite of meat he takes). We felt completely and totally honored when Chima invited Scallionpancake out a few weeks ago to formally review Charlotte's meat amusement park. They seriously treated us like royalty. Look! We even got a sign:
Okay, here is how Chima works, for the uninitiated:
Wonderful servers bring food accessories to your table (meat-cessories!). This includes mashed potatoes, polenta, fried bananas, turkey pate, meat croquettes, and, the very best thing of all: cheese bread. You can try a little bit of everything else, but eat all of the cheese bread. If you have any of it left over, please DM us and we will send you our P.O. Box number where you can send us all of your uneaten bread.
Then, you hit up the salad bar. There are differing opinions on this, but I like to be liberal at the salad bar. It's all fresh, tasty, and it counterbalances the meat situation that's about to hit you hard. Jason is dainty at the salad bar, as he thinks it is foolish to use valuable stomach space on anything that isn't meat on a stick. On our last visit, he broke his own rule and went all out and ate a heart of palm (yes, just the one), and a sliver of Parmesan.
When you feel prepared, you should turn your attention to your "meat button." Don't overthink that term, thanks. Your meat button has two speeds: orange, which means: "Yes, please, I would like all the meats" and black, which indicates: "I am on the verge of a physical and mental breakdown and I need a brief meat hiatus."
When you flip that button to orange, it is GO TIME, BABY. The meat comes fast, and you've gotta be ready. Do you want top sirloin? YES. Lamb shank? YES. Filet? SIR, YES, SIR Parmesean pork? YUP. Hot dog? GTFO of here with that noise. No offense to the hot dog and the chicken, but that's not what you're here for. You are here for the best of the best, and you must plan wisely.
What if you are here with...gasp...a vegetarian/vegan??! No worries. They don't have to starve. Plenty of options for them on the salad bar, plus these two skewers for them--vegetables and, the newest option at Chima, cinnamon roasted pineapple! Whhaaatt. I know. Pretty great--even if you're an omnivore.
Jason and I love the sauces at Chima, and sampled them all on our most recent visit. Our favorites are the hot sauce and the horseradish. Put it all over everything! Even your date, if you want to get weird.
If you only learn one thing from this blog post, we need it to be this: Chima is not over when you're full. Chima is over when you hate yourself. And that's the best lesson I can give you. Now is not the time to be conservative. Now is not the time to diet. You are gonna meat out, k? You need to be in a full-scale meat sweat by the time you leave.
Our most recent visit is the only time we have found valuable stomach space for dessert, and we are so glad we did. We tried the chocolate peanut butter lava cake and the Brazilian trio. The cake was good, but if you are only getting one dessert, we highly recommend the trio. It comes with a walnut cream, a beijinho, which is a mixture of coconut and condensed milk, and a brigadeiro, which is a chocolate and condensed milk concoction. The coconut was our favorite of the three, and we would like an entire vat of it. Well, two vats. One for each of us. Everyone knows I hate to share dessert.
If it's your first visit, you absolutely must try the Caipirinha, which is Brazil's national cocktail. A traditional Caipirinha is made with cachaca, sugar, and lime. How is it different from a Mojito? A mojito is made with rum, which is distilled from molasses, and cachaca is a liquor distilled from sugarcane. Chima also makes a mango and strawberry variety in addition to the traditional lime flavor.
We also recommend a nice red wine to accompany all of that meat.
Chima has great lighting and a hip vibe. Also, with everything going on, Chima is a great spot to go with friends or on a date--it's as much entertainment as it is a dinner.
The servers are so attentive at Chima. There is always someone asking you if you need anything. When your meat button is on "go" the food comes around so quickly, but the servers are very aware if you are on a meat break, and they won't bother you if your button is turned to black.
Jason's muscles really do get bigger when he eats meat, but only the muscles on the top half of his body, so he collapses like an accordion; Why aren't meat-musement parks a thing?; I wish every restaurant brought around items on skewers--right down to the check; We really do have a P.O. Box filled with Charlottean's unwanted bread; Or do we?; After eating at Chima, you need to lie down within 20 minutes before meat fatigue kicks in--you've been warned.
Disclaimer: This meal was provided free of charge in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. All opinions are our own, and we were not compensated for this review.