Barril Grill is a new Brazilian restaurant in Astoria on Broadway. From what I've heard, the past two ventures there have been unsuccessful, but I think the location is good and the food—particularly the meat—is great. Hopefully this restaurant will stick around for a while.
The restaurant is a little more casual than I had expected, the lighting is too bright and the cafeteria style buffet isn't exactly romantic - and I came here on a date. I guess I was hoping for candlelight and something a bit more exotic. Really though from what I've heard of Brazilian cuisine, the thing to go for is the meat. And we got meat.
After picking a few things out from the buffet including spinach salad, black beans with some kind of meat, and a few other items both hot and cold, we proceeded to the grill window. There, a friendly cook offered us a wide selection including pork and chicken sausage, tenderloin, skirt steak and several other meats, he even gave us little free sample tastes. Everything we tried was very good.
The skirt steak was tender, juicy and flavorful (better than what I had at Novecento). The chicken sausage was flavorful, but not as tasty as the pork. The tenderloin was perfectly medium rare and was also tender and very tasty - my only complaint was that I got too much to eat before it got cold, I should have saved room for seconds.
Best of all, the price can't be beat: the by-the-pound buffet is $6.99. Our entire dinner was $7.00 each (plus a bottle of Argentinian wine, which brought the total cost for my date to an affordable $40). And furthermore the clientèle provided us with some nice entertainment: the restaurant owner was climbing on the tables to clean a water feature in the middle of the dining room, one guy on a date was unknowingly wearing his sweater inside-out, the Brazilian guy at the table next to us wouldn't get off his cell phone, and there seemed to be a DJ setting up but no one there to dance. All in all it was a delicious dinner, next time I'll probably skip the buffet and go straight for the meat counter.