I'm not sure if this is true for all Brazilian restaurants or just this one, but I learned one thing at Rio 40 Degrees on St. Clair West - the portions are huge! When Rich and I dine out, we usually like to each have an appetizer prior to our main course. Many times I find the appetizer is the most innovative and tasty part of the menu, and the course of my meal that I enjoy the most.
So for our starters, I chose Iscas de peixe - breaded fish fingers ($10) and Rich chose the Picanha com mandicoca - strips of rump steak with fried onions and cassava ($13). I thought that we could also share a small house salad as well, just to give us some vegetables - it only cost $3 so how big could it be?? Well, we soon found out that each of our "appetizers" were enough to feed a family of 4. The salad you see on both those plates are from the same "small" salad! It was an amazing salad too, with lettuce, tomato, olives, cucumber and artichoke (my new go-to vegetable). The fish fingers came as a huge plate of large chunks of white fish, lightly coated with breading and accompanied with a delicious mayo-based rose dipping sauce. And then came the equally gigantic plate of tender rump steak strips with a heaping side of fried onions and roasted cassava, which is a potato-like root vegetable with a unique flavour.
Needless to say, we were stuffed after the appetizers (which we could not finish!) and still had the mains to come. For the main, we each ordered the Moqueca de peixe - halibut cooked in palm oil, tomatoes, green peppers, onions, coconut milk, baby shrimp, coriander leaaves and spices, served with rice and cassva route flour puree ($17). Again, we didn't realize that this course came as a enormous pot of stew that could feed a small army. Luckily, the waitress had taken pity on us (or could not believe we meant what we asked for) and only wrote down one order of the main. Even so, we only took a few bites of it and then decided to pack up the table full of food to take home and eat tomorrow. The thought of dessert did not even cross our minds as we hefted our doggy-bagged load and waddled out of the restaurant.
In hindsight, as usual we enjoyed the appetizer courses more than the main, partly because we were stuffed by then and partly because we found the main a bit bland and soupy. So next time we come back, we might just eat appetizers as the whole dinner... or maybe only 1 or 2 appetizers instead of 3! Rio 40 Degrees is great value for the money and was full of Brazilian/Portuguese clientele, so I think the food is the real deal.
1256 St Clair Avenue West, Toronto, ON M6E 1B9
Telephone : 416-651-1476