Kevin came home earlier than usual to take me out for dinner on my birthday. He said that he knew of this really nice Spanish/Portuguese churrascaria cum steakhouse in the Ironbound district and that we should totally go check it out. So, off we went to Ironbound for dinner!
Fernandes Steakhouse is not exactly smacked right in the heart of the Ironbound district. It is actually located in the outskirts, so if you don't have the address or a gps, you might just miss it. As we all know, the Ironbound is famous for it's Portuguese churrascaria and Fernandes is said to be one of the best around. Parking is also a breeze. There is a huge parking lot with valet service beside the restaurant.
From the moment we stepped into Fernandes, it felt like we left Newark for a bit and were transported to a Spanish winery in the countryside. With low lighting, exposed brick walls and really rustic decor, I felt that they did a good job with the decor. A perfect place to celebrate a special occasion. Also, there is a mariachi band that plays there during the weekends (too bad we missed out on that).
They have a pretty extensive ala carte menu but we knew that they were famous for their rodizio. So, we both went for the rodizio ($28.75 per person). For those of you who are not familiar with rodizio service churrascarias, this is how it works. You would pay a fixed price and the passadores (meat waiters) would come to your table with different types meat skewers and knives. It's a eat all you can and they would continue coming until you tell them that you had enough. We started off our dinner with a trip to the salad bar (which is also part of the rodizio). The salad bar wasn't all that big but it really doesn't matter. We were saving our stomachs for all the 'carne' that was coming!!! Oh and as usual, there were some pretty amazing bread served too.
After we were done with our salads, they cleared up our plates and started to set the table for our main course. They also brought out some complimentary sides and again, it is free flow. You can get them to top up the plates if you need more. We had a huge bowl of black beans, fries, rice, fried banana (they were good!), some sort of salsa and tapioca powder.
Ahhh at last. The passodores started bring out the meat on skewers and boy, did they bring out the meats! There were so many different kinds of meat and it was coming out non stop! Filet Mignon and turkey chunks wrapped in bacon, sirloin steak, prime rib, chorizo (some sort of spicy Iberian pork sausage), chicken wings and drumsticks, pork tenderloin, roast beef, short ribs, ham, cheese steak, garlic steak, chicken hearts, flank steak, beef kebabs....there were so many different types of meat, I can't really remember everything that they brought out!
Check out some of the meats that were part of the rodizio. The BBQ chefs were kind enough to allow me to step into their kitchen to take a picture of all the meats. Boy, they smelled so good and were soooo yummmy!
We initially ordered Iced Tea (which is actually Snapple - $3.75 each) to go with our dinner. However, mid way through our dinner, we noticed that almost every table had a pitcher of sangria. We thought that it was a good idea, since it goes really well with all that meat. So, we ordered a small pitcher ($15.50) too. Guess what? The sangria tasted amazing!!! Seriously, I have never tasted sangria that good before. I later found out that Fernandes is really famous for their sangria too! The two things that they are well known for is their rodizio and sangria. Looks like we hit a home run there :D
After we were done all the meats and told the passadores to stop, the captain came over and asked if we would like some dessert. We said no thanks, we were too full to eat anything else. He then said that we HAVE to try their grilled pineapples. It's part of the rodizio and truthfully, he has never eaten pineapples that sweet before. We have to try it. Well, if it's really that good, okay I guess. So, they brought out some pineapples on a skewer and yeah, they were good! I think they must have rubbed on some cinnamon on the outside of the pineapple before grilling. Also, the grilling really brought out the sweetness of the pineapple. It was juicy, super sweet, with a hint of cinnamon. Very good!Overall, we had a great rodizio experience. The ambiance was really nice, the passadores were friendly and the food as well as the drinks were just awesome! Definitely a perfect place to go to when you are celebrating a special occasion. Judging from the almost empty pitcher of sangria and the goofy big smile plastered across my face, I must say that I did have a very happy birthday indeed! :P
Fernandes Steakhouse II - Newark, NJ
152-170 Fleming Avenue,
Newark, NJ 07105
Tel: (973) 465 4533/589 4066/589 4099 (reservations)
Fax: (973) 589 6312