Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Meat-topia at Agora in Irvine!


Agora Churrascaria
1830 Main St.
Irvine, CA 92614

After leaving Agora Churrascaria, I came straight home and started looking for flights to Brazil. I do not eat Brazilian food all the time, but if it is as good as we had this night, it might be time for me to hop a plane and experience it for a few weeks or so.

We recently were invited to a blogger's dinner at Agora Churrascaria. Our hostess's for the evening were the wonderful Diana Daniele and equally great Jane Gillespie. They brought together the best blogger's that Orange County has to offer. I have read many of these authors blogs way before I even thought of starting this blog. Anita from Diary of a Mad Hungry Woman, Tom from Tom's Foodie Blog, Griffin, from Griffin Eats OC, Bobby from 100 Eats 100 Days, Austin representing The Hungry Dogg, Suki from Eat Suki Eat, the very talented Anne Marie, from Brekkie Fan's Blog, and the cantankerous duo of Kat from Kat's 9 Lives and Minerva from Much Ado About Fooding were all in attendance. As great as the company was, the food would not be overshadowed.

Before we get a look at the food, first a little bit about Agora. Agora is a Brazilian steakhouse opened by Scott Im in 2005. He is Korean born, but grew a love of Brazilian food while spending part of his youth in the South American country. Agora is an all you can eat meat lovers paradise. Meat is brought to tables by gauchos, who slice the various cuts of meat right off of the same metal skewers they are cooked on.




I snuck into the kitchen to take a few pictures of the meat cooking. Leonardo, the man holding the skewers above, is the General Manager of Agora and he told me that they go through about a ton of meat a week here. They offer 12 different cuts of meat for lunch service, and then that number jumps to 16 for dinner. It is not all about the meat at Agora though.





At Agora they feature authentic Brazilian drinks. They have four versions of the famous Brazilian cocktail, the Caipirinha. I sampled three versions on this night. The Original Caipirinha, which contains Sagatiba, Cachaca, lime and sugar was my second favorite version of this drink on this night. It tasted very refreshing, kind of like a cousin to the Mojito. Other versions included a Passion Fruit Caipirinha and, my favorite drink of the night, the Strawberry Basil Caipirinha. The canned Brazilian soda, Guarana was also a table favorite for the non-drinking crowd. Katie thought this was a sweeter version of Sprite, that was more refreshing.




Before the meat even hit the table, we snacked on gluten free, Brazilian Cheese Bread, Fried Bananas, and a salsa like, Tomato Vinaigrette. The cheese bread bowl was refilled numerous times throughout the night. I liked the banana as well. It was kind of nice to switch from savory to sweet every so often.











Not in the mood for meat? They had a well stocked salad bar featuring over 16 different salads, plus a selection of cold cuts, cheeses, and shrimp cocktail. Standouts for us were the Caesar Salad, Potato Salad, and the Shrimp Cocktail.







I knew the meat was on its way, but I had to go through the hot food bar at least once. I could have made a whole meal out of just the Black Bean Stew. There were pieces of what I thought was linguica in it. Very good when paired with the Garlic Rice. Other items of note were the Clams, Collard Greens, and Mashed Potatoes. All of this was a precursor to the main event, so lets bring on the meat!



At Agora there is only one rule that you have to follow. Green means go, and red means stop. As long as you have your coaster turned to the green side, the gauchos will keep bringing you meat, until you can not pack anymore away. Some meats were slid off the skewers, and others you had to use tongs to grab. I caught the hang of this rather quickly.













Wow, and you thought I was just kidding about all of the meat! This is just 12 of the 16 plus offerings on this night. My favorites included the Skirt Steak, Lamb Chop, and the Linguisa. All of the meats were cooked perfectly here. I have been to one other all you can eat Brazilian restaurant, and all of the meats started to taste the same. This was not the case here. At Agora the meats were seasoned differently, so it avoided this problem. Other meats included Filet Mignon, Bacon Wrapped Chicken, Chicken Hearts, Top Sirloin, Top Sirloin Cap, Tri-Tip, Pork Tenderloin with Parmesan, Baked Salmon, Beef Ribs, Beef Skewers, and Filet Wrapped in Bacon. For those that wish to have their meat with a different degree of doneness, the gauchos were very accommodating, and every effort is made to get you the type of meat you are after.





By this time of the night I knew I was going to have to be wheeled out of here, but of course there is always room for dessert. Everyone around me got a different dessert, so I took a picture of all of them. I ordered the Chocolate Gelato, which was a light end to my very heavy meal. Katie got the Acai, which was topped with bananas and granola. I did sneak a bite of Kat's Cheesecake, and thought it was very creamy. I was not as fond of this Flan at Agora. It was a little too chalky for me. I like a lighter, more caramel tasting flan.

Our night at Agora was a great experience. We left very full and satisfied with our meal. This is a special occasion kind of place for sure. We would like to express again our thanks to Scott Im, Leonardo Giannotti, and all of the wonderful staff at Agora for making this a great night out for us and all of our fellow bloggers. Also, thanks again to our hostess's for the evening, Jane Gillespie and Diana Daniele. We had a great time!

For more information on Agora Churrascaria, click here: http://www.agorachurrascaria.com/

Agora Churrascaria on Urbanspoon

Agora Churrascaria generously gave us two $50 gift cards. We would like two of our lucky readers to experience this restaurant for themselves. There are two ways to enter. One winner will be picked from the comment section on this post, and the other will be picked from the comment section for this post on our Facebook page, which can be accessed here: http://www.facebook.com/EatingMyWayThroughOC One comment per page, and the contest ends on Sunday, July 1st at 11:59 PM. Winner will be announced on Monday July 2nd. Good luck!



16 comments:

  1. Awesome review. Can't wait to give this place a try. :)

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  2. I would love to take my husband here for our anniversary. He went to a place like this in Dallas a few years ago and still talks about it to this day! Our anniversary is on July 3rd..just sayin.. :)

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  3. That place looks great! I would love to give it a try. Ryan

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  4. I've heard amazing things about Agora and loved seeing your photos. I can't wait to try it soon!

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  5. Looks good! I actually live right across from a place like this in Fullerton. Do they have a cott somewhere in the back, in case you need an emergency nap?

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  6. I'd love to check this place out!! It's a meat lover's dream!

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  7. You're description of everything has my mouth watering so I could make good use of that gift card! :O)

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    1. You are the winner of the $50 gift card! Congrats! Send your address to my email address at grimson32@gmail.com

      You are going to have a great time at this restaurant! Thanks to everyone for commenting!

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  8. Don't pick me - I just wanted to say I'm totally not cantankerous =P

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  9. Great review. Hope to give this place a try.

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  10. Thank you for your review! I've always wanted to try Agora in Irvine. My churrascaria platonic ideal is Fogo de Chao, but I'd love find somewhere local. Thank you for this lovely giveaway.

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  11. I would really love to take my husband & kids here for lunch! My husband loves Guarana also and we can't find it anywhere.
    Michelle Jurgens
    Michellerenee_28@msn.com

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  12. I didn't see where you rated this restaurant... but I take it you would give it 5 stars. Also, as a long time fan, I've noticed more and more pictures/postings on the drinks. What's with that?

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  13. Anonymous - We never rate restaurants when we are invited to them. I usually only have iced tea when we are out to eat, which is not very exciting. So when I get a specialty drink, or something out of the ordinary, I try to include a picture of it. Thanks for being a long time fan. I really appreciate it.

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  14. I need that gift card !! I AM GOING THERE TONIGHT and Hosting a bday party for my friend there !!!

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  15. Sri - Sorry, we already had our winner for this. Thanks for checking out the blog, and keep a lookout for more contests in the future.

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