Tuesday, December 4, 2018

A Brilliant Brazilian Buffet Hidden in Santa Ana

Silva's Fresh Eatery and Churrascaria
3672 South Bristol St.
Santa Ana, CA 92704

The term hidden gem gets thrown around a little too much these days. It has almost come to mean a restaurant you haven't been to yet. Silva's Fresh Eatery and Churrascaria is a literal hidden gem. It's located on the backside of an LA Fitness and behind the large Chase Bank and the former Famous Dave's space on the corner of Bristol and MacArthur. Easily overlooked due to no street visibility, Silva's should definitely not be overlooked for those of you that enjoy churrasco and Brazilian favorites.

A lot of you know the Texas de Brazil's, Agora's, and the Fogo de Chao's of the world. These Brazilian restaurants are well known, and for good reason, they are all very good and serve some awesome meat options. If you have been to these Brazilian restaurants, you know they are pretty pricey. Dinner at these three giants in Brazilian fare will set you back $50 to $60 dollars per person. Even a big meat eater like myself has a hard time eating enough at these places to get my monies worth. My lighter eating wife has no chance to eat enough at these places to make it worth it, so we hardly ever get to experience Brazilian cuisine. Silva's is trying to change that.

Silva's has been open for nearly a year now. They have gone through some changes during that time, as most businesses do. When they first started they tried out a pay by the weight option which did not really jive with many diners. They recently switched to the much more accepted all you can eat feast option, but they also offer appetizers, entree's and what we hear are some really good pizzas from their kitchen for people that do not want to go the all you can eat route. Speaking of the kitchen, the man at the helm is Chef John Vega, formerly of Roy's in Newport Beach.

My friend Mark and I were invited to give Silva's a try this past week. After the quicker than expected drive up the 405 Freeway from Aliso Viejo, we arrived here just before 7 pm. We were met by a hip, yet comfortable dining room, which strikes the delicate balance of being the perfect spot for a date night venue and a place you can invite your whole family to experience. There's the fully stocked and quite impressive bar off to the right of the entrance, and the buffet line that starts in the far left-hand side of the restaurant. Plenty of  Brazilian themed framed pictures dot the walls here, but not obtrusively so. Let's take a quick tour through the buffet line.

I'm not going to lie to you, I skipped the salad portion of the buffet line. The produce section of this buffet does deserve some notice though. Silva's uses locally grown and organic vegetables, which in turn makes for better salads. Nothing personal about salads, but when I'm at a buffet, I tend to focus on the hot food items and at a Brazilian buffet, I definitely do not stray too far from the meats.

There were plenty of hot food options to fill my plate at Silva's before I got to the meats that were slow cooked in their churrascaria. The options were plentiful on this evening; Black Bean Stew with Sausage, Roasted Cauliflower, Ratatouille, Truffle Mac and Cheese, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Salmon Filets, a Roasted Potato Medley, and more. Of course, I was pretty distracted by the station that was coming up next.

This proteins at Silva's are the star of the show here. They may not have as many offerings as their other Brazilian steakhouse counterparts, but the seven selections that they do have were all stellar. Highlights included their Skirt Steak with hints of garlic and herbs included, Tri-Tip, and the Gaucho Style Sausage, which was one of the better sausages I've had in some time. After watching the gaucho slice the meat I could not wait to get back to my table to dig in.

This was plate one of two that I had, and I was ready to be wheeled out of Silva's by the end of our visit, The meats were awesome and I would definitely suggest piling up on them because that's where the greatest value is when eating at a Brazilain buffet. This might be hard to do because the other hot dishes are stellar as well. It's been a week and I still crave their very good mac and cheese and the Feijoada, also known as black bean stew. Very homey and comforting.

It's also worth mentioning that not only is the bar strikingly beautiful and well stocked at Silva's, but they make some fantastic cocktails. Mark and I had to give their Caipirinha ($12) a try. This is the national cocktail of Brazil and I suspect a distant cousin of the trendy mojito. I liked this version better, as it did not have an overpowering mint flavor to it. A very refreshing and easy going beverage that went well with the meats and side items here.

Both Mark and I found Silva's to be a great alternative to the more pricey Brazilian steakhouses that dot the county. Instead of paying $50 or more per person, the all you can eat option at Silva's is a staggering $22.95. Also worth noting is that unlike those other steakhouses if you are not in the mood for an all you can eat feast, you do have the option to order from their kitchen. I've heard that their pizzas are excellent. Silva's also offers a happy hour that runs from 3pm to 7 every day and has some great drink specials, along with half off on those pizzas and other appetizers. Lastly, they also have late night dining options on Friday and Saturdays for people that want to enjoy some music spun by their DJ. It really seems like Silva's is trying to do just about anything to battle their hidden location to get you in the door because they know that once you find them, you'll love the food you find there and will be a frequent visitor after that.

I'd like to thank everyone we encountered on our visit to Silva's Fresh Eatery and Churrascaria. It seems like the staff was extremely excited to share this concept and are definitely behind it. A special thanks to General Manager Alex Ferreira, who not only made sure we were well taken care of but also concocted out excellent cocktails on this evening. Thanks for your very kind hospitality, Alex. One last thank you to Bob Bradley at Bradley PR and Marketing for setting up this visit. Thanks for helping us find this truly hidden gem, Bob. Much appreciated.

For those of you that want to learn more about Silva's, head over to their website here: https://www.silvasfresheatery.com/

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