The Fall of Texas de Brazil.
Updated: Sep 22, 2021
Some legendary places in Aruba can't live up to their reputation anymore. Sadly, Texas de Brazil is one of them.
Texas de Brazil lives in the mind of many as this place of indulgence, where maybe once a year we could go for a night of sinful eating. It is legendary! Back in the days companies that threw Christmas dinner parties there were considered big spenders and the employees and guests would see that as a generous splurge. No better place to go as locals to satisfy meat cravings and for sure the best salad bar known, full of delicacies, every cheese imagined, every green, fresh and crisp and pricey items we usually don't eat on the daily, like asparagus, mushrooms, hearts of palm... were there in massive bowls for an all-you-can-eat frenzy.
Located in the literal busiest area of this island, it is hard to miss and it has been a staple on the list of franchises that adorn the hotel strip, Texas de Brazil reigned there, crowning La Hacienda Mall. It has never been cheap. I remember the first time I visited I payed around $100! but hey, an all-you-can-eat of the finest cuts of beef, poultry, lamb... plus the massive salad bar made us believe it was a steal! Once-a-year splurge, who cares! Who is gonna pay $100 somewhere else for a 3-course dinner when you can have endless courses there?
Then COVID hit and Texas has been opening and closing for periods, I assume the operation cost is high and the patrons flow hasn't been the best. Buffet-style are not really on trend right now with all the anti-covid-protocols. It's my first time in years and the place and uniforms feel a little beat by the time. It needs a facelift for sure.
So recently, two of my closest and myself decided to treat ourselves to a TdB night. Upon arrival, our hostess seemed very annoyed, struggling to find my last name on the reservation list. I get it, it is not the usual one, but it's not a Russian one either! At least we were informed that they are having a local special price, 85 florins per person (wait for it).
And OFF we went. Alejandro was the nice gentleman that was assigned to our table. Polite, easy going and smiling all the time, gave us all the details and responded to every question. Found out that they have two kinds of Sangria, the cheap one and the premium one. What the hell, sangria is sangria so we ordered the cheap one. A glass pitcher arrived minutes later, filled with the sweetest sangria you could ever imagine. I personally didn't feel the taste of alcohol. I don't think someone can genuinely enjoy drinking 4 glasses of that iced syrup. Also, a lady kept coming to our table to top off our glasses when they weren't even an inch below the rim. That move felt very intrusive and pushy. What was the point? to empty the pitcher as quick as possible to make us go for a second one? no ma'am.
Pão de queijo (cheesy bread rolls) were put on the table and we said ok let's go. The hot items included a seafood chowder, black beans and some Fish and Shrimp termidor (I personally felt it was just a bechamel-style sauce). The soup was bland, the seafood in it seemed those that come in a mix bag.
My biggest heartbreak came with I approached the salad bar. I am telling you again, this was a legendary part of the Texas de Brazil experience. It was so underwhelming, to say the least. The only green was lettuce, no asparagus, arugula, spinach or anything else, the cheeses and cold cuts section was very simple, platters and bowls scattered to fill up the space that once was full with way more options. A sad slaw, dry hearts of palm... AND NO SUSHI! it's gone. I was shocked. It is all in the pictures. I won't lie about this.
I tried a spoonful of some of the prepared options. The Tabbouleh was wilted. Best one was the corn and bean salad, seafood second.
Now to the main act: Meat servers' rounds felt slow. Some of the Picanha had a strong freezer taste. The spicy one was nice, the flank steak was also amazing. The lamb was terrible, none of us could eat it, it had also a very strong taste.
I am not gonna talk on the behalf of my friends but I don't think we paid the 100 and something florins happily (60+ U.S dollars). There will be a 15% of service charged added to the bill 🙃. Overall, I feel we experienced a downgraded version of the real deal. The international website shows how extensive the offer actually is. They expanded to even Dubai!
Texas de Brazil was a place of indulgence and celebration that topped the list of many locals and tourists when it came to dining options in Aruba. The business and potential is there and their employees certainly add a value to the experience, now it’s time for the management to tap into what is needed to return this restaurant to its golden era.
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