Tucked away on 1604 by Stone Oak Parkway, it’s easy to miss Chama Gaucha despite the giant sign with the fake flames. We never would have found our way to the place if our friends hadn’t invited us to meet them for dinner there a few months back. Since then, we’ve been several times. I am even willing to forget that Chama Gaucha is a small chain (San Antonio, Houston, Chicago) because it is so yummy. It’s hard to find any fault at all with an establishment that serves perfectly prepared meat non-stop (until you turn your card to red, of course).. well unless you are a vegetarian.
We usually go to Chama Gaucha with our friends B and S, a couple that loves meat just as much as we do. On weekends, there is typically a short wait for your table, even if you’ve made a reservation. No matter though, its nice to sit and enjoy a quick pre-dinner drink at the bar. But, the magic begins once you are seated at the table.
The wait staff works as a team, as opposed to one person serving, so a swarm of staff descends to take your jackets, pull out chairs, pour water, and refresh drinks. Once situated, it’s time to hit up the salad bar. The salad bar is so impressive, it’s difficult not to ruin your appetite on salad and fixins alone. You’ll find all sorts of cheeses, salamis, prosciutto, marinated artichoke hearts and asparagus, caesar salad, the usual salad bar items, mushroom salad… the list goes on. Do not let your eyes get bigger than your stomach… limit your salad or you will be disappointed you are so full by the time the meat comes.
It’s like the staff is watching for the last diner to finish the very last bite of salad. As soon as that happens, they descend once again, clearing plates, setting sides (friend plantains, potatoes and sauces), and refreshing drinks. And almost immediately, whether your little paper card is turned to green or not, the meat service begins. Pretty much everything is delicious and moist… our favorites are the rack of lamb, filet mignon, the bottom sirloin, the prime sirloin… oh, and the chicken legs and the sausage. The only meats that we don’t waste stomach space on are the parmesan pork and the bacon-wrapped chicken breast. They aren’t bad, just not as good as everything else.
If by the end of your meat overindulgence, you have a bit of room left, try a dessert. B and S really like the chocolate cake. We’ve tried the tres leches.. it’s good, but we’ve had better. Last time, we had the papaya creme which is basically papaya puree mixed with melted vanilla ice cream; it was topped with a generous pour of creme de cassis, a black currant liqueur… we polished off the whole thing.
Pay a visit to Chama Gaucha, but wear your loose pants.
We agree with the Fearless Critics’ assessment of the atmosphere.. it’s a bit corporate and lacking character. But, don’t let that stop you from the meat extravaganza.
We give Chama Gaucha a value score of 9.0. That means, what you pay is worth what you get. The per person cost is pricey, but for the amount and quality of food, it is well worth it. On occasion – neither your heart, nor your pocketbook would be well-served by dining there often.
18318 Sonterra Place
San Antonio, TX 78258