Pellegtini's Brazilian Steak House Introduces Rodizio to Redding
By Sandie Tillery
A Taste of BrazilApril 2007
By Sandie Tillery
There’s a new fire raging at the western end of Hartnell Avenue in Redding — where the aromas of meat barbecued Brazilian style are making their way from the ovens and around the dining room to table after table. Pellegrini’s Brazilian Steak House opened just a few doors north of Raley’s in late February. a unique combination of all-you-can-eat buffet dining and sizzling hot meat sliced to order from the waiter’s skewer at each table make this more than a meal out. Pellegrini’s makes dining out an event.
The centerpiece of the experience is the 12 cuts of meat packed in rock salt for tenderizing, then roasted to perfection in the ovens. according to mauro Pellegrini, they use very few seasonings or sauces just so they can bring out the true flavors of the meat. The meat, including seven cuts of beef, pork, ham, sausage, lamb and chicken, is roasted on skewers. When ready, the waiters take the skewers straight from the ovens to each table where patrons may choose their favorite cuts, to be sliced and served on the spot. Like the buffet, the meat keeps coming until the patron says “enough!”
Churrasco, or barbecue, was introduced to the Gaucho pampas in the 17th century when the vaqueiros (cowboys) of Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina began the tradition. Rodizio (serving meat at the tables) was introduced to the restaurants in Brazil in the 1960s and has become a national passion. it’s no wonder that Brazil is the largest meat-producing nation in the world. Now the Brazilian rodizio is gaining international popularity, according to mauro. Though theirs is not the first Brazilian barbecue in the United States, it is certainly the first in northern California.
Evie Pellegrini adds her own creativity to her thoroughly authentic Brazilian entrees, salads and desserts. Her native food repertoire is heavily influenced by her Italian and Portuguese heritage along with other European flavors that have traveled to the largest South American country through the generations. She rotates her 52 menu selections throughout each week along with daily specials, so every day is a unique taste treat. Evie emphasizes that even vegetarians can enjoy the variety of fresh fare in the buffet selections. Evie says you eat Brazilian food “with your eyes first” because of the variety and the color.
A full bar features caipirinha, a vodka-based drink mixed with a choice of tropical fruit juices, sugar and ice. The Brazilian imported all-natural fruit juices are also used in their non-alcoholic Brazilian sodas and homemade ice creams.
Mauro and Evie Pelligrini moved to Redding from Brazil by way of the Bay area late in 2006. after a yearlong search throughout Northern California, doing a study of the area, taking interest surveys, and visiting often, they decided Redding was the place they wanted to call home and build their business. Neither of them is new to the restaurant business. Mauro was the “barbecue’ man for his grandfather and father’s restaurant in Brazil. They owned their own restaurant in the Bay area. evie is a chef, working on several cookbooks featuring her Brazilian specialties. She is looking forward to adding catering services and cooking classes to their busy schedule in the future.
Pellegrini’s Brazilian Steak House can be found at 40 Hartnell ave. in Redding. The restaurant is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. Mauro and Evie make it clear that they want their patrons to stay and enjoy their eating experience. From the friendly hostesses to the interactive color wheel that invites or declines the need for service at the tables, the Pellegrinis stress that they want everyone to feel special and to enjoy the “adventure of trying new things.”