Churrascaria Novo Mundo
It’s not an easy name for us English speakers to say. It’s even more difficult to spell. It means “new world barbeque restaurant.” I wouldn’t know about this place if it hadn’t been featured on national television. Ted Allen, a Food Network guru, highlighted its barbequed chicken as the best thing he ever ate...
The restaurant is located in a very non-descript storefront at 98 County Street in New Bedford. It’s not the type of place that you’d drive by and think, “let’s stop there …that place looks nice.” Their phone number is 508-991-8661.
I had lunch there on a Tuesday afternoon; I delayed my lunch until 1:30 so I could let the lunch crowd subside since the place has eleven tables and now has a national reputation. It was about half full when I arrived.
Once in and seated, you could be in Portugal. The unpretentious décor is very relaxing and the feeling is of genuine friendliness and pride. Portuguese is the primary language among the staff and many of the patrons. The menu is bi-lingual, so is the waitress, Carla. She’s worked there for the 18 years that Churrascaria has been open. She could not have been nicer. So far …delightful.
I looked around. This place is clean. Small, busy restaurants are almost impossible to keep spotless, there is always activity going on everywhere, it’s tough to clean where somebody is working. This place is spotless.
The menu is simple but with good variety. I was there to try one thing …the now famous barbeque chicken that is cooked on rotating spits over coal fire. (I’ve been in hundreds and hundreds of kitchens in my career; I’ve never seen anything like this chicken cooker.) I expected to pay a premium for this celebrated chicken. There it is on the menu, “Half barbequed chicken (hot sauce) ..$6.49.” So far, so good.
I’m not a barbeque fan. I don’t hate it; I just normally prefer something else. That was before I’d had this chicken. It’s not the smoky barbeque we expect from Tex-Mex cuisines; it has a little heat, not an overpowering amount, and a wonderful light vinegar, tomato, secret spice taste that delights. The combination of the cook technique and the sauce ...it’s a gift.
I was seated alone so I was only given a half loaf of bread and 8 butter cups. The plate comes with nicely prepared rice and shoestring fries, enough to equal two of the burger place’s extra-large orders. Use the extra sauce to season the fries... sinfully delicious.
Okay, I hear you, 3 starches and a protein …this is Portuguese comfort food, not diet food.
I ordered a duplicate meal, take-out, to bring to my wife, and I had a soda; the bill was under $15. I might move to New Bedford.