Good for Spooning
Adam Gomes and Via Brasil
From the age of thirteen Adam Gomes worked in the restaurant business. Adam worked his way up from dishwasher, to bus boy, server, bartender and on. In fact, he is still working for the same company he started with all those years ago. It’s the family business after all. His father opened the first Via Brasil in New York City in 1978 and then opened Plataforma, a more upscale Brazilian restaurant featuring rodizio-style churrascaria BBQ. And now he is the owner/manager, with his lovely wife Anna, of the Via Brasil Steakhouse in Summerlin. The Las Vegas Via Brasil is more closely related to Plataforma than the more casual original.
Adam credits his father’s work ethic and attention to quality control for the success of the family business in New York. Adam learned by observing his father’s methods and has carried that same level of consistency to Vegas. Because of his “from the ground up” training, he has a complete knowledge of how all aspects of the restaurant work. He’s not just a talking head; he’s walked in the shoes. To continue that path, all promotions are done from within at Via Brasil. No manager just walks in and takes over; they need to know how rodizio works, the culture of the company and what each tier of server is expected to do. This is old school training at its finest and many other restaurants and chains are adopting this format for training, but for Adam and Via Brasil, this is the norm. It takes a special skill set to serve at Via Brasil. All the meats are served on long, sword-like skewers and are carved with knives resembling machetes. New servers offer the easiest dishes to serve to the dining room. The most experienced servers can carve a roast suckling pig tableside. Rest assured, Adam Gomes can do all of it, and with style. From “touching tables” in a dining room that seats 375 to handling large parties, Adam walks through the spacious dining room with confidence born of a lifetime of customer service. Adam is no one-trick-pony though. He studied graphic design and created the logo, printed materials and overall design of Via Brasil Las Vegas.
Via Brasil in Summerlin, located at Charleston and Rampart diagonal from Boca Park, remains a family-owned and operated Brazilian riodizio steakhouse. Rodizio is an interactive form of service of all you care to enjoy samplings. In this case it is churrascaria where the meat is prepared in the kitchen and brought to be carved tableside. An immense salad bar with hot and cold dishes, including beef carpaccio, caprese salad, chilled grilled vegetables and prepared salads is available, which diners approach first, and perhaps during, their rodizio samplings. Side dishes typically include mashed potatoes, steamed or grilled seasonal vegetables, fried bananas and fabulous little “cheese bread” that is similar to the French gougeres.
Let’s be candid. A Brazilian rodizio BBQ is a carnivore’s dream come true, but Via Brasil is a steakhouse even a vegetarian will love. At brunch on Sundays there are 8 different meat selections, during the week and on weekends there are up to 21 choices. There are Brazilian BBQ chains out there, and you know who they are, but what makes Via Brasil shine above the rest is that they aren’t hemmed in by corporate policies and procedures on the menu. They can cater to the local market. If a vegetarian comes in with a group of omnivore friends, they are treated to special dishes, off the menu. The salad bar and menu change seasonally as do their cocktails, but don’t ever expect to see the classic Caipirinha taken off the menu for any reason, but you will see seasonal variations including fresh fruits. Be sure to finish off your meal with the flambéed bananas—they are not flambéed at the table though, for safety reasons. Pictured here with grilled pineapple, ice cream and berries; there is more than enough to share.
Each year in September the Gomes family hosts a party to celebrate Brazilian Independence Day. The event includes special menu offerings, live music, samba dancers, fire dancers and capoeira performers. The event was held outdoors in the parking lot on September 20th this year and ran from 4-10 p.m. They even gave away a VIP trip to Brazil in a raffle. In addition to their offerings indoors, there was also a la carte offerings carnival style outside; and gift baskets to attendees upon exit with goodies from Leblon Cachaça. Watch for it next year!