Brahma Steakhouse & Lounge opened in March on Washtenaw Ave., east of US 23 in a spot formerly occupied by Smokehouse Blues, a barbecue restaurant. While the menu still offers some barbecue favorites like its previous incarnation, the focus is now on steaks done right for the right price.
The interior has been revamped, with the restaurant’s two rooms decorated in an upscale yet comfortable way. Think Outback Steakhouse meets The Chop House. Tables and booths covered in long white tablecloths topped with white paper are found on both sides; one side also houses a long bar.
The menu boasts 7 different kinds of steaks in various sizes, barbecue items (like pulled pork), soup, salad, seafood, and other entrées. We did not see a children’s menu as we sat down on a quiet Sunday evening. In fact, we did not see any children there besides our 9-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter. But our server told us that Brahma does have a children’s menu; it’s just not printed. Chicken tenders, grilled cheese, kids’ burgers, or mac and cheese were available for $4.99 including one side.
First, we ordered an appetizer. Jumbo onion rings appeared to be the most family-friendly choice, but my son stared at me in horror when I confirmed that onions are in onion rings. We settled on calamari ($9). My son ordered a burger and fries while my daughter chose mac and cheese with fries. My husband selected the 16 oz. Delmonico cooked medium well ($19.50) while I decided on the Shrimp and Scallop Risotto ($18.50). My husband and I picked a salad over soup with our entrees.
The calamari was dusted with diced tomatoes, scallions, and pepperoncinis. My husband and I enjoyed the relish’s fruity, spicy flavors while the kids stuck to the fried parts.
“So good,” my 9-year-old son enthused
“What makes it good?” I asked.
“Squid,” he elaborated. (He’s averse to some plant life, but unusual sea creatures are apparently totally okay.)
We also partook of plain, but warm, white bread and simple, fresh salads before the entrees arrived.
My risotto with pan seared shrimp and scallops and lemon thyme butter sauce was pleasing to look at, but lacked flavor and consistency. One of the two large scallops was cold on the inside. The rice was al dente, but tasted oily, not buttery. At least the shrimp were smoky and delicious.
My husband found the Delmonico cooked as ordered and juicy. Both he and our server seemed to forget there were 5 house sauces available for added oomph. These included béarnaise, mustard, cabernet demi-glaze, zip, and horseradish cream. He used A1 instead. The garlic mashed potatoes were a bit buttery for his liking, but still tasty.
The best items were definitely the kids’ meals and dessert. My daughter’s mac and cheese, made with cavatappi noodles, tasted creamy and cheesy. My son’s burger was beefy and yummy on a buttered bun reminiscent of a pretzel roll.
We chose tiramisu for dessert over the other house made selections, crème brûlée and cheesecake. The tastes of cocoa, fluffy mascarpone cheese, and light cake pleased everyone and the portion was enough to share.
There were more hits (calamari, tiramisu) than misses (risotto) the night we dined at Brahma. With an eye on consistency, Brahma can hit its mark all the time.
Brahma Steakhouse & Lounge 4855 Washtenaw Ave. 734-434-5554 Hours: Monday-Thursday, 3pm-10pm; Friday-Sat 3pm-11pm; Sunday noon-10pm brahmasteakhouse.com
THE SHORT COURSE
Kid-friendly: Maybe better for older children
To avoid wait: The restaurant is large so you shouldn’t have to wait
Noise level: Low
Bathroom amenities: No changing tables in mens or womens
High chairs? Yes
Got milk? Yes, as well as chocolate milk, lemonade, and cranberry, orange, or pineapple juices
Kids’ menu? Yes, although it is not printed
Anything healthy for kids? Vegetables can be ordered instead of fries on the side
Food allergy concerns? Their fries are cooked in peanut oil. Also, the kitchen can prepare anything separately if you give the server a heads up about preferences
Katy M. Clark is a freelance writer from Saline.