When Mr. Skewer & Co. Brazilian Grill began building out its space a month ago, anticipation ran high among meatheads. Could it be true? Amid visions of short ribs and other meaty treats, some wondered, “Would there really be a rodizio opening on W. 14 St.?”
As a recent visit to the new spot revealed, Mr. Skewer has about as much in common with a Brazilian churrascaria as its neighbor Quizno’s does. For one thing, it’s not all you can eat, and there are decidedly non-Brazilian items like cheese steak. No doubt such dishes are a concession to the lunchtime crowd. Based on the bright orange décor and the service model (order, take a number, place it on a sign on the table and wait for your food to arrive) it looks like the owner plans to turn it into a fast-food chain.
And like many fast-food chains, Mr. Skewer offers a burger. But it’s not just any old burger, it’s a “gaucho burger.” The disk of mystery meat is topped with caramelized onions, a salsa-like Brazilian vinaigrette, lettuce, tomato and served on cheese bread. The combination is somewhat tasty, but not worth writing home to Rio about because there’s too much filler in the beef patty. Unless you really need to have your burger served on cheese bread, save your $8.45 and head over to Shake Shack.
Mr. Skewer performs better in the grilled meat department. The platter of chorizo pork sausage for $9.45 is tasty and well-cooked, but the accompanying yellow rice and black beans are ho-hum. The “baby picanha,” or four miniature steaks, is also quite good and a decent deal at $10.45. Sadly, like everything else at Mr. Skewer; it’s not served on a skewer. Impale a juicy morsel of meat on your fork and just pretend it’s a skewer.
The only Brazilian things about Mr. Skewer is the fact that it serves marañon caju, a funky tasting cashew-fruit juice, and has some killer Brazilian hot sauces, including Maçarico piri piri molho and Talasca pimento malagueta, a tall jar crammed full of tiny peppers sitting in vinegar. Both add a bit of kick and cut the fattiness of the meats. The best thing that can be said about Mr. Skewer is that even though it’s not terribly Brazilian, it does offers folks working nearby another lunch option.
Mr. Skewer & Co. Brazilian Grill, 43 W. 14 St., 212-645-0505