On a weekend you can expect this informal Astorian Brazilian eatery to be playing futebol on the televisions and to be filled with an almost exclusively Brazilian crowd. Despite being fairly new to the scene, it appears to be popular already with a full breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu.
One wall is a nice homage to a tough life working the land, possibly from the namesake state of Minas Gerais, but probably from anywhere in the country, as the food does not seem to be specialized towards this state in any way either. Grab a fresh juice like you would in a cafe down there (pineapple & mint was amazing) and enjoy the languorous atmosphere.
As you might do in a sidewalk lanchonete, order a few salgados, or salty snacks, to start your meal. The kibe ($2.50, below) is a croquette of beef and mint that should be thoroughly doused with lime. The version here is very good, and probably the best of our three appetizers.
The empadinha de palmito ($2.75, below left) left me very disappointed after having such a good pastel version in Newark recently. Unfortunately this tart was very dry and without much oomph.
The coxinha quiejo ($2.50, above right) on the other hand was just as it should be, stuffed with chicken and catupiry cheese and very moist. The portions of each were in different parts of the fried pastry, but this made for interesting bite differences and I enjoyed it.
The prato feito, or daily special is of especially good value at $5.50 small and $8 large. We ordered the large grilled beef (chicken is also available), which comes with their delicious rice and beans and a small salad. The beef is covered in a layer of nearly perfect sauteed onions.
To make the plate complete, I recommend adding the $2 bowl of farofa (below), which any Mineiro meal would be incomplete without. Farofa is a simple toasted flour that has salt, butter, and bacon in it, amongst other things sometimes. I find it too dry to eat alone, but it makes for a wonderful mixture when added to rice and beans.
If you are lucky enough, as we were, you can even catch the end of another great victory by the greatest team in Brasil, CR Vasco da Gama!