>> Beija Flor | Eat the World NYC

26 February 2018

Beija Flor


On a normal day, Beija Flor is already a festive and colorful place with a ton of character and charm. On the Saturday afternoon of this visit, it so happened that the team was setting up for two nights of celebration for the upcoming Carnaval, Brazil's biggest party.

Colorful streamers and papers changed the light coming in through the windows, and the interior tree was full of white flowers and glass beads.

I had only ever been here a couple times to watch the Brazilian national team four years ago in the World Cup and then again in 2016 for Copa America. A projector screen is rolled down and the place packs up with (mostly) seated people making reservations and cheering on the team from the tables with generous amounts of good food and drinks. This would be the first time I had room to eat.

To start, a plate of salgadinhos ($9, below) was ordered. This includes one of each of their five deep fried "little salty things" as the word might be translated. There are some nice Brazilian bakeries in the area that do these snacks so well that this tray was just a bit disappointing, but only by association. The little jar of hot sauce they bring out is so cute and tasty.

After plans for a moqueca with a friend on the West Coast fell through, a craving that was unfulfilled was the first order of business at Beija Flor. Their version, a Bahia-style moqueca de peixe com camarao ($25, below), is based on a coconut milk and palm oil broth, full of large hunks of salt water fish (in this case cod) and shrimp.

Seafood sometimes has a way of being a disappointment in New York City, but they take good care to use very fresh ingredients.

The extra broth is mixed with yucca and brought as a side dish, making the portion, which also includes rice, quite substantial.

In celebration of Carnaval, a caipirinha ($11, below) seemed essential. The national cocktail of Brazil is very simple, the sugar-cane based spirit cachaça is combined with limes and sugar. Nothing else is necessary.

They offer one Brazilian beer here, Proibida ($6, below), which is actually much better than the usual suspects like Brahma, Skol, and Antarctica.

Whether you plan to come here for a Carnaval celebration, watching the national team of Brazil, or just for a casual dinner and drinks, Beija Flor is likely to impress with their friendly and fun atmosphere. It is a bonus that the food is good.

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