Late Night Scene: Brasil

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Finding a parking spot 15 feet from the front door of Brasil is always a good omen. It's Saturday night just after 11, and with no special event or performance, the place is at that serendipitous time when there are enough tables to make the place feel lively, but few enough that a conversation still feels private.

While Flight of the Conchords plays over the sound system, we harass the barista about the caffeine content of a chai latte (moderate), which desserts go well with coffee (not the chocolate ones), and how big the appetizers are (huge). It is a primo patio night, mild but not quite cool, with the slightest crispness in the air. There's a couple (not a particularly happy one, either, judging by the body language) sitting in one corner, three vaguely Middle Eastern guys deep in conversation near us, and two hipster chicks on the far side of the patio near Westheimer. No one in the building looks over 25.

The coffees--one chai latte and one plain latte--are bigger than expected and served in real glasses. I dig in to an average-tasting grilled cheese--I ordered it without pesto, and the thick tomato slices somewhat overpower the cheesiness. The potato chips served on the side are for the most part disappointingly thick and stale. My friend tries the brie appetizer with walnut and fruit baked on top, which comes with a small sourdough loaf on the side. It's nice, even though she also feels the cheese-to-non-cheese ratio could be improved. We finish with a tiramisu, served in a perfect large ramekin, but are surprised when our forks come up with mostly fluffy cream topping; turns out it's about a third of the total depth of the dish. It's still delicious, but once again I'm left wanting just a little bit more of the good stuff and less of the filler.

I'm still sipping my latte when a busboy comes out at about a quarter after midnight to let the stragglers know that Brasil is closed and shoo us out. I savor my last sip and head for the door.



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