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Botekim Brazilian Bistro restaurant review, Marietta

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Many years ago we had a Brazilian baby sitter who was always fascinated by the profusion of ingredients — Mexican chiles, Japanese fish bouillon, Lebanese tahini paste — in our kitchen cupboard.

Review by John Kessler

Review by John Kessler

“I’m going to make you some Brazilian food,” she often promised. “There is a dish that I know you’ve never had before. You’ll love it!”

The day finally came when we got the invitation, and we bundled up the kids and headed over to her apartment wondering what tasty rainforest rarities lay in store. She and her husband welcomed us warmly, opened the bottle of wine we brought and presented glasses with great fanfare.

“Ready to eat?” she asked. She peeled the foil from a large casserole dish, ripped open a nearby bag of Ruffles potato chips and began crushing handfuls over the top. Here was Brazilian chicken stroganoff, mild and ultra-creamy; very tasty but it looked like something from the Pillsbury Bake-Off.

I’ve never been to Brazil, but I’ve since eaten enough of that country’s cuisine at friends’ houses and in restaurants to learn there are two sides to it. On the one hand, it’s a striking melange of native, European and African foodways, its exotic pantry filled with palm oil, cassava root, passion fruit and yucca.

Yucca fritters with a creamy ground beef center (photos by Becky Stein)

Yucca fritters with a creamy ground beef center (photos by Becky Stein)

But then there’s this: Brazilians really love soft, creamy food. Some typical preparations taste like they came from a Continental restaurant of yore, others seem more like Midwestern hot dish. Yet many also possess a kind of shimmery, caressing quality that seems typically Brazilian — like a standard tune played by a bossa nova band.

Keep all this in mind when you try out Botekim Brazilian Bistro, a sweet surprise in east Cobb County’s burgeoning Little Brazil. Unlike the nearby buffets and lunch counters that cater to the immigrant community, Botekim proposes a more upmarket experience for Brazilians and curious non-natives alike. A full bar, pretty table settings and cosseting service from uniformed waiters set the tone for the gentle indulgence of the cooking.

Owner-chef Alex DeGrossi (a veteran of Bistro Niko and Market in the W Hotel Buckhead) brings fine-dining flourish to his cooking. Every table should start with his bolinho de aipim com carne ($7), a stack of crispy, golf-ball yucca fritters festooned with wisps of greenery. Cut them open, and a tender ground beef filling spills out into the sweet-spicy malagueta pepper sauce painted on the plate. The subtle flavors dance to a swaying samba on your tongue.

Flounder with Belle Meuniere sauce

Flounder with Belle Meuniere sauce

Also excellent: a bowl of caldo verde ($4) — rich, creamy-chunky potato soup shot through with collard greens and chunks of linguiça sausage. Have a bowl of this at lunch with a watercress salad ($6) in red wine vinaigrette with candied pecans and you’ll leave a happy gaucho.

I am less taken with an appetizer portion of linguiça sausage ($7) sliced and popped over rounds of cottony bread with caramelized onions.

Botekim has that “nice restaurant” vibe that would have so pleased my parents. The waiters say things like “I’ve got some fresh bread heating in the oven for you,” and they smile and twist the plates so they’re positioned perfectly before you.

I like my grilled pork loin ($16), two thick medallions served with emerald collard greens and plugs of roast banana tossed in nutty toasted manioc flour. It is plain and easygoing. I also like the picanha (rump cap of beef, $21), served sliced and rosy red with a pile of shoestring fries. Good ingredients, no fuss.

But I hear that soft Brazilian music in a fillet of fresh flounder ($14) served in a belle meunière sauce of brown butter, mushrooms, shrimp and hearts of palm. The sauce is thick and luxurious, and you can’t help but spoon it over the accompanying mashed potatoes.

The food here wants a good glass of wine, and Botekim delivers. All wines are available by the glass, half-bottle carafe or bottle and are priced in a simplified three-tier price structure. How nice to share a carafe of the dark, jammy Quinta do Portal Colheita Douro ($18) with a friend. There are some good values here, including the Domaine Chandon Pinot Meunier ($36 a bottle) and the Domaine de la Fruitière Muscadet de Sevre et Maine ($18 a bottle). I’m a bit less interested in the extremely sweet caipirinha cocktail ($7).

For dessert: passion fruit mousse

For dessert: passion fruit mousse

Some tropical ingredients do surface on the menu here and there. Passion fruit sauces a fillet of salmon and provides tart piquancy to a lovely mousse ($7) for dessert. But I’d love to see DeGrossi nod to the distinctive cuisine of Bahia in the northeast of Brazil somewhere on this menu. I’d bet he makes a mean vatapa, the famous shrimp stew prepared with coconut milk and palm oil.

DeGrossi makes his own carne seca, air-dried beef, to lavish over mashed potatoes for a kind of shepherd’s pie. It also shows up in a tasty lunch sandwich ($9.50) with a cap of melted Swiss cheese.

But carne seca is also a key ingredient in feijoada — a black bean stew that is Brazil’s national dish and the centerpiece of a full meal featuring rice, sautéed collard greens, toasted manioc flour and fresh oranges. DeGrossi makes feijoada as an occasional special, but it’s surely something that more of us non-Brazilians would find destination-worthy were it on the standing menu. I can’t wait to try it here.

BOTEKIM BRAZILIAN BISTRO
1410 Terrell Mill Road S.E., Marietta; 678-402-7584
2stars5
Food: Soft, easygoing food with a hint of the tropics.
Service: excellent and very caring
Best dishes: flounder with belle meunière sauce, passion fruit mousse, yucca fritters with ground beef
Vegetarian selections: salads and sides
Credit cards: all major
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays
Children: Fine, and they’ll likely enjoy the food.
Parking: in attached lot
Reservations: yes
Wheelchair access: full
Smoking: no
Noise level: moderate
Patio: yes
Takeout: yes
ratings_key_febUSE

15 comments Add your comment

Kristen

September 8th, 2011
9:08 am

My husband and I live in the neighborhood and have eaten here several times. Love everything about this place – the warm and inviting decor, the excellent service (Romulo and Chef Alex are always engaging), excellent drinks and, of course, the food. Every meal we’ve had thus far has been delicious. Highly recommend.

RK

September 8th, 2011
9:11 am

This area does seem to be Little Brazil — they would be smart to brand it as such.

Keith

September 8th, 2011
9:39 am

My co-workers and I ate there for lunch after going to the Mexican restaurant next door and finding it very crowded. We decided to try it and were completely amazed at how good it was. I had the cachorro-quentin de linquica sandwich ($8) and it was delicious! The menu was very well priced and the decor was quaint and suited the place. The wait staff was very nice and attentive which made for a pleasant experience- especially for a quick lunch. The dinner entrees and the wine/drink list looked wonderful and I will definitely come back for dinner. A great little find in the suburban Atlanta area!

Lee Weber

September 8th, 2011
9:42 am

Excellent review, John. Nice menu coverage. I like knowing which app is the house specialty / typical native dish and the one to not miss for a starter. Also like that you mentioned the pedigree of the owner -chef…creates a sense of confidence in a prospective diner. Had no idea collards were part of Brazilian cuisine. Cool.

Billie

September 8th, 2011
10:37 am

Feijoada started out as a downstairs-to-upstairs dish. It was made from the upstairs “leavings”: the tough cuts of meat, the rubbery collard leaves, etc., and earned its way up by being transformed into the savory, spicy and crisp-tender collage that it is. . .

Billie

September 8th, 2011
10:39 am

. . . the servants being more creative cooks than their masters because they had no choice. When I taught international cooking, feijoada was the centerpiece of the Brazilian class and it is wonderful but not for those in a hurry.

Abby

September 8th, 2011
10:41 am

3 Star minimum. Have been here numerous times for both dinner and lunch. A great gathering place for a girl’s lunch, or intimate evening with significant other! The staff is friendly, the food is delicious and reasonably priced. The evenings with live music are a wonderful way to end the work week with friends and/or family. I highly recommend it to all in East cobb and not far from smyrna/vinings….Well worth the drive for everyone!

Samantha

September 8th, 2011
11:14 am

I agree with Abby! If you are looking for something different, I definitely recommend the drive! 3 stars would make sense for sure!
The food is always right, the taste is divine and the wine list has many good options. I would recommend the Salmon with passion fruit sauce as well, it has a mix of tastes that you don’t see in many dishes around.
Definitely a must try!

btownsend

September 8th, 2011
1:58 pm

But what about the bikini wax?

Lisa

September 8th, 2011
2:29 pm

For the Brazilian bikini wax you have to slip your server a thong and they bring you to a back room and, hopefully, numb you with a caiprinha.

John Kessler

September 8th, 2011
4:00 pm

Lisa- Topically?

Sou eu

September 8th, 2011
8:41 pm

Great review – I can’t wait to try Botekim. An interesting fact is that manioc and yuca and cassava and mandioca are all the same thing. I can’t think of any other vegetables with that many aliases!

Art

September 9th, 2011
5:51 pm

I have to agree with @Abby and @Samantha… this review sure reads like a 3 star to me… I’ll make the drive regardless.

5-APB

September 10th, 2011
9:53 am

Enter your comments here6-APB or Benzo Fury has not been properly tested yet as is the case with 5-APB. Considering their effects and structural similarity to amphetamines, both compounds would most likely act as a releasing agent of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. They may also have some effect on monoamine release although no information has been validated.