Meat lovers dream of places like Pellegrini's

Pellegrini's Brazilian Steak House is tucked away in Cobblestone Shopping Center at Hartnell and Cypress, its modest decor disguising a passionate South American heart.

Saturday night we dashed in from under a pounding rain. The weather and the early hour of 6:15 p.m. had to be the only reason for the few customers. Also, nearby bridgework probably cuts into their business.

Too bad. It's a carnivore's carnival, with all kinds of Brazilian barbecue, not the sloppy-sauce kind of barbecue but churrasco, roasted tender and flavored (at least historically) with ashes from the fire, then served in waves at the table -- rodizio.

We were seated quickly. Within 10 minutes we had placed our orders, gotten our drinks and learned the routine: Set yourself up with an assortment of tasty side dishes from the buffet , then sit at your table and wait for the rest to come to you, carried by hunky guys bearing tall skewers of different sizzling meats, which they carve tableside.

The hot and cold buffet lines offered at least a dozen sides and salads, plenty to fill up anyone who didn't want the full line of meat courses as well. But we wanted the whole range of meaty, juicy, bloody, dripping, Brazilian barbecue possibilities -- as much as we could hold in our hands and tear from the bone with our teeth.

Green flag = "Meat Guy! Bring!"
Red flag = "Cool yer jets, Junior, my jaws need a break."

Green! We started with chicken wings, pork sausage and filet mignon in bacon. Juicy, tender, tasty. Nice with the garlic-buttered potatoes, pinto beans and spinach-raisin salad.

Green! Next came the rump steak, brisket and lamb. I like the rare stuff; Steve prefers the cooked end. They deftly sliced off exactly the color each of us wanted.

Red! Yikes, a lot of food already. What the restaurant lacks in atmosphere it more than makes up for in quality and quantity of lip-smacking food.

They don't waste any time coming around. We waved them off for a while, brought them back later. It's all you can eat. Pace yourself or hurt yourself. The chicken breast with bacon was delicious. Melted in my mouth. But it was the last bite of meat I could manage. I finished the mixed green salad, the red cabbage salad and the pork stew.

Steve went back to the buffet for a couple more sides and turned the flag to Green! for top and bottom sirloin.

A few minutes later, we were done for, stuffed like pigs with apple breath. Red! Code Red! I didn't get close to the ham, barbecued pineapple with cinnamon, pork, sirloin (Steve said good), tri-tip or hump steak. For reals.

And I was too full for dessert, but they're only $4 for flan, ice cream, chocolate cake, pineapple mousse or papaya cream with cassis liqueur.

Beer and wines are $3 and $4.
Juices $3, sodas $2.

M-F lunch: Salad bar, $6.99. Salad bar and hot buffet, $9.99.
M-F dinner: Salad bar and hot buffet, $9.99. W/Full meat service, $17.99.

Sat-Sun: Full meat service and buffets, $17.99.

Kids under 6, $4.99
Takeout prices: $7.99 for one, $12.99 for two.

Dinner for two, with 2 glasses of house wine, was $45 before tip.

40 Hartnell Ave., Redding, Calif., 96002. ... 530.221.4655


  1. ...and the owners are two of the most genuinly nice people you're ever likely to meet (meat?), too!

  2. I think we did meet them, informally, of course. If that was them, they were working hard.

    p.s. Poker is on, I'm told. :)

  3. Sounds like a tremendous value -- and good fun, too. It is now on our list of places to try. Thanks.

  4. PS: Especially intriqued by the "hunky guys" with tall skewers. You should write their ad copy.

  5. "Critter On A Stick," eh? Sounds like Doc Gristle's House O' Meat has a little competition.

    I called and asked if they had a vegan menu. They queried, "How do you grill vegan?" I told them around these parts, people like 'em rare.

    Sounds like a great place, thanks for the review!