A special addition to the New York restaurant scene that truly makes fine Brazilian food accessible to the tastebuds of the masses.
From its food to its ambiance, Botequim has clearly hit a sweet spot. Because it is still so new, and because most people (wrongly) don't crave Brazilian food on a weekly basis, reservations at this comfortably stylish restaurant are quite easy to come by with less than a week's notice, making a first visit feel more like a lucky discovery by those in the know.
Though if there should come a time when reservations get trickier, the food offered at Botequim is phenomenal enough to wait for. Marco Moreira and chef de cuisine Jason Hall have brought vividly authentic Brazilian cuisine, just as densely flavorful and satisfyingly meaty as I remember from my own travels to São Paulo, straight to Union Square. Two of the best dishes are the Leitao a Pururuca, a massive cube of roasted suckling pig with traditional sides of collard greens and farofa (a toasted flour mixture that adds a nice texture to the bites of pork that pull apart with only a tug of the fork), and the tender Fraudinha, a marinated, slowly grilled skirt steak topped with an egg, also hugely portioned. Despite the plentiful size of the dishes, it's really no challenge to finish it all.
While my Brazilian waitress could not understand my mispronunciation of Pao de Queijo (in English: "cheese bread," although that description doesn't begin to cover the springy and steamy delight that is this Brazilian classic), she was otherwise perfectly attentive, despite striking our party as a little new to the job. The same could be said for most of the other staff we encountered that night - all mean incredibly well, though could use a little more training.
All in all, this is a high-quality Brazilian joint with an expertly authentic menu offering subtly innovative classics with incredible taste. Even if you've never traveled to Brazil yourself, after a meal at Botequim, you'll leave wondering why Brazilian food hasn't been your favorite cuisine all along.