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Eats Beat: A prime churrascaria washes into the West 7th shops

Posted 2:03pm on Tuesday, Jul. 01, 2014

The new Rafain Brazilian Steakhouse made a thunderous arrival.

On Rafain’s second day in the West Seventh Street shopping district, heavy rains flooded Crockett Street, but not the new prime steakhouse and salad-dessert buffet.

For an hour or so, it was almost like being at the original Rafain Churrascaria at Foz do Iguacu, Brazil. Or, to be more exact, beneath Iguacu Falls.

“The water came up to car doors, but all my employees are so excited, we all made it in to meet our new customers,” said Karlo Solyom, manager of one of the few Brazilian-style churrascarias actually based and owned in Brazil.

Rafain’s 17 cuts of beef, pork, lamb and chicken include a special prime New York strip cut called gaucho, plus spicy flavors and side dishes such as roasted pineapple.

Most churrascarias have a salad buffet, but Rafain also has a dessert buffet with dishes such as coconut flan, pies and cakes, including a Brazilian-style carrot cake.

The first Texas churrascarias opened about 20 years ago, with varying degrees of success.

Solyom said he considers some chains more Americanized and Rafain more authentic, dating back to the original 1959 steakhouse in Brazil.

Fort Worth and the Cultural District are an ideal location, he said. The family has a north Dallas restaurant.

Rafain is open nightly for dinner and will begin lunch and Sunday service in mid-July, Solyom said.

It’s at 2932 Crockett St., 817-862-9800; gruporafain.com, facebook.com/RafainBrazilianSteakhouse.

• The different Jimmy’s burger shops in Arlington are confusing.

But don’t be confused about Jimmy’s Big Burgers, the Lee family’s simple grill on far South Cooper Street near Mansfield.

The various Jimmy’s cousin restaurants specialize in the Jungle Burger with two cheeses plus grilled onions, mushrooms, jalapeños and bacon.

This Jimmy’s serves the Jungle Burger but also adds a choice of mesquite grilling. For full flavor, order the smaller 6-ounce burger cooked over mesquite.

The mesquite burgers and simple setting distinguish Jimmy’s from more elaborate neighbor Chop House Burgers, five blocks south.

Jimmy’s is open daily for lunch and dinner; 7807 S. Cooper St., 817-375-0557, www.jimmysbigburgers.com.

• Get ready for the Fourth, and the Curly’s hot-dog-eating contest.

Contest winner Chris Sisco goes for his fourth victory Friday morning in the local version of the Nathan’s Famous contest.

Curly’s is known for frozen custard, particularly the Parker County peach flavor this month.

But it also serves hot dogs and chili dogs, and July 4 is when Curly’s offers Rangers baseball tickets to whomever can eat four Nathan’s dogs fastest.

Registration and custard sampling begin at 10 a.m., the contest at 11. Curly’s is at 4017 Camp Bowie Blvd., 817-763-8700; www.curlysfrozencustard.com.

Bud Kennedy’s column appears Wednesdays in Life & Arts and Fridays in DFW.com. 817-390-7538 Twitter: @EatsBeat Facebook: Bud Kennedy’s Eats Beat Get alerts at RebelMouse.com/eats.

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