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17 Feb 2013

The Indy Endorsement: The Chicken Stroganoff at Picanha Churrascaria

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It tastes a lot better than it looks. Really. We promise. It tastes a lot better than it looks. Really. We promise. CVI Crapcam

What: Chicken stroganoff

Where: Picanha Churrascaria, 68510 Highway 111, Cathedral City

How much: Included in the $23.95 to $27.95 all-you-can-eat price (depending on day of the week); call to confirm the stroganoff is being offered

Contact info: 328-1818; www.picanharestaurant.com

Why: Because it's sweet with a zing.

If you're into the Atkins diet, or just seriously into meat, Brazilian churrascaria is definitely on the menu. What could be better than having all sorts of meats on skewers brought to your table?

I've eaten at different Brazilian churrascarias all over the country, and at every single one of them, the salad bar/buffet section is generally ignored. The point is the meat, right? Who cares about vegetables and other non-meat offerings?

However, Picanha usually has a gem hiding in their buffet: the chicken stroganoff. I've enjoyed this dish many times at Picanha, although it was not available on my last trip there (before my recent visit), which took place a year or so ago. And while Picanha's off-season closure last year mysteriously lingered longer than planned (the restaurant did not reopen until mid-November), I was afraid that I'd never get to enjoy the stroganoff again. However, the stroganoff was there during the aforementioned recent visit to Picanha, and all was right with the world.

The sauce has a light, creamy tomato base, and is sweet—but has a zing to it. The stroganoff also has big chunks of chicken in it (continuing the mega-meat experience) as well as mushrooms. But it's really all about the sauce, and that sweet-with-a-zing taste is more than slightly addictive. You might find yourself dredging your formerly skewered meats through the leftover sauce.

The stroganoff works well when spread over rice—which won't work well if you're on Atkins. But try it anyway. We won't tell.

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