It’s as much about the experience and the comradery among family and friends, and even the staff, as it is about the food.
The opening of Carne Brazilian Grill brings a whole new kind of fare to Billings, but for all that, the emphasis of management is making sure diners have an enjoyable social experience, as well as great food. It’s about “conviviality”, says Fabiano Jacome. It’s a kind of dining experience he hopes to transport from his home country of Brazil.
Jacome is both the general manager and the executive chef of Carne Brazilian Grill at 1911 King Ave W, the newest venture of well-known Billings restauranteurs, Howard Shen and Tina Wu, Shen and Wu are the husband – wife team who own two other popular restaurants, Wild Ginger in downtown Billings, and Asian Sea Grill, which is next door to Carne Brazilian Grill.
Even though Asian food has always been Shen and Wu’s forte, in their travels about the country they discovered, and have come to love, Brazilian steakhouses, which have gained popularity in the US over the past few years. “The style is so unlike anything else here,” said Shen, “We thought it would be a welcomed dining experience in Billings.”
And, indeed, a Brazilian steakhouse seems a natural fit for Montanans, All about the grilling of meat served sizzling-hot, carved table-side, what’s not to be embraced by steak-loving Montanans?
The goal of the restaurant’s menu is to be “simple, direct, flavorful with great service,” according to Jacome.
Carne Brazilian Grill is a high-end, all-you-can eat buffet, based upon Brazilian –style barbecue or “churrasco.” It features a wide variety of meats – beef, pork, chicken, lamb and sausages – which are roasted on skewers over open flames and brought to each table to be carved for guests. The entre is complimented by a large salad bar, featuring freshly prepared salads, including seafood, soups and “Brazilian comfort foods.” There are gluten- free and vegetarian options.
Carne is already open serving dinner beginning at 5 pm, and will soon open for lunch as well. They plan to open at 11 am and to remain open the rest of the day. They will also be open for weekend brunch. Prices vary for lunch and dinner, and diners may opt to partake of just the salad bar, so meal prices may vary from $25 to $50.
Each meal begins with a house-made cheese bread that is a staple of Minas Gerais, the gastronomy heart of Brazil, Jacome’s home state.
And, then there are the deserts. Although, the deserts may vary from day to day, they will be deserts to be remembered, including the basic of fresh fruit, always flambéed and topped with freshly made ice cream with a hint of mint. Another feature is Brigadeiro, a chocolate fudge cake, baked just five minutes before serving with Chantilly cream. It is a favorite for children’s birthday parties in Brazil.
While Jacome is from Brazil, his chef training has been French, as a graduate of Ferrandi (the Harvard of gastronomy) in Paris. He promises there will be occasional French touches to the fare at Carne.
Although only arriving this fall in Billings directly from Paris, Jacome is very familiar with Billings, having attended Rocky Mountain College from 2006 to 2009, in obtaining degrees in political science and business. He returned to Brazel to work awhile in accounting, but succumbed to what has always been a love of cooking, and decided to switch careers. Having always been “passionate about French culture,” he went to France for his culinary education and experience.
While going to college in Billings, Jacome learned to ski, which has become another passion, which he very much looks forward to doing this winter.
Also joining the Carne management team is Joe Shade as the bar manager, and Madeline Jacquart, floor manager.
Shade, previously a bartender at Red Lobster and Olive Garden, and most recently culinary manager at Wild Ginger, has quickly caught on to some Brazilian liquors and has added some new drinks to his repertoire, such as cachaça (pronounced ca-sha-sa), a Brazilian spirit distilled from sugar cane, similar to rum. And then, there is the Demonio (demon) which is a play on a White Russian, or the Carne Manhattan, invented by Shade, which comes smoked under a dome.
Jacquart will help oversee the 30-plus employees who will be employed at Carne, and to make sure that every customer has a pleasant dining experience.
Jacquart came to Billings in 2016 and is a former Rocky Mountain College student, where she played basketball. Believing she has found her niche, Jacquart is pursuing a career in the food industry, and formerly worked at Wild Ginger.
Ann Jackson designed the distinctive interior of Carne, which has a sleek modern look, but is given a western flare by a large set of bull horns that dominate one wall. It has all the elements of a steakhouse with fine linens, and comfortable atmosphere.
The restaurant takes reservations via facebook or by calling (406) 281-8969.