dainty about an acarajé. Peeled and mashed
black-eyed peas are fried in palm oil, after which the fritter
(pronounced ah-cah-rah-JEH; $5) is sliced and stuffed.
Overstuffed, inevitably, with vatapá, a creamy paste flavored
with seafood and nuts; caruru de quiabo, an
onion-and-ginger-laced okra gumbo; and bacalao salad. It’s a
taste of Brazilian summer, down to the last licked finger.
rare in New York, the acarajé and the similar, boiled abará ($5)
are common street foods in Bahia, the coastal state in
northeastern Brazil where Elzi and Erli Botelho Ribeiro learned
their craft. On the first Saturday of each month, the Ribeiro
sisters — who opened their Queens restaurant, Point Brazil, two
years ago and share duties in the kitchen — also serve a “taste
of Bahia” ($12). This sampler includes vatapá, caruru de quiabo
and bacalao salad, as well as the fish stew called moqueca. All
have an undercurrent of palm oil, a culinary connection to
Bahia’s West African heritage. Alas, the Bahian specialties are
available only on first Saturdays. The Ribeiros’ enticing hot
and cold buffet, however, is offered all month long. One measure
of the sisters’ cooking prowess is the satisfied conversational
hum — animated by young children on weekend afternoons — that
fills the simply decorated, sunny dining room, day in and day
out. (Many conversations are in Portuguese, though everyone
speaks English, too.) The buffet’s greatest strength is not
vastness — though there’s plenty to choose from — but freshness.
Rarely does a pan run low.
At breakfast ($5 a pound), the buffet offers
fresh fruit, scrambled eggs and potatoes, to be sure, but also
fried polenta, boiled plantain and yuca, sweet tamale-like
pamonhas and rabanada, a condensed-milk cousin to French toast.
“Açaí in the bowl” ($7.50), available on request, is a chilled
smoothie blending the purplish fruit with strawberry and banana,
caffeinated by guarana syrup, and decorated with granola and
While lunch and dinner bring healthy chopped
salads and glistening collard greens, it’s impossible not to
glance past them to the weightier options, which change daily.
Standouts include baked chicken, fish stew, lasagna, a logjam of
pork ribs and feijão tropeiro — collards tangled with pinto
beans, fried egg, bacon and pork sausage. Weekends only, you’ll
find feijoada, too. Point Brazil’s rendition of this national
dish has no nose-to-tail mysteries, only ample measures of pork
sausage, bacon and dried beef, stewed with black beans.
The price of the lunch and dinner buffet ($6
to $8 a pound) depends on your indulgence at the churrasco
station, where the counterman slices and un-skewers grilled
meats, at your bidding. Best is rare, succulent top sirloin;
saltiest are sausages made of chicken or pork; chewiest is
chicken heart. Bacon-wrapped chicken breast appeals to all
Of the savory pastries, the coxinha (co-SHE-nya;
$2.40), a delicate fried teardrop with seasoned shredded
chicken, and the beef pastel ($2.40), a brittle half-moon
encasing ground meat and green olive, are exceptional. These are
ordered at the counter (ideally, before you hit the buffet,
since they’re not cooked in advance), as are tropical juices
like tart passion fruit and slightly sour cashew. A self-serve
refrigerator is stocked with American soda, iced tea and juice
drinks, and Brazilian beverages flavored with coconut, yerba
maté and the ever-present guarana.
In concert with companions willing to share
desserts, you won’t have to decide among passion fruit flan,
tapioca cake drizzled with condensed milk and the prune-topped
coconutty pudding called manjar ($3.50 to $3.80). For takeaway,
banana and cassava cakes ($2.75 each) travel well; so does an
orb of “carrot candy” ($1.95). But beware: the eye-catching
orange coloration betrays an infectious sweetness. One bite, and
you may discover an irresistible urge to return.
38-01 31st Avenue (38th Street), Astoria, Queens;
BEST DISHES “Taste of Bahia” plate;
acarajé; coxinha; beef pastel; pork ribs; feijão
tropeiro; top sirloin; manjar; passion fruit flan.
PRICE RANGE $2 to $12.
CREDIT CARDS All major cards.
HOURS Daily, 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS Side-door entrance
is accessible, as is restroom.
-We do not delivery
food from the
for eat in or
of 8" .We
for delivery menu.