Braza Express Review
Review by Dan Purdon
First off, if you’re a regular reader you’ve probably noticed a sharp dropoff on my review count since the start of Summer. The culprit for this is an intense 3-month workout program, which packs an equally-intense nutrition plan. While the program is great for making my muscles sore, the nutrition part greatly narrows the amount of restaurants that I can review.
But diet or no diet, I love exploring new restaurants, and there are few things on this earth that can keep me from it for long! This is a review of one restaurant that is just perfect for the high-protein diet: Braza Express.
Braza stands proudly within the new Zions Bank building in downtown Provo. The promise of Brazilian-style roasted meats was incentive enough to lure my wife and I in for a Saturday lunch. The interior was boldly decorated in a modernist take on Brazilian earth-tone colors and textures, and it was clearly outfitted to accommodate fast-casual service. Many in the valley have already simplified it as “Take-out Tucano’s” – think Tucano’s food with a Cafe Rio model of service, and you’ll have the basic idea.
Stomach growling, I decided to order the meat combo platter. I opted for all beans instead of the usual beans and rice (as per the diet), and ordered a vinaigrette salad and mixed veggies for my sides (again, being good nutrition boy).
I did have to bend my diet just a little though – right after I found out that they have guarana soda on tap! That stuff is delicious.
We paid and took our plates back to a raised table. I dug into the meats first, trying a few bites of each one. The chicken was very well done – soft and tender on the inside, full of smoky barbeque flavor on the outside. The garlic sirloin was savory and (surprise!) garlicky. The top sirloin was decent but a little dry, which confirmed my one concern with roasted meats on a fast-casual model: holding meat in a warming tray is bound to dry it out sooner or later! But I wouldn’t let that stop you – just make sure to go during a busy time when everything is sure to be fresh, or simply ask the server which meats are fresh off the grill. Always do one of those two things, and you’ll be in flavor country!
The sides packed some pleasant surprises of their own that added a great sense of wholeness to my dish. For one, I discovered that the hearty black beans had an even tastier surprise hiding inside – generous chunks of pulled roast beef! Deliciously savory, and perfect for more protein.
My vinaigrette salad was composed almost like a coleslaw, except instead of creamy (and fatty) mayo-based dressing, it had a wonderfully light, refreshing, and slightly sweet sauce tossed with it. This salad was the perfect foil for a plate full of savory flavors – I’d recommend it to anyone! My mixed veggies also played out nicely, with a flavorful seasoning that kept my palate interested until the end.
Braza Express is a great place for a quick lunch under $10 that still packs plenty of flavor and lots of fresh ingredients. If you work anywhere in central Provo, stop by and check them out sometime! They’re open for dinner too, so if you don’t have the time (or the stomach capacity!) for Tucano’s, Braza is a solid option.
Oh, and to answer your question: Yes. They do have sugar-roasted pineapple.
Pricing: Inexpensive, under $10 per person
Braza Express – 180 N University Avenue, Provo