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Bom de Boca Grill

Deliciously grilled meats by the gently priced plateful
By MC SLIM JB  |  January 29, 2009


Craving steak but counting your pennies? If so, churrascarias (Brazilian grilled-meat restaurants) offer some of the best deals around. They rotisserie-cook a variety of meats over charcoal, mainly beef (sirloin, filet, and short ribs) but also chicken, pork, sausages, and offal, and sometimes turkey, lamb, and fish. One popular format, churrasco rodízio, features an all-you-can-eat flat rate (typically $20–$25) with table service. Waiters bring spits from the rotisserie to your table, slice or slide off as much as you want, and keep bringing more until you're gorged. For smaller appetites, a better deal is the buffet format, in which meats are served at a carving station and you pay by the weight of your plate. That's how it's done at Bom de Boca, a casual East Somerville churrascaria where the prices are low and the meats are outstanding.

Diners begin here by loading their plates from two ample buffet stations, one cold and one hot. An attractive potato salad studded with green peas and a pretty, turmeric-brightened chicken salad with shredded carrots and raisins make it easy to bypass simpler green salads and shredded collard greens. Standouts among hot entrées include thin, batter-fried tilapia cutlets and sautûed mahi-mahi, both trumping comparatively bland stews of chicken frango or beef and potatoes (though these can be perked up with tiny bottled chilies or hot sauce at the table). No one should skip a ladleful of soupy black beans or pinto beans, a scoop of sautûed cabbage, and some starch in the form of white rice, fried yucca, and plantains.

But it's essential to leave enough room for the star attraction here: the saltily marinated churrasco, especially the fantastic sirloin (fatty or lean, rare to medium), very flavorful roast pork, and chicken kebabs kept succulent with wraparound bacon. On weekends, there may be kielbasa-like Brazilian pork sausages and, if you're lucky, chicken hearts (beloved by my cardiologist pal for their liverish flavor and startling resemblance to tiny human hearts). Skip American soft drinks for sweet, pulse-racing Brazilian ones, such as Guaraviton ($1.50), like a sugary iced ginseng tisane, or guaraná soda ($1.25). On the way out, your heaping plateful will ring up at a mere $5.99 a pound, making it easy to waddle out stuffed for fewer than 10 bucks. With its cheery, plainly furnished yellow room and a friendly staff happy to explain the setup to novices, Bom de Boca makes for a fabulously tasty, protein-rich meal that is very gentle on the wallet.

Bom de Boca Grill, located at 3 Washington Street, in Somerville, is open Monday through Friday, from 11 am to 10 pm; Saturday, from 11 am to 9 pm; and Sunday, from 11 am to 6 pm, with breakfast served from 7 am to 10 am most days. Call 617.625.0001.

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