New Portuguese Grill ‘Raizes’ the Bar on Nassau

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Raizes' Beautiful Dining Space

The yellow Wasco car on a McGuiness rooftop has long been a Greenpoint landmark. But during the last two years the space below, previously used as an auto supply and motor works,  has undergone an incredible transformation. Just before Christmas it was unveiled as Raizes Churrascaria (139 Nassau Ave), a Portuguese grill run by Lucia Corba.

Raizes translates as ‘roots’, and roots are firmly at the foundation of the restaurant. Lucia comes from a Portuguese family with a long tradition of great home-cooking and the food is based upon her mother’s own well-loved recipes. Having spent part of her life growing up in Maine, Lucia’s menu also shows a strong New England influence, resulting in a big emphasis on seafood.

Starters include char-grilled sardines, littleneck clams, and a daily selection of oysters from the raw bar.  Mains introduce ‘Bacalhau Com Natas’: shredded salt cod in a potato, onion and cream gratin, and ‘Marsicos Na Cataplana’: clams, mussels, scallops, shrimp and monkfish in a spicy tomato or garlic sauce. The Maine background brings dishes such as lobster, stuffed Newport jumbo shrimp, and a selection of New England-style fried seafood served with handcut fries (exceptional) and house-made coleslaw.

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Seafood Combo

We shared a seafood combo of grilled plaice, scallops, shrimp and stuffed clams which, at $25, includes two sides (we had fries and sautéed kale) and is a perfect light lunch for two. It paired particularly well with a couple of glasses of vinho verde, with the light effervescence appropriate for the mini-celebration that marks managing to leave the house on a drab Sunday afternoon.

Aside from the abundant seafood, the main event for meat-lovers is the epic-sounding house speciality: Rodizio. This is a whopping selection of beef, chicken, pork, lamb, linguiça and turkey, barbecued on skewers over a char-flamed churrasco and served with rice, beans, kale and a choice of fries or mashed potato. The people sitting behind us were having this and looked very happy as the multiple sizzling dishes were ferried to their table by the charming wait staff.

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Raizes: The Bar

The interior has been lovingly designed by the owner’s husband and features great steel beams spanning across the ceiling. The industrial metal work is softened with beautiful wooden tables made from trees felled during Sandy and, whilst the space itself is pretty cavernous, they have managed to create a restaurant that feels cozy and inviting. The front part includes a long bar and bench seating, whilst the rear holds much larger tables, perfect for big group dinners and for trying a pitcher of sangria or one of their house cocktails…Facetious Flamingo anyone?

Lucia says she wanted to create a restaurant where everyone would feel at home: not too hip, not too fancy, just great food and good times for everyone. Judging by the neighborhood response so far, she seems to be right on track.

About Rosie

Rosie de Belgeonne is a video editor and specializes in movie trailers. Her days in a dark edit suite are balanced with sunny runs around McCarren Park track and weekends spent discovering Greenpoint's finest eateries.

8 Comments

  1. I am so happy to have this restaurant so close to my home. Beautiful atmosphere, friendly staff ,good drinks and amazing food. the first time I went they didn’t have their full menu and for a very fair price we had the tasting of meats with beans, rice and kale. Perfect for me. Then I brought my husband and now you could only have they all you could eat version for a bit more ( and no sharing, which is understood.) I wish they had some medium priced entrees . Everything I have eaten there is delicious. Definitely worth a try!

    Reply
  2. mathisawful says:

    i’ve tried to go to this place for dinner 3 times but it was closed each time. any idea of the days open/hours?

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  3. DanBowhers says:

    Went with friends based on this review and holy moly were we all disappointed. It was bad. Bad service stands out most. It was especially awkward when one server did some cunnilingus inspired tongue motion to a bartender. Our server seemed to forget about us in back. We had a shrimp appetizer that was clearly frozen shrimp in a bland sauce. For 13 dollars I expect more…Half our entrees were cold. Skirt steak was inedible. The clear consensus at our table was a big frowning face.

    Through it all; I was really ashamed to have suggested this place. I won’t be going back. I hate to blast a new restaurant, but wow- impressively awful.

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  4. Bob McErlean says:

    I went there 3 times & every time it was closed ! No name , no sign , no menu in the window , not open for lunch , no phone # ! What are we suppose to guess ??? What are there hours ???

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  5. BobMcErlean says:

    Feb. 1,2014 the worst dinning experience I have had in many year ! N/G

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  6. Cyndie says:

    Went there for dinner very early Saturday night, 5:00 to be exact. The place was EMPTY!! Asked for a table for two for dinner, they tried to seat me at a bar table. I asked for a table or a booth, they said that that is not their policy. I thought she joking so I pointed out the fact that there were all of 6 people in the whole restaurant. She reiterated that it was “policy”. I walked out. I could understand if it was the dinner rush or the place was packed, but I would think they would build up a bit of a reputation or at least fill a few tables before turning customers away. Never again!

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  7. Dan says:

    The new sign on the roof is terrible. It looks cheap, hastily considered, and it’s not even eye-catching. Perhaps filling in the letters with some sort of gold metal or foil would make it look better. Anything.

    Reply
  8. John D. says:

    While I really like this place and will still go there after this, I believe the bad reviews.

    I’ve had mostly good experiences with some things to complain about inbetween. I’m not a whiney little girl, so I wont complain much about the outweighed negatives. I don’t expect everything to be perfectly tailored to my every desire, all the time. I won’t write a review based on one single experience. I too, was turned away from a booth when the place was empty, as well as when I requested to sit at the high tables to grab a scotch without eating, BUT it seems as though they have lightened up a bit since opening.

    Be advised, drinks can get expensive here depending on your choice of poison. The food is not overpriced, but has been hit or miss for me, mostly hits – maybe 80%. They still need some work, but I’m optomistic considering it’s right around the corner from my apt., and they have a couple big tvs with sports always on. I also enjoy the vibe, although it’s mainly a hipster crowd. If you bring your own people, you will have a very nice time enjoying the flowing breezes on a nice day like today (all the windows swing open), as well as the ambiance created by the decor (which I think anyone would agree is very nice), and staff.

    In summary – they could be more consistent with food quality and service, but overall a very nice spot to hang out and grab drinks and/or food. I wouldn’t plan an extravaganza here, but it definitely has lots of potential for good times!

    Reply

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