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Samba's owners, the Pantano family, previously owned the Brazilian Connection grocery store in Minnetonka, and their foray into the restaurant business offers a traditional, home-style take on a South American cuisine rarely seen in the Twin Cities. Brazil is a world-famous cultural melting pot, so it's not surprising that the country's national dish is an import-a traditional Portuguese stew called feijoada (pronounced fay-ju-ada) that the Europeans brought to their colonies. After hours of slow cooking, the black beans turn creamy and absorb the meaty flavors of various bits of bacon, sausage, rib, dried beef, and bone. Fogo de Chao, the national chain restaurant famous for its gaucho waitstaff serving a never-ending parade of grilled meat skewers, is the best-known Brazilian eatery in the Twin Cities, and fans of its carnivorous orgy will be pleased to partake in Samba's more modestly priced churrasco options of grilled top sirloin, pork loin, and a kielbasa-like pork sausage. Brazil is known as having the largest population of Italians outside of Italy, thus Samba serves both pastas and risotto. The restaurant also makes kibe-a moist bulgur-enhanced meatball sweetened by mint and cinnamon-to reflect Brazil's sizable Lebanese community. And if you want to stock your home pantry with Brazilian staples, the restaurant has its own small grocery section.
Most small-town Main Streets are rather depressed these days, as empty storefronts form a hollow shell of what was once a vibrant economic and social core. But suburban Hopkins's downtown is an exception. The thoroughfare's new and historic... More »
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