It poured, the parkway entrance was closed off, and route 9 was backed up, but we made finally made it! By the time we got to Fernandes in Newark, around 7:30pm, the place was jammed packed. They have an outside waiting area, which was swarming with people. There was a confusion in the reservation, so we ended up having to wait an additional 20 minutes. But by the time we were seated at 8pm, it seemed as if the party had just begun.
Pitcher of Sangria, Red ($23.00)
Mark ordered rodizio for both of us. Rodizio is a meat-lover’s heaven. You pay a fixed price (in this case $28) and then servers holding giant skewers of meat start coming around and slicing you the meat. It just never stops. At Fernandes, they had a ton of variety and even though we were seated the front corner, they made their way to our table almost immediately.
Before we ordered, they gave us a warm loaf of bread, which sadly, I only had one piece because I was saving my stomach for the rodizio. We also ordered a pitcher of red sangria, which in retrospect, was a bit too much for both of us. We each literally got a bit over three glasses full of sangria for that one pitcher!
Fries/Rice, Black Beans, Tomato/Onion dip, and Fried Bananas– complimentary of rodizio
When you order the rodizio, they bring over three complimentary dishes (shown above). We only touched a few of the fries and shared a fried banana. I think they’re just trying to load you up on the carbs so that you get full faster. The fries were ehh but my favorite was the fried bananas.
Squishy! (Fried Bananas!)- complimentary of rodizio
No, they’re not fried plantains; they’re fried bananas!. I’ve never had fried bananas before but they really don’t taste much different from a regular banana with a fried coating around them. We waited a bit into the meal before we ate it, so I wish I had it when it was warm. Either way, this was definitely my favorite from the three plates.
All you can eat rodizio ($28 per person)
When the rodizio came out, I was already starving, so I pretty much said yes to just about every person who passed by. Overall, I’d give the rodizio a 7/10 rating. Some of the cuts needed salt (they have coarse sea salt at the salad bar) and once we sprinkled some salt onto the meat, it was so much better. Other cuts were simply awesome as was. Some of our favorites of the nights were-
- Top sirloin covered in garlic wine sauce
- Hanger cut
- Mini rotisserie chicken
- Chicken sausages
- Short ribs (asado style)
- Charred sirloin
Bacon wrapped filet
Interestingly, we weren’t a big fan of the bacon wrapped meats. We speculate that the bacon had stayed out too long and by the time it came to us, it was cold and too dry. In turn, the filet, which was wrapped inside the bacon, was overcooked and a bit chewy. This was probably one of our least favorites, as well as the cheesesteak cut (which was eh despite the cheese on there) as well as the roast beef (which was SUPER bloody). The lamb kebobs were somewhat disappointing more tough than I had expected.
By the time the 8th guy came over, I was DONE. Some of them were super generous with the cuts. One of them practically gave me the whole slab of meat! Because there was simply so much meat, I ended up getting a ton of grilled onions from the salad bar to balance the meal out. If only I came here about 5 years ago, before college started…
Grilled Pineapple following rodizio
After a couple of more guys came over and saw us decline the meat, they offered us grilled pineapple, which signaled the end of our meal. The grilled pineapple came out, still warm and juicy. They sliced it right in front of us.
Sliced grilled pineapple
The heat intensifies the sweetness, making the pineapple taste like its been sitting in concentrated sugar water. The outside rim was covered with cinnamon. Definitely a favorite. Mark wasn’t so keen on the pineapple though.
The Dessert Menu
Then, they came out with the dessert menu. First, they give you a real menu with all the prices and names so you can figure out what you want. Then, a guy comes out with a tray full of all of the desserts so you can visualize and see what each of the desserts look it! Geeee-nius, I tell you! We had such a hard time choosing because they just all looked sooo delicious.
We finally both agreed on the Serradura, which is a simple parfait–like dessert with two ingredients- sweet cream and fine ground cookie crumbles. The whole thing was amazingly delicious, but when we got to the end, we had all of this cookie crumble left and no more cream. At that point, it had the consistency of saw dust so we had to stop.
Our whole stay took 2.5 hours and Mark would have loved to stay longer if it weren’t for me literally falling asleep at the table. There just seemed to be unlimited sangria from that pitcher. Sad to say, we wasted two glasses of it since we had to drive home.
Overall, this was an awesome place. The rodizio that I hear about in NYC will typically cost you from $50-80 so this is definitely a steal by comparison. The service and hospitality is amazing and the rodizio is definitely worth the money, especially if you have the stomach for it. However, a dinner for two is still a splurge. Our dinner for two came out to roughly $110 including tip. Between the day before yesterday (Will brought me to a the NYC Food&Wine Show where I tasted over 20 wines in roughly two hours) and last night, I think I’m going to lay off the wine and the meat for awhile…
There was also a photographer who walked around during the night. He had one of those large old school polaroids and took people’s pictures for $7. A bit pricey, but we splurged, and I’m sure glad we did.
158 Fleming Avenue
Newark, NJ 07105-4008