365 Restaurants, 2 Kids, 1 Giant Fiasco
You’ll have to let me apologize for another late entry for last night’s dinner. Our very, very good friends were visiting from out of town tonight and we had dinner with them (yes, we subjected them to our childsplate nonsense) and after a lengthy dinner we caught up a little and then had to get four tired children to bed! Our friends have two extremely cute 10 month old twin boys, so you can imagine the hesitation when I called to make reservations: Party of 8, 4 adults and 4 children, we’ll be needing two high chairs. “Uh, can you hold on a second.” Luckily, they (seemingly) happily made our dinner reservation. It was a special evening: almost to the halfway point of The Phipps Feeding Fiasco, yay!! So tonight, more to celebrate our friends’ visit, we decided on Rafain’s for more meat than any person SHOULD handle!
We arrived first; as you might imagine, getting 10 month old twins ready can prolong the getting ready and out the door process. We waited for a few minutes (we were a little late for our reservation time ourselves) and they let us be seated while we waited for our friends. Out came the yummy, cheesy, doughy goodness AKA bread and we all dug into that while Mina set up her station. Out came the Care Bear placemat, some coloring pencils and her coloring book. She was set.
Benji had to entertain himself with the bread and the tongs for later in the meal. We had to confiscate any knife within arms’ reach.
Mina decided that she needed to go to the restroom, so I took her and after we came back, our friends arrived with identical twins in tow. Mina claimed that she could identify them because one of the twins’ heads was bigger than the other. Funny enough, that’s how their parents say they tell them apart also. And Mina was right every time.
They got nice and situated and we chatted a bit before they got some baby food out for the kids. Kurt went to find out if they had a microwave, which they didn’t, BUT they did offer up either hot water or the oven to warm the babies’ food. They opted for hot water. Ogre and I hit the salad bar while they fed the babies (always a good trick to have well fed babies at the table!).
After they finished up feeding the kids, they took their shift towards the salad bar while Ogre and I kept watch over our brood of kids. Luckily, everyone was behaving themselves! It’s a wonder what a few cheerios can do!
Now, we were all eating and enjoying our first course. Of course, you have to be careful not to fill up on the yummy salad bar! Next up will be the meats! Once we all were pretty well done with the salad portion of our marathon meal, we readied ourselves for the meat.
I firmly believe in strategizing when you come here. It’s always nice to know what to expect, so it’s plus that we’ve been here several times before. I opted for a piece of chicken for Benji. I would not be wasting precious stomach space on chicken!! Then I just wait until they come over with something I know I want and in the “doneness” that I want. If they offer up something that isn’t cooked to my standard, I don’t take another bite, I just wait for the next time and point out that the last one was not a great piece.
They had a new offering this time that was a HUGE hit with the table, kids and adults. PINEAPPLE. They must lightly grill it to bring out the sweetness. We all had quite a bit of this and even requested that the “pineapple guy” come around a few times!
They serve fried plantains and mashed potatoes for the table as well. Again, I don’t waste stomach space with that. Benji, though, does not consider it wasting space and requested “ma na nas” quite a few times.
All of our kids were well behaved. It was an amazing meeting of the cosmic gods to create this wonderful, child-happy meal. The only mishaps came as a result of our parenting “whoops.” A few times, one of the twins grabbed the within reach knife that Kurt or I was using. Although, one time, I know that he faked me out by acting like he wanted to coo and play with me, only to dash for the knife when I was distracted by his cuteness.
Another time, the other twin slipped forward in his high chair, but was caught by his seat belt before any harm could be done. He was undoubtedly uncomfortable from that and after being repositioned, scowled and scolded all off us in his angry jibber – jabber.
Benji was a little persistent with drinking from the “Bee-Boy” (Big Boy) glass and having Mommy do it. I think he drank the whole glass of water in 5 minutes.
After dinner, as we waited to settle the tab and I let Benji out of his seat, Benji made a mad dash across the dining room floor. Ogre chased after him, but Benji apparently had some moves that would be envied by the Arizona Cardinals. Benji was well across the room before Ogre could collect him and bring back to our table.
I decided that Benji would do better in the lobby and took him out there while we waited to get going.
The wait was because Sole had to change BOTH of the boy’s diapers and there is no changing station in the Men’s restroom. There’s a changing station in the Women’s AKA Mom’s restroom. Figures.
We left the restaurant overstuffed, yet overjoyed that our brood did so well at dinner tonight!
Well, it’s hard to talk about each meat. I can tell you that you can tell the skewer guy that you want medium rare or well-done if your Sole and they can accommodate that. Every once in a while you get a “bad” piece of meat meaning it’s too overdone, but I just don’t eat that piece and move on!
My favorites are the lamb and the filet. Ogre really likes the “house special,” which is the picanha. I can’t tell you how many times they came by with that picanha! They do prepare it several ways, one of which is with garlic. Picanha is the tri-tip of the steak by the way (which you can never seem to find in the mainland United States! I know this because there is a Hawaiian recipe that specifically suggests Tri-tip steak and we can never find that cut unless we’re in Hawaii!).
My suggestion would be to check out their websiteto see the different meats before you go. They have a really nice salad bar with everything from your standard salad, to marinated artichokes, cold pastas, prosciutto (my fave), and more.
Overall, I’d say average. So, they have the guys that run around with the huge skewers of meats and they are all over the place and happy to find someone to bring you a skewer of what you want if they see that you want something in particular. You really have to remember to flip your card over if you don’t want to be bothered and sometimes that does not even work! The other servers, who I guess are in charge of keeping your drinks refilled, etc are not as “on the ball,” it seemed to take some time for plates to be cleared and clean ones to be brought. We had to actively seek out a server, any server, yoo-hoo, when we needed something and it took quite some time for our bill to come out.
I’d say for this type of restaurant it is kid-friendly. There’s no kids menu and there’s no kids activities, so keep this in mind, as it’s going to be a long dinner. More because you won’t want to stop eating than anything else! I don’t know how much kids actually cost to eat here, because they did not charge for any of the kids. We told them that Mina was five and they still did not charge for her. I’ve read on some other non-official website that kids uner 12 were 1/2 off, but don’t hold me to that!
I will say that of the Churrascurias I’ve been to (Rafain’s, Fogo de Chao, and Texas De Brazil), this one seems the most kid friendly. It’s about 10 dollars cheaper than Fogo de Chao per person (but the meats are quite as good). I can’t remember how prices fare in comparison to Texas de Brazil because that one is my least favorite and I don’t really care how much it costs, since we don’t ever go there.
There is a newly opened Churrascaria in Garland that I’m not itching to try (as Liz G has piqued my interest with her suggestion that the flan there is simply divine). Anticipate that restaurant review soon, I can’t let amazing flan sit there untried!
I love this style of eating. Love it. Too bad it’s so expensive. It’s a fun dinner and the kids might be entertained by all the guys with huge sword like skewers carrying lots of meat. Or they may be totally bored and embarrassed that their parents are eating so much!
The total: 106ish (we had a 25% coupon and the kids were free. one bottle of wine)
I guess the owner was “in house” tonight, OR a very, very big fan of Rafains!
Childsplate.com chronicles our journey to find the perfect family restaurant. We are looking for restaurants with excellent food and a great attitude towards kids, even the whiny, cranky ones! We will be headed out to a different restaurant every single day to provide ourselves (and you) with some entertainment and good information about DFW area restaurants. We hope you will visit frequently and use our experiences to create some fun dining experiences of your own! Watch out, DFW, the Phipps family is going out to eat!