Ilson Goncalves of Samba Demystifies Brazilian Food

With the world spotlight turning to his native Brazil this summer for the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, Ilson Goncalves Culinary director/owner of Samba, a Brazilian restaurant at 7 Park Street in Montclair, wants you to know that there is more to Brazil’s cuisine than all-you-can-eat, beefy experiences. There are many offerings for pescatarians, vegetarians and vegans. Think seafood stews, grilled fresh fish and salads piled high with tropical fruits. Another misconception is that Brazilian food is spicy. It actually has subtle, nuanced flavors from fresh herbs and coconut milk, although homemade hot sauce is available at the restaurant for those who crave heat. Also, Samba’s menu is currently gluten free because yuca is used in most recipes instead of flour. For example: bolinho, which are pastries made with yuca and stuffed with dried beef; cod fish or butternut squash; shrimp with yuca purée, tomatoes, onions, coconut milk and cilantro; and for dessert flourless yuca and coconut cake with dulce de leche and passion fruit sauce. Reservations: 973-744-6764; BYO.

Ralph Perrotti, previous chef de cuisine at Terre à Terre in Carlstadt is the new executive chef at The Plum and the Pear, 393 Franklin Avenue, Wyckoff (201-485-8793).

C J Reycraft, Jr has opened Butcher Block Burgers at 39 Elm Street, Westfield (908-317-2640). Chef Reycraft is also the owner of Amuse, which he opened in 2014 and will be reopening with a liquor license, at a yet to be determined location.

Michael Ventura, previously the executive chef at The Plum and the Pear in Wyckoff is the executive chef of Brio Tuscan Grille, 1400 Willowbrook Mall, Wayne (973-256-0001)

Please send press releases and restaurant news, including information on staff changes, wine tastings, and cooking classes, to [email protected].

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