So, we dropped in at one of Philly's newest, Chima, to check out the scene.
Chima Steakhouse is named after chimarrao, a traditional drink of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, that symbolizes hospitality and friendship.
Like most of these eateries Chima features a huge soup, salad, etc. bar and gauchos who bring 16 types of poultry, meat and fish to the table -- all on skewers.
The meat, poultry and fish are sliced directly in front of you and you can have as much or as little as you want. Each diner has a small disc alongside his or her plate. When you want more, you turn the disc up and a color shows (in this case, burnt orange) signaling your request. When you want to pause or stop, you turn the disc over (in this case to black).
The gauchos fly back and forth through the large dining room hopping from table to table fulfilling requests.
The salads were wonderful: hearts of palm, wedges of iceberg lettuce, big fresh tomato slices, various pasta salads, plentiful fresh romaine and lots more. The bar also featured creamy vegetable soup and black beans. At the table we found cheese puffs and miniature meatballs along with crusty fresh bread.
Among the meats and fishes we tried barbecued ribs, chicken, ribeye flank steak and swordfish.
One price covers everything (as much as you want) except coffee and dessert. Dinner will run you $40 per person.
Here's the bottom line: If you like to eat a lot and if you enjoy second and even third servings this should probably be on your list. But be forewarned: The place can get very hectic, crowded and extremely noisy. When it's at capacity it feels more like a diner than a fine restaurant. So, you want get hushed service. And, you better decide what you want from the skewers as the gauchos are not in the habit of lingering.