Take a small army of sword-bearing men, their blades laced with meat and fowl, the smoke-singed beef, chicken and pork glistening from a rotisserie and deftly sliced before your eyes until you signal the servers to stop.
Add the mother of all salad bars--a mile-long invitation to loosen your belt a notch or five.
Gather these elements in a space the size of a hotel ballroom, fill it with dedicated carnivores and brush on a Brazilian accent.
What you get is Green Field Churrascaria of Rockville, a 250-seat South American barbecue restaurant that's about as demure as a soccer match.
The main draw of this all-you-can-feast buffet ($10.95 per adult at lunch, $19.95 at dinner and $7.95 and $10.95, respectively, for children) is meat. Lots of it. We're talking rosy-hued beef ribs and succulent, fat-rimmed slablets of sirloin. Tiny chicken hearts and piquant, juice-spurting sausages. Tough and chewy lamb kebabs and nicely garlicky nuggets of chicken. Pork loin and duck, rabbit and spongy cubes of turkey, each bite swaddled in bacon.
Dr. Atkins would love this place; the protein keeps coming until you turn over the two-toned wooden marker that rests atop each linen- covered table. As your waiter will tell you once you're seated: The green side of the small block urges the roaming meat carriers to "Bring it on!" while the red side announces a pause in a diner's eating orgy.
You don't have to be a member of the Cattlemen's Association to savor the place, however.
"We even get vegetarians," says manager Marcello Chi. "Salad bar" doesn't quite capture the dozens of hot and cold dishes that help to crowd your plate at Green Field Churrascaria and are included in your tab, along with a 15 percent gratuity (drinks and dessert are extra). Pasta salads by the handful are attractively displayed along with cooked shrimp, mussels, enticing fresh vegetables, hard-cooked eggs drizzled with French dressing, mashed potatoes, Caesar salad, creamy-crisp banana fritters, black bean soup, a stew of salt cod and what appears to be the index of a Brazilian cookbook. It's a multicultural spread that offers plenty of variety between visits from the meat men.
Americans dominate the weekday lunch crowd while the busier weekends find a dining room rich with Brazilians. (Half-hour waits can be expected on Friday and Saturday nights.) As for ambience, what could easily feel like a stadium, given its size, is warmed with green banquettes, dark wood, mirrors on the walls and samba music.
Throughout the evening, a dessert cart cruises the expanse, tempting you to fill any remaining space in your stomach with a taste of something sweet. There's a moist, midnight- colored--and strangely chewy--chocolate cake, a pleasantly eggy caramel flan, a fine coconut mousse, dense cheesecake and a bakery-bought fruit tart, among other possible endings.
After a meal of such abundance, though, all I really need is a trip to the gym.
Green Field Churrascaria is located at 1801 Rockville Pike in Rockville. Call 301-881-3397. Open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m. to midnight, Friday-Saturday. Prices are slated to increase in February. Reservations taken for parties of eight or more.