As Ramadan comes to a close early next month, Muslim observers have a new option when it comes to halal offerings. Tradicao Brazilian Steakhouse has added halal filet mignon to its existing lineup of halal lamb, salmon and shrimp. Though it will intially be served as a special during Ramadan, the restaurant hopes to permanently add the filet to its regular menu.
We spoke to Tradicao’s Melissa Abrantes who told us the that Muslim private parties revealed the demand for halal meat. When arranging the events, guests would often request halal meats and if the restaurant couldn’t meet the requirement, the party would bring their own meat or go without. “It was a huge learning curve for us”, said Abrantes, who had to learn and then teach restaurant staff about the stringent requirements when it came to procuring and preparing halal meat. Most seafood and shellfish, on the other hand, do not require zabihah slaughter to be approved.
The filets are purchased from Nebraska Beef Inc., whose processing is certified by Halal Transactions of Omaha. Lamb is purchased from The Lamb Company and is certified by the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand. When the meat arrives at Tradicao’s, it is prepared separately in its own area, marinated with and seasoned with halal ingredients. When grilled, the meat is placed in a dedicated area of the grill, to continue to conform to halal practices. Because of the specialized processing, handling and preparation involved, observant diners are asked to give a 24 hour notice.
While many Brazilian steakhouses in the United States carry halal lamb, Tradicao claims to be the first in the United States to offer filet mignon. That’s the way we like to do it in Houston, though. Leading the meaty way for others.