Taking over the old Church & State space in the Arts District, Caboco is a new Brazilian restaurant from São Paulo chefs Rodrigo Oliviera and Victor Vasconcellos. The completely redone dining room is colorful and fun with painted murals on the wall, transparent red and yellow awnings hanging from the ceiling, and two-seater tables lining the interior creating an amphitheatre-type effect. It sort of feels like you’re at a communal loft party where at any point the furniture could be cleared and a makeshift dance floor sprouts out of nowhere.
Where things become less exciting at Caboco, unfortunately, is the food. While we did like some of the dishes here (the cheesy tapioca fries with sweet chili sauce were a major standout), everything else was either forgettable or reminded us of a better version somewhere else in town. The pork belly was dry and lukewarm with a soggy exterior that lacked any sort of crackliness, and the cashew fruit and plantain-filled vegetable moqueca was unbalanced, overly sweet, and simply not substantial enough to warrant its $38 price tag. There are elements of Caboco that work, but the sum of its parts does not equal a restaurant you need to be seeking out right now.