You know the huge salad bars that take up most of the floor space at Rio-style barbecue restaurants, installations whose single purpose is to fill you up before you get to the all-you-can-eat skewers of grilled meat? Libra is a little like that — first an elaborate hand-washing station, then a Brazilian salad bar long enough to recede into the distance: chilled hearts-of-palm salad and pasta with pesto, tabbouleh and bouncy balls of mozzarella, shredded collard greens and slices of grilled eggplant; mounds of rice and stewed oxtail; fried plantains, hollow ping-pong balls of cheese bread and the peculiar version of beef stroganoff that seems to have become the national dish of Brazil. You will fill the big oval platter and then some before you get to the foot of the line.
And then you will discover the grill station — really good Portuguese sausages, chicken thighs and the cut of beef called picanha grilled to order, fatty and crisp and delicious, except by then you will only order a few slivers of meat, because the weight of the plate will already be formidable. Did I mention that Libra charges by the pound? A triumph of marketing.
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LIBRA: 3833 Main St., Culver City. (310) 202-1300, bythelibra.com. Open daily, 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. AE, MC, V.