Brazilian Bombshell

A Hell's Kitchen restaurant with beauty and brains

When you arrive at Brasilina in Hell's Kitchen, head directly for the hulking wooden door.

The glass doors on the side of the restaurant will get you nowhere near its superb caipirinhas.

Once you walk through the entrance, order a tall caipirinha mulata ($12), which is jammed with cachaça, fresh lime, raw molasses and crushed ice, and take a nosedive into a basket of polvilho.

These crisp sheets have the look, texture and complete addictiveness of chicharrón, if chicharrónes happened to be made from ground-yuca starch.

Mariana Bull oversees Brasilina's rustic Brazilian food, and her brother mans the bar. Mom and Dad are in on the action too; they designed the interior, with its exposed rafters, fireplace and chandeliers, and they also work in the front of the house.

Other notable eats: palitos de tapioca ($9), delightfully spongy and springy fritters laced with cheese, and moqueca ($25), that centuries-old Brazilian cod-and-shrimp stew. Served steaming in a clay pot with jasmine rice and a side of garlic-oil collard greens ($5), there's no better panacea to the mean streets of Midtown.

To finish, try the classic brigardeiros ($6)–cooked-down condensed milk served in spoons for eating ease. Both supersweet and supersticky, it's a justifiably dulcet ending to a hospitable evening at this family-run affair.

Brasilina, 836 Ninth Ave. (at W. 55th St.); 212-969-9970 or brasilinany.com