Tuesday, March 25, 2008

First Look - Fogo de Chao

The phrase "once in a lifetime" gets thrown around quite a bit these days. Usually, when one uses it, they're referring to an experience, in our case, a meal, that's so good, you'll only experience it once in a lifetime.

Fogo de Chao is a once in a lifetime experience, not because it was so good you'll never replicate it, but because after you go through this meatathon of epic proportions, you'll probably never want to go through it again.

Now by no means am I saying that Fogo de Chao isn't a good restaurant. In fact, I thought it very much lived up to expectations. The various kinds of meat made it an interesting meal, not only a satisfying one. I thought the pichanha, a portion of sirloin that you evidently don't find that often in the US, was particularly good, as was the lamb, which I thought stole the show.

What really sets this restaurant apart from your run of the mill steakhouse is the service. Instead of ordering a steak, you have an army of men with meat on skewers and large knives running around asking if you want what they're carrying.

Want you meat rare? They'll find the part of the steak that's rare and cut you a slice. Don't want any meat at all, turn the little red and green coaster they give you to red, and the servers will bypass your table.

It's a system with benefits and drawbacks. It lets you eat at your own pace, but if you let them, the servers will bombard you with meat; a thought that will haunt your dreams long after you pay the bill and leave the restaurant.

Even if you want to throw a little greenery into the mix, the salad bar was quite impressive, and had a great variety of antipasti items and straight up salad items.

If for some reason you happen to have room for dessert, you'll find them here too, along with a very robust wine (dinner and dessert) and liquor list.

I had the tres leches cake, which lived up to the standards I developed living in Miami for 18 years and eating my weight in it over time.

When it comes down to it, Fogo de Chao isn't a restaurant, it's an experience. It's meat madness, it's a meatercize in futility, it's a meatastrophy. It's the kind of meal that makes it hard to sleep that night, and makes it hard to get out of bed in the morning.

Fogo de Chao isn't a "once in a lifetime experience" because the food is that great, but because after this gluttonous meat carnival, your body probably couldn't take another.


Britni said...

I've been to various Brazilian Steakhouses like this, and my husband loves them. Glad to know there's one in the area. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm from Brazil. This kind of restaurant originated in the south of Brazil, were local "cowboys" would have dinner every night like that, around the fire and on the floor. So, "Fogo de Chão" means "fire on the floor" were many different kinds of meat were cooked and later served to everybody. Here in Brazil the most famous restaurants of this kind are "Fogo de Chão", "Montana Grill" and "Barbacoa". You will find a restaurant like that in every part of Brazil nowadays, with different prices. Some are more popular and the most expensive represent a more refinate experience. They are very common here and I would feel at home in the US eating there. Cheers! Plinio plinio.lodi@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

this blog is a rambling mess, check mine out:


Regardless of what you think, BOTH of our blogs are now irrelevant. Chima blows Fogo out of the water, it's not even close. Ask for the beef ribs.