I recently was given a review of Fogo de Chao from one of my colleagues. They have been so concerned about my regular visits I heard them discussing an intervention before I arrived for our afternoon meeting. Needless to say when they brought up the subject Fogo de Cho, I indicated I just came from lunch there. They were sure they were correct in suggesting intervention.
Well! What prompts me to write this is a questionable review and opinion from a professional restaurant critic that I take complete exception with. I don’t know how someone could get it so wrong. The criticism she points out is the pluses for me.
First, I think the meat on the skewers is a great touch. Gauchos in costume create a wonderful ambience and authentic flair. Why would I want to slow them down? I want that meat on my plate with the “quickness”. And, I want it to keep coming until I turn that little “green” card over to “red”. No, I don’t feel rushed by the Gauchos at all. I guess if you’re intimidated easily you could get that sense, but it’s just the style. Its what you should expect at Fogo de Chao. If it’s not your cup of tea don’t come.
My personal table is right next to the salad bar. I have a 5 top that sits just West of the smoked salmon. I’ve never had a problem with being crowed.
What our frustrated critic does not understand is that there’s a lot of “service” with this style of dining. There is one waiter that you make dedicated to your table. That’s different from the Gauchos and buss persons. So what if you are asked more than once if you’re finished. This is not a high-end romantic, booth in the back; do not disturb us kind of place. It’s group eating. I often talk with the patrons at the next table about the menu or desserts and have always been well received. After all this is a “Latin” restaurant. Brazil is in South America. These are warm and friendly people. They are in a spirit and zone for eating. If you’ve been to Rio (and this writer has not, yet) you know they start dining late. They drink, socialize and then eat large meals late into the evening.
As far as the meat being the weak link the critic couldn’t be further from the truth. Each meat has a distinct and different taste, texture and flavor. Maybe our critic’s palate has been damaged over the years or maybe it just wasn’t working that evening. But the meat is great! I eat there every other Tuesday from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM, and I enjoy it.
Back to the meat. The house specialty is great. It is salty, but that’s because it has a sea salt rub. If you read the brochure it will tell you that. The unexpected surprise for me was that the Bottom Sirloin has become my favorite. Not particularly my favorite cut (I usually choose a Rib eye or Porterhouse). However, Fogo de Chao’s bottom sirloin is the best next to the House Special. The lamb chop is also one of my favorites. Now, I have not tried the chicken yet, but I’ve been told it’s very good.
Yes, if you want Seafood, don’t go to Fogo de Chao. It’s a South American cowboy steakhouse. Bon Appetite.