Leslie's Omnibus

Roadside Diner

I promised a review of Fogo de Chao a couple of days ago.

Let me say, the restaurant is misnamed. It should be "Fogo de... Wow! I can't believe I ate the whole thing!"

They have the most fabulous salad bar I have ever seen. I could have had nothing but the salad bar, and been a happy, happy camper. Unlimited access to their own smoked salmon with herb sauce for dipping? (The only fish on the menu, BTW.) I thought I'd died and gone to Heaven. At least three kinds of mixed greens. At least four kinds of cheese, including handball-sized portions of fresh buffalo mozzarella and chunked (not grated, not shaved) Parmegiano Reggiano. Prociutto. Genoa salami. Blanched asparagus spears. A fresh salad of haricots vert, julienned carrots, sesame seeds in a light balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Gorgeous grilled red and yellow peppers. The list goes on and on. (I have to stop describing this now. I'm drooling all over the keyboard.)

My recommendation: Choose the smallest plate available. Remember -- this is supposted to be a starter. It's so good and so bountiful, it could easily end up being the whole meal.

As for the rest of the offerings... did you ever see the Rodney Dangerfield movie "Back to School"? In the beginning Rodney is doing an ad for his business -- Thornton Mellon's Tall & Fat. It begins, "Are you fat? Do you..." and ends with, "When you open a menu, do you say 'YES'?"

Well... at Fogo de Chao, you can say "YES". There are 15 different cuts of meat, all cooked over a wood fire. You get a little card that's red on one side and green on the other. When you're ready for a serving of meat, you turn the card to green. Like magic, Gaucho chefs appear with long skewers of steaming, mouthwateringly fragrant beef, pork, lamb, chicken and sausages. They will serve you as much of any of them as you wish. It's a he-man's paradise and a vegan's worst nightmare.

My hands-down favorite is the lamb chops. They were as near to perfection as I've ever had anywhere. If you love lamb, don't miss them. Everything else was wonderful, too, though.

A couple more notes:

A big word of caution: PACE YOURSELF. After one or two servings, flip your card back to red for a while. It's very easy to stuff yourself and miss out on some of the best offerings.

It's pricey -- $48.50 per person; however, you can order every single thing on the menu, and more than once. (Buckaroo Bonsai had four servings of the lamb chops alone.) For the price, if you really like meat, and lots of it, it's a good deal.

Service -- You'll have at least three servers, and that doesn't include the small army of Gaucho chefs with big honking skewers of meat. Side dishes and fresh plates are frequently replenished. Smooth, professional, and non-intrusive.

If you have a more limited appetite, read the menu ahead of time and know what you really want. I must have waived away at least six of the boys in blousy pants before I finally got my lambchops. They won't take offense.

The main dining room is much quieter than the bar, at which conversation is mainly held at a very high decibel level.

Don't eat anything the day you plan to go. Your stomach will thank you later.


Anonymous said...

.. I have GOT to go there...

Elisson said...

I'm too lazy to drag my ass down to Buckhead to go to Fogo de Chao here, but there's another good Brazilian steakhouse here (Sal Grosso) that's close by my old office location.

One of my first posts (it was the second, in fact) concerned a visit to that Shrine o' Meaty Goodness.

You can - at Sal Grosso, anyway - just order the salad bar. It's a meal in itself...but look what you'd be missing.

Omnibabe said...

I'll be dipped! Did you know that you and I started blogging the same week, almost to the very day??? No wonder I like you so much!

That 1 Guy said...

Damn, that sounds good!