Recently, I had the pleasure of eating at a restaurant unlike any other that I've been to, Fogo de Chao. A true Brazilian steakhouse, Fogo is a most unique dining experience that you really can't get anywhere else. The basic premise is that you sit at a table, and are served endlessly from a selection of over ten meats, all roasted on a spit in the kitchen. If you want to hear more about the service, visit their website @ http://www.fogodechao.com/menu/dining-experience/
From the outside, Fogo's three part dinner service seems pretty simple. However, it's much more complex than you could ever imagine.
When you sit down for the first time, you'll be offered the salad bar. Consisting of endless vegetables, multiple pasta/potato/salads, aged cheeses (including a mammoth wheel of aged parmesan), as well as a selection of meats and smoked salmon, the salad bar is not to be overlooked. However, one must keep in mind the meat course (2nd course) is still to come when you're up there selecting your salad items. You wouldn't want to finish eating your raw vegetables, become full, and then not have room for the lamb chops walking around.
Now what about those lamb chops walking around? Well here is where Fogo de Chao separates itself from any other steakhouse you've ever attended. When you decide to begin your meat course (signaled by flipping your given Fogo De Chao two sided token from red to green) men with various accents and cuts of meat will begin to come to your table and offer you any one of their bites. From Filet Mignon, to ribs, to chicken, to flank steak, to pork loin and anywhere in between, you might find it hard to pace yourself. Speaking of pacing myself,within mere minutes of flipping my token...my plate looked as it does below
But back to the meats. Overall the meats were somewhere from good to great. The draw of Fogo shouldn't be eating the best steak you've ever tasted, rather the most variety and in the most interesting way. If you truly want the best filet mignon, go to the best steakhouse in Philadelphia and order solely the steak. However, if you want a delicious filet, a taste of a rib, a bite of sausage, etc, Fogo is your best bet (and one of the only places that could supply you that as well). The most truly delicious steak on the menu, as a consensus of my whole party, was what they called the "house special," colloquially known as a top sirloin, and it out shined every other piece of meat I ate that night. As pictured below on the spit, it truly wowed me and made me want to just keep eating and eating.
Finally, we got to ordering dessert. On most dinners I'd say dessert at Fogo de Chao is like a leprechaun at a Bar Mitzvah in Lower Merion--not often spotted and if spotted, kind of uncalled for. However, it was my 16th birthday dinner, so dessert seemed fitting. I got what the restaurant praised to be their most requested dessert, the papaya cream (below). It was truly the best ending to the meal, a smooth, creamy, refreshing bite at the end of a mostly heavy, hearty meal. My friend got the molten chocolate cake as per suggestion by our hipster young male waiter, and it did not disappoint either. However, twas the polar opposite of the papaya cream. (picture further below.)
Overall, I'd say Fogo de Chao is an interesting culinary experience for anyone that likes to eat or likes to taste good food. If you can bear the stiff price tag, Fogo's a one of a kind dine.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Check out more about Fogo at their website: http://www.fogodechao.com/home/