Fogo de Chão (fo-go dèe shoun) is an authentic Brazilian steakhouse established in 1979, created as a way to share the gaucho way of preparing meat. The Chicago location is one of many in the United States, with more in Brazil. For their ten year anniversary, the Chicago restaurant underwent a $750,000 renovation and expansion, adding private dining rooms, a restyled bar/lounge and an even more elaborate gourmet salad bar. It is a beautifully-designed space, luxurious, open, yet human-scaled at the same time.
Cuts of delectable fire roasted meats are brought to your table, sliced, and served by their gaucho chefs. Laima enjoyed selections such as Picanha, Filet Mignon, Beef Ancho, Alcatra, Fraldinha, Costela, De Porco, and Lombo. For the non-carnivores, there is the new Fresh Grilled Mozzarella Cheese, which was flat out delicious! Included with the meal is a limitless service of traditional Brazilian side dishes, including: pão de queijo (warm cheese bread), crispy hot polenta, garlic mashed potatoes and caramelized bananas. Fogo also offers optional side dishes of rice and black beans, and farofa (a condiment made with manioc meal) upon request. The salad sides bar boasts an extensive selection of over 30 items: gourmet salads, fresh vegetables, imported cheeses, artisan breads, cured meats and more. Wine is a mainstay of the restaurants, with the list garnering the coveted Wine Spectator Magazine Award of Excellence repeatedly. Cocktails, including the signature Brazilian caipirinha, are also available. We enjoyed a bottle of Fogo’s own 2009 Gran Reserva Malbec - supple mouthfeel, balanced and nuanced, this wine went perfectly with all of dishes.
Desserts include Fogo de Chão Signature Papaya Cream, South American Flan, Crème Brule, Turtle Cheesecake, Molten Chocolate Cake, and Key Lime Pie. We tried the Papaya Cream (topped with creme de cassis) and the Molten Chocolate cake, simply amazing, especially paired with espresso for me and capuccino for Laima.
Service is above and beyond, with a seemingly endless parade of servers bringing meat, refreshing side dishes, pouring wine and water, and generally making sure the experience is as perfect as can be.
Fogo de Chão is obviously aimed at carnivores, but don't overlook it when dining with the plant-based set; plenty of non-meat options means that everyone can dine happy.
More info on the Fogo de Chão website and by liking on Facebook.
Disclaimer: This meal was comped for me for review purposes, courtesy of Fogo de Chão. I was not compensated in any other way for the review, was not obligated to give the restaurant a positive review, and all opinions are my own. Some information in this review was taken from the company website.
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