Monday, November 11, 2013

Fogo de Chao: Philly Review

When I was in grad school a few years back, I organized a few meals for the guys in our program. Pastafest at Maggianos and Meatfest at Fogo de Chao were some of the highlights. It had been awhile since I'd been to Fogo de Chao, so the GF and I went out to treat two of our friends out for their respective bdays.

Fogo de Chao has several locations, including one in Center City. The interior is expansive and emanates a standard steakhouse, with high ceilings and wood throughout.

You can opt to get just the salad bar for your meal here for $24.50. And despite my love for all things carne, even I wouldn't be disappointed with the myriad of options here at the salad bar. Crispy, crunchy bacon, ripe cherry tomatoes, veggies galore - it's quite a sight. 

Fresh mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, prosciutto, manchego, baby Swiss, and cured salmon anyone?

Fresh baked bread, corn salad, or ripe tomatoes?

How about an entire wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano?

And fairly recently, Fogo de Chao added some hot sides to the salad bar mix. They offer black beans, coconut haddock, and red potatoes currently. 

But the salad bar wasn't the only component of our lunch. Because we had to try the onslaught of Brazilian meats.

Lunch ($34.50 pp)

Pão de Queijo

Meals come with a variety of sides that are constantly replenished, including what are essentially gougeres, or warm cheese bread. And the bane of my existence because they take up room that I had previously reserved for Brazilian meat. Really - I can eat three baskets on my own. Crusty on the outside and airy pockets of cheese within, they are simply delicious. 

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Garlic mashed potatoes are also on offer, with some chili seasoning on top.

Polenta Fries 

The polenta fries here are also delicious - crispy on the outside, and perfectly creamy within. They are topped with parmesan to add a nice salty component to each bite. 

Caramelized Bananas

A dessert of sorts, caramelized bananas also come out with everything else - a palate cleanser perhaps?

We're almost there folks. But first, a shot of my first plate from the salad bar. Roasted red peppers, garlic cloves, and assorted veggies, fresh mozzarella, manchego, and bacon.

Red means stop.

But we know his this belly rolls - green means go! In typical Brazilian BBQ style, the servers come to your table, armed with entire shanks of meat, ready to be cut onto your plate. So why don't we start with the sirloin cut. (FYI: all of my requested cuts were perfectly medium-rare)

Garlic Picanha 

Fogo offers two preparations of their signature steak, which is the prime cut of the top sirloin. This was the more robust garlic-seasoned version.


And here is the traditionally seasoned cut of the picanha. The cap was gorgeously marbled and imparted great flavor into each bite. 


Similar to the picanha, the alcatra is a special cut of top sirloin and had great beefy flavor as well.


This bottom sirloin was even more redolent with bovine flavor and was quite robust. But let's move on to the filet ...

Filet Mignon

The GF's favorite cut was nicely tender, had great flavor, and was well-seasoned.

Bacon-Wrapped Filet Mignon

A bacon-wrapped version? Yes, please!

Beef Ancho

But let's move on to my favorite cut of beef - the ribeye. Cut from just the cap, this was well-marbled and melted in my mouth. Be sure to get a few of these on your plate!


There are two lamb preparations on offer here. This was from leg and was sweet, grassy, and tender. They also offer rack of lamb, which I did not have this time around.

Bacon-Wrapped Frango

They also prepare frango, or chicken, two ways - one standard as well as a bacon-wrapped version. Not my favorite bite, but it's hard to compare when there are better cuts of meat available.


Pork loin is also on offer, with a rich Parmesan cheese crust. Over the top perhaps though. 

Costela de Porco

Unfortunately, the pork ribs here were a bit dry. 


But the beef ribs are redolent with bovine flavor. Nice.


The cured pork sausage had great snap and was juicy inside. But at this point, I was feeling like a sausage myself.


Pro-tip: You can ask for sauces to be brought out! Herbal chimichurri for your meats or steak sauce, perhaps? 

Mint Jelly

Or if you need some mint jelly with your lamb, Fogo has that on hand as well.

And on your way out, be sure to grab some of their dark chocolate, a digestif of sorts. 

Fogo de Chao offers great service and a variety of ways to satiate one's appetite in a truly American way, courtesy of Brazilian BBQ cuisine. True, this is obscene gluttony at its finest, but hey, if it's on offer, nothing wrong with trying anything once, or twice ... or three times - right? Just be sure to hit the gym. After the requisite post-meal nap of course.

Fogo de Chão on Urbanspoon  

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