A co-worker of mine was moving on to a new job and he wanted to go to Fogo de Chao for his going away lunch. He sent us an Outlook appointment that simply said "meat". Six of us headed through the skyway around 11:30 for Fogo, most of us having skipped breakfast that morning in anticipation of the
We arrived and were quickly sat, as there were only a couple other people in the restaurant. The server told us how Fogo de Chao worked:
1. Each person has a "meat card" at their table that looks like a coaster. It has a green side and a red side.
2. When you are ready to have your meat, turn the card to the green side to be immediately bombarded with gauchos serving you cuts of meat right at your table.
3. While you are having salad, or if you need to take a breather, turn the card to the red side and you will be left in peace.
The gauchos simply wander the restaurant with a skewer of various cuts of meat, if they see a green card up they go over and offer you a slice. They have around fifteen different kinds of meat from steak, pork, lamb, chicken, bacon wrapped chicken, and bacon wrapped steak. After several helpings Josh even thought he was having shrimp, thats what the meat can do to people.
We all tried the Brazilian beer Xingu, which I would compare with the 1554 from New Belgium and was just as good. After lunch Scott and Josh tried some grappa and I had a Glenlivet on the rocks (it was a going away lunch, give me a break!).
Then came the bill. We all knew the lunch price was ~$25 for the all-you-can eat meat and salad bar and we also all had a beer, so we we're looking at around $30 apiece, and some of us had a drink afterwards as well. At work we have a little game we play occasionally called "credit card roulette."
Heres how its played:
Everyone puts their credit card into a stack and we give the stack of cards to the server. The server picks a card, face down, and whatever card is picked, pays the entire tab. This would be the most expensive game we have played to date.
Inevitably, people suggest playing this game when we are at a place that is little expensive and this was no exception. Someone called for it and four of the six threw in their cards. Mike and myself politely declined and eventually we decided to simply split the bill evenly amongst the six of us, crisis averted. Someone would have had some 'splaining to do to their significant other had we continued the game.
We paid the bill and slothed back to the office, it was now 1:30 in the afternoon :)
- Service: The service is excellent. You don't have a single server at Fogo, all the servers work every table.
- Food: Uhhh, awesome. The food is awesome, obviously.
- Drinks: Decent selection of beers, TONS of wine and a fully stocked bar.
- Ambiance: The atmosphere at lunch was kind of ho-hum. This is more of a dinner place and it gets very busy and exciting. Most of the fun is watching the gauchos hurry around with their big skewers, which is even more impressive when the place is full of customers.
- Price: The food is expensive for a single meal, but everyone knows that going in so its not a big deal. You can't eat that much meat more than once every quarter anyways.
- Convenience: We walked in the skyway for about 5 minutes, so this was probably the most convenient restaurant I will review here. Even if you drive there are several ramps close by downtown and they have valet parking available as well.
Ben's review is good for most of the people that would want to go to Fogo de Chao - aka those that love mass quantities of meat. I am not one of those people. I enjoy a few pieces of meat and I love a good burger, but the thought of gorging myself on meat makes me feel kind of ill. So when we went to celebrate Becca's birthday, I just ordered the salad bar for half the cost ($20 for dinner as opposed to the $40 for the meat).
The salad bar is different than what you'd find at a place like Ruby Tuesdays - it has a ton of great cheeses and pre-made salads and other things that I don't really remember right now because we went awhile ago. Luckily even back then I took a lot of pictures of my food, so here is one of my plates from a trip to the salad bar.
You also get to have all of the side dishes - I'm not sure what they are, but here is a photo Ben took when he was there last time. The mashed potatoes are all right, but the bread popover whatevers are REAL tasty. They aren't in this picture, but you'll see them if you go. I ate about 10 of them. Mmmm boy. Because Joe used to work there, I also was able to sneak a few bites of Ben's meat - and indeed, it WAS quite good. 4-5 bites of meat was plenty for me though.
Another plus of that meal was that Becca and Ben and I all got free desserts - Becca because it was her birthday, and Ben and I because it had been our 2 year wedding anniversary on September 24th. So that was neat.
All in all, I will probably not go back to Fogo de Chao - it seems a little excessive, and while the atmosphere was fun, it seemed a little gimmicky to me with all the gauchos running around with their huge slabs of meat. A little too frantic. Still a fun place to try once though, and more than once if you are one of those people (like Ben) that feel that no good meal is complete without a huge slab of meat.
Oh, and for those who care (as previously mentioned, I am not one of those people) apparently this place has a good wine list - they have a huge wall of wine. Here is a kind of bad photo, and a photo of Becca's birthday wine that she greatly enjoyed.
(I hope Becca is okay being thrust into the spotlight like this. After all, I'm pretty sure AT LEAST 6 people read this blog)
Fogo de Chao
645 Hennepin Ave
(several other locations in the USA and Brazil)
Price: about $40 for dinner, $25 for dinner, about half that just for the salad bar.
Recommended at least once.