Monday, September 19, 2005
Fogo de Chao in Beverly Hills
Just imagine being able to go to an upscale restaurant and eat all you can eat of succulent, savory, perfectly seasoned rare, medium rare or done cuts of meat. Not just some rib roast, I'm talking filet mignon, top sirloin, lamb chops, roasted lamb, linguica, chicken wrapped in bacon, filet mignon wrapped in bacon, beef ribs, pork ribs, noble sirloin, bottom sirloin, pork loin and chicken drummettes. All seasoned with sea salt, some with garlic and roasted on a state of the art rotisserie.
Well let me tell you about Fogo de Chao in Beverly Hills, California. Located on Restaurant Roll, that is La Cienega Blvd. Since their opening in March 2005, there has been nothing but great reviews. In the US there are locations in Dallas, Houston, Atlanta and Chicago with one slated to open in Washington DC soon. Brazil is home to four other locations. Did I give something away?
Fogo de Chao is a Brazilian Churrascaria which translates to "All You Can Eat BBQ". This truly unique dining experience is touted to bring back the steakhouse experience of Southern Brazil.
I had read a number of positive reviews about this restaurant. In addition, some friends also told us about the adventure. So Saturday, G and I decided to make reservations. We were able to get one for 6:30pm. Fine with me. If I'm going to eat that much meat, I'd better allow time before going to bed. We drive up to Fogo de Chao which is next door to The Stinking Rose and across the street from Lawry's Prime Rib. What competition!
The building was renovated at a price of nearly 8 million dollars with 2 million of that invested in the kitchen alone. We valet park and walk in to be greeted by a very friendly young lady who verified our reservation. We are escorted to our table and the show begins.
The waiter comes to explain the dinning adventure we are about to embark. He describes the very well and diversely stocked salad bar, the prixe fixe price of the meal, the fact that gaucho dressed servers will be coming to our table to slice piece after piece of meat onto our plates until we tell them to stop by turning over a coaster sized disk to indicate stop/pause or go. Our dinner is served with mashed potatoes topped with cheese, whole fried bananas and fried polenta rectangles. We order a bottle wine which I found it to be quite expensive but that's ok. We opted for glasses of water versus bottled. Vegetarians do not be dismayed. You can select the vegetarian menu which is the sald bar and sides, no meat at a reduced prixe fixe price.
We headed for the salad bar. It was very hard to resist filling our plates with the many choices available. Smoked Salmon, proscuito, soft and hard cheese, dried tomatoes, large asparagus spears, hearts of palm, potato salad, mozzarella balls, spinach, romaine, croutons, select premium EVO, beets, fruits and on and on. All presented very well and never allowed to run out. I exerted will power and limited my choices so I could pig out on the meat- carnivore that I am.
G and I headed back to the table. Our wine was poured and we were ready. The mashed potatoes, polenta and fried bananas were delivered to the table. A basket of bread was also placed for our enjoyment. Airy, buttery with a strange consistency which I can't describe but tasty. After finishing our salads, we turn our coasters to "go".
Immediately a gaucho dressed server arrives with a skewer of meat. It's filet mignon and I select medium rare. G also goes for it. Next we are served top sirloin where the server slices the meat and we use tongs to assist placement on our plates. The servers were very attentive. If they didn't have the doneness you preferred, they immediately found a server who did. We pause and then go again. After tasting only half the selections, I slow down but I do not stop. This is pure gluttony but I'm loving it. I did taste nearly all the selections. G comments that it's amazing, we are turning down perfectly cooked slices of prime meat- filet mignon. G sees a platter displayed by a server at another table. He places his coaster on "go" and is presented with the most tender and tasty piece of beef ribs. He finds room to take on one more slice. I nibble a small piece of G's. We are both finished.
We did eat a limited amount of the fried bananas and polenta which was great. The mashed potatoes were ok. There was nothing that I didn't like. Will we go back again? Yes in deed. It can't be a weekly thing for at $48.50 per person it can get pretty steep when you also consider the wine. We were out of there including tip at $210.00 for two.