Friday, June 20, 2008

Fogo de Chao

Fogo de Chao is a new Brazillian steakhouse that just opened up in downtown Indianapolis. And were we ever in need of this!!! When you walk in, the place is abuzz. There are 3-4 times the usual number of servers. This is mainly due to the large number of them marching around with large skewers of meat. And we dont mean just any meat. We're talking the creme de la creme. More on that later.

Upon seating you, the hostess explains that there are no menus and that the meal is served in two parts: the salad bar followed by the meats. Before heading off to the salad bar, we decided to both order the national drink of Brazil, the caipirinha; a cousin of the mojito, and may we say very very tasty.

The salad bar is definitely a misnomer. Yes, there is lettuce (no iceberg in sight! always a good sign) but mainly this is a vegetable side-dish bar. They have a very large variety offerings, many of them quite different than you see elsewhere and all suitably tasty. But let's be honest here... Do you really want to fill up on veggies after entering the cathedral de meat?!?

After finishing the veggies, we were given a quick run-down on how the second course works. They give each person this little disk that's red on one side and green on the other. You flip over your disk and within 10 seconds someone has come over with whatever he has. But each server who passes will come over to you as long as you have the disk on green. So you end up getting 2-3 meats at a time and then quickly flipping back to red. I'd say they had at least 10-15 different meats. And ALL of them were mouth-watering. Everything from fillet mignon to ribeye to tenderloin to leg of lamb. The side dishes are fried polenta (corn-meal mush if you've never had it. it was good), baked (or fried?) bananas (awesome!!), cheesey puff pastries and mashed potatoes.

The service was done as a team. While there were 2-3 head waiters/waitresses roaming around, the majority of the work was performed by what can only be described as a hive of staff. The result was unbelievable. We just started laughing at the insanity of service. If you ran out of a side dish, it was immediately replaced within 10 seconds. Without a word said. But it was so hectic in there 1/2 the time we didn't even see who had brought it! It was insanity. You finish your drink and before you put the cup down, someone was there asking if you'd like another. But at the same time, since everyone is running around in such an organized chaos, you dont feel like you're being stared at or pestered.

For dessert we somehow found room for a papaya smoothy with blackberry cassis. It was excellent and the perfect ending to one of the most memorable meals we've ever experienced.


Price-$$$$, Now yes, it's pricey. But worth every penny.
Atmosphere-***,Fun and totally different from any other place we've ever been!
Service-****, almost too good...a welcome and entertaining experience.
Fred - A+, When can I go again?! and again?! and again!?
Libby - A+, Uh, I'm not even a big carnivore and I can't wait to enjoy some more Gaucho boy served meats!
Ozzy - Enjoyed the evening with Aunt Mary and Uncle Eric.

Fogo de Chao on Urbanspoon


Lola said...

I somehow stumbled on your site, and it's way cool. My cousin's wife is thinking about taking him there for his bday tonight and I needed more info. $45 is steep considering I'm not a big red meat eater...I don't know if I'm going to go, but I love trying new restaurants! Decisions, decisions...

Fred, Libby and Ozzy Milch. said...

Hmm. Not sure if Fogo is for you if you're not into red meat... But otherwise, it's money WELL spent!!

Mary said...

I don't eat meat and love Fogo de Chao. The salad bar is a delight! They reduce the meal price to a reasonable price if you forgo the meat and simply enjoy the salad bar and side dishes. The floor show and service is still quite entertaining to watch. It is something you must experience!