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

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Acapulco Joes

Ahh, Joe's.

What's not to love about the 70's decor, the salsa in a squeeze bottle or the ultra americanized versions of Mexican classics? This downtown tradition has been filling people to the brink for 30 years.

While more of a lunch place, we decided to head down for a quick dinner before sending Libby off to work. Haute cuisine it's not, but FLO digs a good dive. Libby, being a nightshift worker, has been a big fan of the breakfast burrito and margarita for many a year. If only they served breakfast all day!

If you've never had the pleasure, Joe's homemade chips are the best around. They are basically half a tortilla that has been fried on site. The so good salsa it's like ketchup for mexican is available tableside with a oil/vinegar dressing. Being as we've been going for so long, we have our favorites. For Fred, the three crisp taco lunch is a cheap ultra-satisfying waistline expander. For Libby, if it's lunchtime, mis tres amigos, taking beef three ways with excellent sauces.

The margarita specials are a daily occurrence...although Sunday morning I was rudely awakened to the blue laws invasion, no margaritas before 11!!! Obviously, the Indiana Senate doesn't work nights.

Price-$ Can't beat the price.
Atmosphere-**, Only because of the nostalgia factor. The old panelling must go! They have replaced part of it, and the new portion looks great!
Fred - B, What is it about the ketchup-based salsa that's actually really good?!?.
Libby - B, It's the first thing I want after a hard night's work.
Ozzy -B+, Chips for dinner?!? Grilled cheese got trumped, but looked good.
Acapulco Joe's Mexican Foods on Urbanspoon