Monday, November 5, 2012

Fun and Festive at Fogo de Chao Boston

By: Jessica Cickay

When the calendar page flips to November each year, I know it’s time for me to start training my stomach for Thanksgiving – the Boston Marathon of eating. Well, I definitely got a great workout in when I visited Fogo de Chao, the new Brazilian steakhouse located right in the Copley Mall in the heart of Boston’s Back Bay.
Image Courtesy: Fogo de Chao

This was my first visit to an authentic Churrascaria, so to review, this is how the experience goes down. Basically, it’s an endless buffet of salad, sides and meat, but that makes it sound cheesy and cheap. No. The sheer quality, turnover, variety and presentation of every piece of food – from a spear of asparagus to a prime cut of filet mignon – is of the highest quality. You can stay at Fogo de Chao for an hour…or six, if you want. Each diner gets a coaster with a green side and a red side, and when you flip to green, waiters know that you’re ready for some meat. When you flip to red, they leave you alone. But, you can flip and flop and flip and flop until the kitchen closes or a food coma ensues.
Salad Bar
For me, the salad bar was the most impressive aspect. There was a wheel of parmesan that took me straight to umami heaven, and the biggest spears of steamed asparagus, massive broccoli crowns, sweet hearts of palm and a platter of some of the most gorgeous lettuce (I know, right?) I’ve ever seen kept me coming back for more. There was smoked salmon, cured meats, rice and beans, roasted potatoes, heirloom tomatoes, tabbouli, marinated mushrooms and just about everything you can imagine.
And in addition to this, your waiter decorates your table with “refillable” garlic mashed potatoes, crispy polenta fries, Brazilian cheese bread and roasted bananas! The polenta fries and the cheese bread were especially delicious. Also, make sure to gulp down Fogo de Chao signature Brazilian cocktail, the caipirinha. It tasted like a sweet mix between a mojito and a margarita, emphasis on sweet!
So once I turned my coaster to green, it was time for some protein! I tried a wide variety, but my favorite was the traditional Brazilian Picanna, a juicy cut of top sirloin seared to perfection with garlic. All of the meats though were delicious and if you wanted something specific or a cut cooked to a certain temperature, well then, your wish was their command!
Parm Wheel
The service at Fogo de Chao was almost absurdly attentive, which certainly isn’t a complaint. I think it just meant that I didn’t feel like having to answer any questions since I wanted to keep eating their delicious food? But, I guess it’s nice to have a pacesetter come by every once in a while and remind you to relax and enjoy. I mean, this is essentially a food spa that pampers you with steak. Oh yea, and then a massive piece of moist and creamy triple chocolate mousse cake, which was the exclamation point to this wonderful experience.
Fogo de Chao is going to be a stronghold in the Back Bay, I can feel it. It’s fun, festive and was far beyond my expectations in terms of quality and variety. The salad bar alone prepped my stomach for the upcoming Thanksgiving feast, but the addition of the 16 types of meat ensured my success come Turkey Day. There’s nothing else like Fogo de Chao in the heart of the city, so this is definitely a great and unique addition to the Boston food scene.

Fogo de Chao
200 Dartmouth St.
Boston, MA 02116

Fogo de Chão on Urbanspoon

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