Fogo De Chao: Feasting Brazilian Style And Loving Every Minute Of It!

Fogo De Chao Brazilian Steakhouse at 60 West 53rd Street (almost directly across the street from MOMA) is the kind of place where you check your diet at the door and just “go for it”! There are so many experiences offered to guests here for one set “per person” price of about $67. It is a classic Brazilian “churrasco” experience with unlimited meats coming around to all the tables and cut right there with guests removing their cut with personal tongs. There are 13 cuts of meat in this carnivore-fantasy-turned-reality including Picanha (the prime part of the top sirloin), Filet Mignon, Alcatra (top sirloin with special Brazilian seasoning), Fraldinha (bottom sirloin), Beef Ancho (beef ribs), Medalhoes Bacon (bacon wrapped steak), Cordeiro (fresh leg of lamb or lamb chops), Lombo (parmesan-encrusted pork loin filets), Costela de Porco (cured center cut pork chops), Linguica (seasoned and slow roasted sausage) and Franco (bacon wrapped chicken breast and legs).But if that is not enough, dinner comes with classic Brazilian cheeses rolls there is a remarkably diverse salad bar that you will find yourself going up to several times. There are a solid 50 items with some of my favorites being caprese (mozzarella, tomato and basil), fava beans with a simple lemon and EVOO dressing), assorted cheeses, marinated artichoke hearts, roasted and dried peppers, steamed asparagus, cold rice salads, fresh fruit including watermelon slices, a lovely assortment of wild mixed greens and dressings and so much more. The salad bar includes a special assortment of hot sides on a separate table against the back wall that includes homemade rice and beans and curry chicken soup.In case you’re curious, here was my first dish from the salad bar. This was actually enough food to fill me up (along with a couple of the cheese rolls), but I had to continue my feasting and start eating the meats that came to my table. The cold grilled cauliflower simply knocked my Crocs off! Oh, poor me, having to stuff myself like this! Sometimes one has to just make room in the name of culinary ecstasy, LOL! I fell in love with the unique assortment of homemade soft drinks including a mint lemonade and a new watermelon juice based drink sweetened with condensed milk. They also have a special natural cherry flavored carbonated ginger drink that is imported directly from Brazil and was a special treat for this ginger ale and ginger beer maniac. There is a huge wine list and many signature cocktails available if you prefer alcohol including the legendary Brazilian drink known as caprinha which they have in a deluxe fresh strawberry version. If you are a connoisseur of wine cellars, be sure to check out the unique and super modern ceiling-to-floor upper level glass cases featuring about 1000 bottles of wine!What cut of meat did I enjoy the most? It was hard to pick favorites even though I tried about seven types but I would have to go with the Picanha (pictured above) not just because of have juicy it it, but because it is a Brazilian legend you cannot get every day and is seasoned with sea salt and garlic, which I adore. I really appreciated each cut of meat’s unique Brazilian seasoning and was intrigued by the fact that the parmesan encrusted pork loin filet was so darn juicy. I liked the way the servers were so careful to give you the temperature of meat that you wanted and after one or two rounds, they remembered if you were a “medium rare” or “medium well” person. The service at Fogo De Chao is very customized and friendly and if you have not guessed already, there is no waiting. You start eating the minute you get there not only because of the salad bar that comes with the meal but because there are seven or eight meat servers on the floor at any given moment.It might be shocking to learn that my dining partner Gail and I were still able to share one of Fogo’s new desserts after our chow-down worthy of accolades from Henry VIII, but we had the new Creme De Coconut Cake topped with homemade vanilla bean gelato served in an individual Creme Brulee dish. I loved that the cake was so moist due to being made with condensed milk and so chock full of fresh shredded coconut. Other beautiful desserts include classic New York Cheesecake, Key Lime Pie, Papaya Cream, Molten Chocolate Cake, Tres Leches Cake, Creme Brulee and Chocolate Layer Cake. The atmosphere at Fogo De Chao is casual yet elegant. The ultra large bilevel dining room features a lot of earth tones mixed with large modern light fixtures. The bar area is included in the upstairs section and sprawls out in the summer to include pretty outdoor tables. Many people who work in midtown come over for the incredible $5 drink and Brazilian snack deals and enjoy people watching. For more info on this very unique eatery, go to www.fogo.com. There is a special deal going on right now where you get a bonus $25 gift card when you purchase one for $125 (details are on the site). Needless to say, Fogo De Chao is a real crowd pleaser–vegetarian and vegans will adore the numerous choices at the salad bar while steak lovers will adore the numerous meats coming around about every 60 seconds. The super fun part is that each diner gets a round card that is green on one side and red on the other, and you can put the red side up when you just get too full or want to take a break from your feasting for a few minutes. Reservations are recommended but not necessary, dress is somewhere between casual and business casual and Fogo is a great choice for large parties and special occasions. Children are welcome. Phone number is 212-969-9980 (reservations can be made both on the Fogo site and via phone).

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