I adore Fogo De Chao but up until last night the only location that I had visited was the one right across the street from the Museum Of Modern Art in Midtown! I was thrilled to get to attend the VIP opening event/dinner at the newest Fogo location at Willowbrook Mall in Wayne, NJ. About 200 guests got the royal treatment including fabulous seafood trays on their tables and being able to try the “select cuts” of meat that usually have to be ordered separately from the standard prix-fixe Fogo dinner that is so famous!
As you know what sets Fogo apart from run of the mill steakhouses is that each guest uses tongs to get meat sliced off the bone by a gaucho. Gauchos are known as traditional cowboys born and raised in regions across Southern Brazil where they are trained on prepping, cooking, and the precision of cutting different meats for their family and friends for any celebration starting at just nine years old. (In recent years, women have gotten into the game and so you will notice a few “cowgirls” cutting your meat at Fogo!) Chefs who prepare traditional Brazilian meats and authentic dishes at Fogo de Chão are known as Gauchos and are all trained in the art of churrasco (the precision of carving meat)—but they have all sorts of other culinary skills as well. I love these guys because they always listen to my odd requests—I like any piece of meat with a lot of fat around the edges and I also like the end piece of any roast. I especially love the aforementioned “select cuts” like the Wagyu Cowboy Steak!
Another major highlight of dining at Fogo is the extensive salad bar which includes all sorts of cold veggies, both common and exotic fruits and several hot soups. There are also plenty of crunch toppings for your salad that go far beyond the usual croutons nor crunchy onions. They have a cheddar cheese soup that has become almost as popular as the Argentinian cheese bread (in a ball shape) put at each table.
For those who love fruits of the sea, there are both single and double level seafood trays available at Fogo. These are getting a lot of “play” in the food media lately and some guests just go to Fogo for a seafood tray and the salad bar!
In terms of drinks, I always have the Fogo signature cocktail called the Caipirinha made with sugar cane liquor but the mixologists have plenty of more exotic choices and will customize drinks to your liking. There are plenty of “torched” drinks available as you can see from the photo above. This was actually the first time that I saw a torch used on a drink!
Speaking of torches, the most famous dessert at Fogo is the Dulche De Leche cake which lies in a pool of a delectable sauce made with a very sweet milk base. When it comes to your table, a gaucho torches the fruit on top. This cake is so moist and fresh that you will want to eat it everyday for the rest of your life. I also recommend both the chocolate and blueberry cheesecakes available. They are huge portions and the creaminess level is over the top.
For more info on this crowd pleasing eatery that welcomes whole families and other large groups, go to fogodechao.com. You can book tables and peruse the menu there. There are great holiday deals on the gift cards as well! I will be going back to the Wayne Fogo very soon!