Dining at Fogo de Chão is like going to a meat party. The Fogo churrasco experience provides endless cuts of fire-roasted meat brought on large skewers to your table and sliced in front of you. Even a little prong is available for you to help the server pull the meat slice to your plate. The key is to not fill up quickly on any one item because there are over a dozen varieties of meat cooked over live fire.
Chefs called gauchos prepare and serve the seasoned meats as well as lamb, pork, and chicken. The signature steak is the picanha (the prime part of the top sirloin) that is flavored with sea salt or garlic. This was one of our favorites along with the moist Costela (Beef Ribs) braised for 4 hours, Fraldinha (Bottom sirloin), the rib-eye, sausage, bacon-wrapped sirloin, filet mignon, and lamb chops. Also, the servers ask how you would like your meat cooked, so we could enjoy our meat selection medium-rare.
This Brazilian Steakhouse has been wildly successful in America with now over 40 locations in the US. Here in LA, expect a new location opening in Irvine in November followerd by another in El Segundo. The first Fogo de Chão opened in America in 1997 after starting in Brazil in 1979. This modern, refined version of 1979 Gaucho cooking in Brazil started by two sets of brothers is the same experience you would have in São Paulo, Brazil. Four to five new locations open every year in the US.
Fogo de Chão is actually pronounced “fo-go dee shown.” Upon arrival to the Beverly Hills location, Fogo de Chão feels like an upscale restaurant due to the tablecloth seating and choice of clothes people wear, but then it also feels casual since the middle of the restaurant sits the Market Table buffet.
The actor-comedian Dane Cook was seated ahead of us and once seated I quickly schooled my husband on how to prepare for this feeding frenzy we were about to begin by cautioning him to not eat too much tomorrow in order to go big tonight. Along with, “Pace yourself, honey, we must get the picanha.” A group of young men who looked to be celebrating were seated next to us while a couple of high-class hooker Hollywood types with tons of makeup were seated to our right wearing see-through skintight dresses. They look like they need to eat this meal.
Begin your dining experience at the Market Side Table (all part of the churrasco experience) filled with seasonal salads and accouterments, charcuterie with imported cheeses and various salamis, thinly sliced prosciutto from a dry-cured ham leg, exotic vegetables, smoked salmon, and soups. Nearby is the signature Feijoada Bar, where one can enhance the traditional black bean stew with sausage on rice by adding fresh orange, toasted yuca flour with bacon, Fogo hot sauce, and more. You can visit this station and bar as often as you like, which I found is a nice way to break up your meat selections, from watermelon mint salad to Caprese salad to sharp cheeses.
To elevate your meal, ask for the Reserve Wine List to explore Fogo’s premium wines. Stick to South America and order a bottle or a 3 oz or 6 oz pour from VIK Winery to complement the meats. The award-winning Chilean wine has become available at all Fogo locations for the last few months. A bold intense Red Blend to savor with your meal is the VIK “La Piu Belle” 2011 ($134 a bottle/ $34 for a 6 oz glass) that is a mesh of wildflowers, berries, spices, and a touch of oak. It was an exquisite pairing that brought out the unique flavors of the meats. Other VIK Red Blends not to miss are the Milla Cala 2013 or the VIK 2012. Every Wednesday, South American wine bottles under $100 are half price.
The barrage of meat flows all night especially when your card at your seat is turned to green, which means keep the service coming, but you may want to pace yourself to see what meats you prefer and then continue with those cuts. Throughout the meal, unlimited Brazilian side dishes are served too, like warm pao de queijo (cheese bread that tastes like a gougère – impossible to eat just one), crispy polenta, mashed potatoes, and caramelized bananas – all perfect palate cleansers or nice bites to compliment the meat.
Those that wish to spend more money can order the Dry-Aged Churrasco Experience, premium cuts dry-aged for a minimum of 42 days. This churrasco experience for four guests includes Tomahawk Ancho and New York Strip. Those who come to dine at Fogo who may not be meat lovers can also order seafood options like the Seafood Tower, Chilled Lobster and Shrimp, or Mango Chilean Sea Bass.
If you can find an ounce of room, end your evening with a cafe cocktail like Chocolate Coffee with Bailey’s Irish Cream plus dessert. Perhaps a Brazilian-style flan or their Papaya Cream – fresh papaya blended with vanilla ice cream and topped with creme de cassis, to cap off the night.
Don’t miss Dine LA, Friday, July 12 until July 26, Dinner is $49 per person. Mention Restaurant Week when making your reservation to receive special pricing. Brazilian Brunch, lunch and Happy Hour are also offered. The new Gaucho Lunch Menu starts at $15.
You may never go to another steakhouse after a night at this Brazilian Steakhouse. Just don’t eat the day you go!
133 N. La Cienega Blvd.,
Los Angeles, CA 90211 | (310) 289-7755
800 S. Figueroa
Los Angeles, CA 90017 | (213) 228-4300