Fogo De Chao
|Address||8282 International Drive|
No brunch offered
|Noise Level||Loud Noise Level|
Fogo de Chao means fire of the ground, and although you’ll want to pronounce the last word in the name chow, it’s actually pronounced shoun. Chow fits better because, like all other churrascarias, it’s all about the food and lots -- LOTS -- of it.
The experience begins with the salad bar, a designation that really doesn’t do justice to the array of foods splayed out. The salad bar sits in the center of the main dining room beneath massive rings of light fixtures that looks as thought they’re fashioned out of alabaster (they’re not). Physically, the bar is gorgeous: granite counter with a thick glass top that serves as the inelegantly named sneeze guard. Atop it are two colorful sprays of decorative flowers. Glass platters sit atop crushed ice and hold such things as artichoke bottoms, salami, prosciutto, sun-dried tomatoes, hearts of palm, thick stalks of asparagus, smoked salmon, aged Manchego and Parmesan cheeses, breads, and, since it is a salad bar after all, numerous greens and accoutrements.
Novices make the mistake of filling up on the salad bar goodies, and it is an easy thing to do when everything is so attractive, not to mention tasty. (The smoked salmon and the prosciutto were my favorites.) But you’ll want to save considerable room for the meats that will be coming your way.
They include top sirloin, bottom sirloin, ribeye, beef ribs, lamb chops and leg of lamb, chicken, sausage and pork tenderloin. (Interestingly, the only seafood offered is the salmon on the salad bar.) These are delivered to your table by the gauchos, the men (I’ve never seen women in the position) who move swiftly through the dining rooms dressed in the manner of South American cowboys. The meats are still on the skewers they were cooked on, and the gauchos slice the meats or slide whole cuts off the skewers and onto the guests’ plates. (There’s a set of tongs for you to grab the slice as it’s cut.)
The meats come at you with alarming speed. If you feel overwhelmed, simply turn the green disk that sits at your table setting over so that the red side is facing up. That signals the gauchos to pass your table. Want more? Turn the green side back up and they’ll start swarming around your table again like buzzards on carrion.
8282 International Drive