We didn't have the time to try out all of Washington D.C.'s incredible restaurant scene, so we each picked a restaurant when there. I opted for an upscale Mexican place of famed restaurateur Jose Andres (I'll be blogging about that shortly) but D went for Fogo de Chão after a Brazilian co-worker of his highly touted it. For anyone not in the know, Fogo is an upscale Brazilian churrascaria, a place where meat is cooked in Churrasco style, which translates roughly from the Brazilian word for barbecue. While Fogo is a chain establishment with locations all over the United States and even in Brazil, there are none in Pittsburgh. We've tried a churrascaria once before here in Pittsburgh and as it was more than five years ago, my main memories of my dining experience was that I had never felt so full to the point I felt sick. I promised myself that I wouldn't do that again.
But at Fogo before the meat gorging begins, the meal starts with pao de queijo (warm cheese bread) and the opportunity to visit the gourmet salad bar. The pao was delicious-when I first heard about it I thought it might be rich but the bread was almost weightless. The salad bar offerings were extensive and I could have just eaten from there. (You can eat solely from the salad bar; for adults the cost at dinner is $24.50.)
I'll admit when meat after meat is being brought your way it's a bit intimidating. I'm in the minority here but I like my cuts of meat to be more well done than is the culinary norm (I don't care for the whole blood dripping look/taste) so some I liked more than others. My favorites were the chicken, chicken wrapped in bacon (slight overkill) and the lamb (sublime). Other meats included picanha which is a top sirloin, filet mignon, and a pork loin. We dined there on a Friday night and were slightly disappointed as it seemed that some meats were continually brought around while we never got to try two or three others.
(This is the only photo I took of the meat. Since it was so mobbed the waiters were
always rushing around to the different tables which made it difficult to take a photo.)
It's a pricey, it's loud and not at all intimate (at least the DC location), and it can be a logistical mess due to people continually getting up for the salad bar and waiters passing through with their selections. And yet, it's a fun and memorable experience too.