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Fogo de Chão

  • r

I just heard from Rob Balon on the radio that Fogo de Chão will likely be opening here in the Austin area soon. Yum! Unfortunatley, yum comes with a big price.

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  1. There is a sign on the lately deceased Tex-Diner on 290/71 (close to Brodie) that states that a Brazian Churrascaria will soon be opening.

    1. Great news, I've always heard good things about that place.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Willisinaustin

        It's a chain (http://www.fogodechao.com/locations.htm ), with locations in Dallas and Houston, among other places.

        Do their outposts get any love on the Texas board? I'm curious.

        1. re: MPH

          I searched the Texas board for Churrascaria and a number of posts came up. The two I glanced at were positive.

          1. re: MPH

            Have buddies in DC and Houston that rave about their's.

            1. re: Willisinaustin

              Thanks, that's good to know. I miss having those other Texas posters chime in to our discussions (hint, hint—if any of you are reading along).

              Edited to add: You might want to check out this concurrent discussion of Fogo de Chão on the Chains board: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/372469

        2. I think Fogo can be pretty great for that special occassion when you feel like gorging yourself on meat and salad. Yes, they might just have the world's greatest salad bar. An amazing array of fresh vegetables, cheeses, and many other goodies is somehow kept in perfect condition throughout every meal even when there are hordes of hungry Texans doing their best to mess it up.

          An endless supply of three appetizers is also included with the meal: delicious fried bananas, some sort of gooey-fried doughy bread chunks, and mashed potatoes. If you make it half way through any of these appetizers, they will be promptly whisked away and replaced with a fresh version of the same dish.

          Little cards are placed next to each diner's plate. When you are ready for meat, you flip the card over so that the green side is face up. Within a minute you will have a line of waiters offering you cuts of various meats straight from the skewers they were cooked on. They claim to have about 13 different types of meat, so you can take your pick of which ones suit you.

          Now, some of the meats are very tasty, but I wouldn't say any of them were amazing. The reason you go to Fogo is for the whole experience, and you better be prepared to eat. The meal costs about $55 or so for dinner and $28 for lunch. Lunch and dinner are almost the same setup so I would advise saving a couple of bucks by going for lunch.

          I'm curious to find out if they'll recruit any Brazlians for their local wait staff. The locations I've been to in Houston and Beverly Hills both had mostly Brazilian waiters

          1. There's a concurrent discussion going on if any of you are interested.


            1. Personally I don't see how they get away with what they charge, considering that more times than not the "prime" meat offerings don't seem to find their way to your table until you've been served the cheaper stuff (chicken, turkey, sausage, etc).

              We're fortunate to have one of the surviving Rodizio Grills here. They charge $19.95 for the full meatathon, and the tenderloin makes it around as often as the bacon-wrapped turkey (my 2 faves).

              3 Replies
              1. re: GroovinGourmet

                I agree, they definitely employ all the tricks to try and fill you up and keep costs down, but i guess i just view this as a test of wits between you and the restaurant to maximize your value!

                And when you say fortunate to have, are you referring to Austin? Sorry im not sure, as i see you all over the boards :)

                1. re: yen

                  Nope...I'm based in Salt Lake City. Rodizio has been packing them in since they opened. We checked it out after seeing an ad, but they were closed for a private dinner for training the staff prior to the hard opening. When we expressed our disappointment, Ivan, the founder of the chain, invited our party of 4 in for the evening and comped us to boot. We've been loyal supporters ever since. I know the quality and value I get for $20, not willing to risk twice as much to find out it's half as good.

                2. re: GroovinGourmet

                  I do think it is too expensive, but I've never experienced them saving the "prime" meats for later in the meal. They do try to fill you up on the salad bar & appetizers though.

                  Whenever I've gone, I've had waiters come over and ask me if there were any particular meats I wanted so that they would be sure to send those meats to my table ASAP.

                3. Is there a different price for vegetarians? Just curious, as the $55 would be completely outrageous if you weren't eating meat...

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: catarata

                    I was looking at the local restaurant critic's website and he states that Fogo de Chao is a done deal. It will be opeining in late Fall in the former Houlihan's spot on 3rd. I love the meats and salad bar!

                    1. re: catarata

                      The Fogo de Chao in Austin is now open, as of last Thursday. The price is considerably cheaper than in other cities. It is $38.50 for dinner, with cheaper options for lunch, and also for vegetarians or those who choose to eat only from the salad bar. I think the salad bar is $18.00 for dinner--it's quite close to that, in any case.

                        1. re: exlnghrn

                          I've been to the Fogo de Chao in Houston, and highly recommend it. The salad bar is gorgeous, the caipirinhas delicious, and the meat was prepared well and served, well, persistently! I know this seems like a high price for what the locals may look upon as "all-you-can-eat" but you'd pay a lot more per person in other places to sample several of the items that you get here at prix fixe. Its great for a special occasion. The Houston location is always packed, so be prepared to wait.

                        2. re: angusb

                          I had dinner here on a Friday night a couple of weeks ago. We had a great time in the bar. Drinks reasonably priced. The others waiting were fun to talk to, a great friendly crowd. Salad bar had a lot going on food-wise. The meat was marginal at best. Regardless of what you ordered, pork, beef, lamb, sausage, chicken it all tasted the same. It was hard to get anything cooked less than medium well. I think for $40 a head, I'd rather spend maybe $5 less for the meat and get a lot better steak or lamb around the corner at Flemings. Might spend a few bucks more in the long run but a lot better meal.

                          1. re: austx03

                            "it all tasted the same". I agree austx03. I'd been to two of these Churrascarias in the DC metro area several years ago when I lived there and every time I left I felt overly heavy (yeah, my fault) and disappointed in that same feature of their meats. All the same.

                            1. re: slowcoooked

                              We went to Fogo de Chao last week for a special occasion dinner with a party of eight. My overall assessment is that I would go back again, but only if I wanted to take someone who I thought would really enjoy it: a big meat-eater or a lover of all-you-can-eat, or who just thought it sounded like loads of fun. And we would go for lunch, not dinner. And I would take that afternoon off work.

                              The restaurant is nicely appointed and the service is attentive, almost unctuously so. Our server was either under- or over-rehearsed, as he restarted his spiel two or three times, and started from the beginning each time. By the third time he said, "Welcome to Fogo de Chao," I was having a hard time not laughing.

                              The salad bar is nice, but I didn't spend much time there. I have a little thing about buffets; the communal handling of serving utensils sometimes grosses me out. Plus, we were there for the meat, right? I did think that it would have been nice to have had a couple more composed salads and better olives. I am not a fan of pimento-stuffed green ones.

                              The polenta and mashed potato sides were both tasty. I thought the fried bananas were bland. There were cold green beans and asparagus on the salad bar, but a warm green vegetable as a side would have been nice. The rolls are quite tasty and since they are the first thing that arrive at the table, I am sure they do a great job of filling up customer tummies so they eat less of the expensive meat.

                              The meat. I had some really good sliced beef that was tender, but frankly, I can't tell you which cut or cuts were the best. Several times I asked for rare to medium rare beef and the "gaucho" would say, "oh, I'll come back," but didn't. The sausage was good, but only came to my part of the table once (the links are small and I would have been happy to eat a second one). I had a lamb chop that I thought was good, and I have tasted lamb before and really did not like it, so that was a pleasant surprise. The chicken leg was okay, but I wasn't there to eat a drumstick, y'all! I never got a pork rib, which was disappointing because I had heard they were good.

                              The pork loin was dry. The bacon wrapped filet (bite-sizish) was overcooked for my taste and not pleasing in taste or texture. The ancho beef was kind of tough and had no distinctive flavor to me.

                              We ordered a bunch of desserts and most of them were good. The best that I tasted were a chocolate mousse cake, a nice dense cheesecake, and the flan.

                              We were in three cars and, as the days of debit cards would have it, none of us had cash for the valet. So believe it or not, after spending $700 on dinner, the restaurant initially would not put more than ten dollars on a credit card so we could pay the valet. Finally they re-ran the card for enough to pay for the three valet charges. The manager or whoever he was tried to explain that their policy was to keep people from using the restaurant as an ATM, you know, getting $300 cash back when they pay. Please. It was a crummy end to the experience.