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Nov 13, 2007 11:06 AM

Fogo De Chow vs. Estancia Churrascaria

I realize FDC is more expensive, and a chain (both negatives in my book), but I'd love to hear from someone who's been to both and can give a comparision - quality vs. cost.

I understand FDC is $38.50, whereas, it's only $25.00 for Entoncia. Is FDC worth the extra moo-la? I'd rather eat locally, but if the meat is dry and tastless or too salty (which I've heard more than a few times) I'd like to make the informed decision.

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  1. The original comment has been removed
    1. I've been to Fogo de Chao (in Houston) and enjoyed it immensely. This is a place you could even (reluctantly) take a vegetarian, as there is a fabulous salad bar and the caipirinhas are excellent. Yes, the price is a bit steep, but you have to look at it as a high-end, all-you-can-eat sort of thing, I suppose. You'd pay a lot more per person at many other places to get the same type of meal, and you can sample any meat you want. Service was excellent. I'd go again any time. I have not visited Estancia, but judging from their web site it is very similar. Perhaps I will check it out next time I am there. Never heard of Entoncia.

    2. I have been to both, Fogo de Chão in Dallas several times and Estancia only once.

      My comparison may not be fair because I went to Estancia when it was only a few weeks old.

      With that said, I love Fogo de Chão and feel a great deal of excitement and anticipation when we are planning to go. I allowed myself to feel the same way when we went to Estancia and was sorely disappointed. Specifically, the meats were not nearly as tasty or tender and the salad bar was much less elaborate and didn’t seem so fresh to me. Also, the service was hurried and amateurish.

      To me (at that time) it would be like comparing a visit to Ruths Chris with a stop at the Sizzler.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Rene

        The cost for Fogo de Chao's dinner is $38.50, but I believe the cost for Estancia is more like $29.00 (or it was the last time I went two months ago--I know that the price has gone up several times, so it might have come down as well). I have been to both, and I believe that Fogo de Chao is a better deal even though it is more expensive. The space is much brighter and airier, and the service is just as quick without seeming harried, as it does at Estancia. I find the meats to be quite good at both places, but particular cuts are superior at FDC. In particular, the filet (with or without bacon) is much more tender at FDC, truly almost like butter. I find the picanha is also better at FDC, with a better seasoning, and with a deliciously charred fat layer. The only meat I found better at Estancia was the garlic beef, because FDC's version was not entirely crisped on the outside, so the meat was covered with soft wet minced garlic. I imagine that they will be able to correct this, though...they HAVE only been open for five days so far. As far as the salad bar is concerned, FDC has Estancia beat hands down, both in quality of ingredients and in selection--the salad bar is EXACTLY the same as I have seen at other FDC locations, with delicious sliced cheese, smoked salmon, artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, beets, tender asparagus spears, and those amazing small sweet-hot red peppers that I don't know the name of (they are delicious!) They also have very nice greens and mixed salads similar to Waldorf salad and chicken salad. As for the sides, I was quite happy with the bananas at both FDC and Estancia, but the potatoes were much better at FDC (the ones at Estancia were starchy and gluey, as if they had been put through a food processor). The one big disappointment I had at FDC was that they do not have fried yucca. Instead, they offer fried polenta, which they slice and treat the same way as the yucca (cut into small planks and lightly fried, and then topped with a bit of crumbled white cheese). I asked if they would offer yucca after they are more established, and the waiter told me they did not have plans to offer it in the future because they don't have access to a steady supply, although they do serve it in Houston. They will continue to offer the polenta. It is not a major thing--I usually only eat one or maybe two pieces of the yucca--but it is a special treat that I missed.

        For what it's worth, I went there tonight for my companion's birthday, and he said that he thought the meat at this FDC location was even better than the meat at the other FDC locations he has been to. Not bad for their first week.

        1. re: angusb

          Wow. Great comparison. You've made up my mind. We're off to FDC

      2. Just visited Fogo for lunch on Monday. There were more people there than I thought there would be. I guess off the reputation of Dallas and Houston. As usual, the service was outstanding. I noticed a tiny speck of food that had landed in my water, probably from one of the carvers. The waiter picked up my cup to fill it up, looked inside, filled it up with water and a minute later replaced the entire cup. I didn't even notice that my cup was replaced until I started looking for the speck of food. The waiters must go through months of training! In contrast, the service at Estancia was not as good. The waiters seemed hurried and even when your card is flipped red, they will stop at your table. They also have a new cut at Fogo. I haven't been in a while, so it might not be new, new. Rib eye. I liked it. I'm not a big beef eater at all. However, I love Fogo and it was always a treat when going up to Dallas. I'm glad they have one in Austin, now. I'm not sure if I'm just biased towards Fogo or what, but I don't believe you can compare Estancia to Fogo. The meat just didn't taste as good or as well flavored. Spend the extra $13 and go to Fogo, or better yet, go at lunch, same food, and it's $24.50.

        1 Reply
        1. re: chowin

          I agree...Fogo is better all around. I love the one in Houston. Go to FDC for lunch and take advantage of the lower price.
          The salad bar is pretty nice and the service is very attentive. You will enjoy the experience.

        2. The original comment has been removed
          1. Does FDC have a price for just the salad bar?

            1 Reply
            1. re: Royale

              The salad bar is $18.50, I think, maybe $19.00. It is the same price for lunch and dinner.