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Fogo de Chao Coming to Gaslamp/Downtown

Was walking past the vacant building that used to be the downtown Barnes & Noble bookstore on G Street and decided to read some of the postings to see if I could get an idea of what might take its place....sure enough, I came across a posting for a Fogo de Chao Brazilian restaurant....hope so, though it's not exactly the type of restaurant (all you can eat) I envision going to on a weekly or even monthly basis.

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  1. I've been to a few of them over the years, I find their meats to be very salty. IMO, the best part is the salad bar, with lots of interesting options beyond greenery!.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cstr

      agree about the saltiness....quality is pretty good though, as is the case at Rodizio Grill. When I am in the fix for Brazilian food, however, I will be far more likely to visit Brazil by the Bay--different style of Brazilian cuisine....this place might take a bunch of business away from Rei do Gado (not that crazy about the food there), though there was another churrascaria that opened up on the top level of Horton Plaza a few years back that did not last that long.

    2. Wait, isn't Fogo de Chao already in the Gaslamp? I recall eating at a Brazilian steakhouse on 4th several years ago.

      4 Replies
      1. re: jmtreg

        No...you are thinking of Rei do Gado.

          1. re: jmtreg

            Assuming it is the same as Beverly Hills, the difference would be like comparing Cowboy Star to Donovan's

            1. re: jmtreg

              Yes....I do like Fogo de Chao and I'm not crazy about Rei do Gado. They serve the same type of food: I prefer the flavor of Fogo de Chao. Fogo de Chao is also a chain whereas Rei fo Gado is not--this runs counter to what I normally prefer other than the fact I don't find Rei do Gado to be that great.....and I've eaten at many churrascaria's in the States and in Brasil.

        1. We've had several Brazilian steakhouses around throughout the years -- what was the one in Del Mar? Wasn't that a Fogo de Chao?

          1. Fogo de Chao, at least the ones I've been to, are pretty good and yes, better than Rei do Gado, but about 20% more expensive as I recall.

            I am pretty sure this is Fogo's first venture into SD County.

            1. We are having a squad dinner here as I write this...

              Phenomenol!!!!! More later

              1 Reply
              1. re: Dagney

                so it's open?...great--keep us posted and let us know your opinion. Enjoy.

              2. Okay, here it is...

                9 of us dined at Fogo De Chao tonight.

                The room is beautiful. The decor consists of a lot of stone and glass tiles, earth tones with a few jewel tones here and there. The effect is understated and elegant; and didn't look like a grad student from design school attacked the place with a heap of swatches. No reclaimed wood. No mismatched crap. No cutesy cutesy hipster baloney, just a smart looking room.

                The service was EXTREMELY attentive. The hostess who greeted us was professional and friendly, no "hey guys," nonsense. The server was equally as courteous and professional, he explained their system of dining in a clear, concise manner. Again, I want to stress the level of professionalism here. Our server was a well-dressed, sharp-looking young man who greeted us using appropriate, polite, verbage. I probably sound like a mean old librarian but darn it, I love good manners.

                And the food...

                The salad bar was like... salad bar nirvana. It included prosciutto, salami, a massive block of parmesan that you shave yourself, asparagus, broccoli, beautiful looking arugula, spinach, red and yellow cherry tomatoes, hearts of palm, marinated mushrooms, mango salsa, mango/shrimp salad...phew! These are just the items I remember. And the quality! Swoon! Everything was fresh and inviting and delicious. The greens were positively vibrant.

                And the meat... I don't even know where to begin. I tried the filet wrapped in bacon, the filet without bacon, the lamb t-bone, and their house specialty, the Picanha. Every cut was tender tender tender and JUICY, and just.....so delicious. The meats tasted like they were prepared with a minimum of ingredients, fire, salt, pepper, and the product spoke for itself.

                Of course, the tables were set with steak knives, but I swear I could have used my fork to cut my filet. My favorite meat was the lamb t-bone. The flavor was so wonderfully distinct and bright that I nearly grabbed the almost naked t-bone and ripped off the remaining flesh with my teeth. I didn't do that but I thought about it.

                We all shared a chocolate cake, a cheesecake, and a flan for dessert. I only sampled one bite of the chocolate cake, which was sufficient enough for me to know I need to eat the whole thing on my own. one day.

                Bonus: Despite being a meat-centric restaurant, I think a vegetarian could have an excellent meal there. The salad bar was so plentiful and fresh, a non-meat eater would not go hungry. It's also an excellent choice for people with dietary restrictions. I am cutting weight for a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournament right now, so I am sticking to a strict Paleo diet. I was able to eat a very satisfying meal without any heartache or crazy instructions for the chef. I heaped my plate full of asparagus, broccoli, arugula, tomatoes, and mango salsa, and then enjoyed a few proteins.

                All in all, I was impressed. They had an army-sized staff who were clearly well-trained, professional servers. I opened three restaurants when I waited tables in my salad days, and I remember the first few weeks being absolute hell. Fogo De Chao seems to worked past the shaky legs using a technique called "training." One gets the impression the management knows what they are doing, and they are doing it well. I'll be going back.

                Dag

                Dag

                19 Replies
                1. re: Dagney

                  Hey Dags!
                  My DH would love this place. . salad bar looks fantastic too.
                  Since I don't eat meat, do you know if there is a salad bar only price..couldn't find it on the website.
                  Hope you had a great birthday!
                  Aloha

                  1. re: Beach Chick

                    I've been to a few across the country, most do offer a salad bar only option. Of course, you could fall in to sin and splurge on all that MEAT! I like the salad bar much more than the meat offerings.

                    1. re: Beach Chick

                      Salad bar only price on the front page. http://www.fogodechao.com/index.php?i...

                      ///////////////////////////////////////////////

                      Lunch
                      $29.50 | (Salad Bar Only - $22.50
                      )Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30

                      Dinner
                      $46.50 | (Salad Bar Only - $28.50)
                      Mon-Thur 5:00-10:00
                      Fri 5:00-10:30
                      Sat 4:30-10:30
                      Sun 3:30-9:00

                      1. re: Cathy

                        $22.50 at lunch - that's about what you would pay for a DIY salad for a few people (greens, accoutrements, micro-arugubasilantro, etc.) at a local farmers market on a Saturday. That seems pretty reasonable.

                        By chance, did the salad bar have Joan's Broccoli Madness on it? ;)

                        1. re: Stiflers_Mom

                          L O L......

                          uh, no Broccoli Madmess. But there was lovely fresh broccoli! Seriously, the salad bar was off the hook.

                          1. re: Stiflers_Mom

                            Seriously SMom, the salad bar rivals most great Italian deli's, it's loaded with prochuitto and other Italian cold cuts. Just don't be like those blue hair granny's who rifle the goods into their pocket books that are the size of a Buick!

                            1. re: cstr

                              I only ever take the bran muffins home with me.

                              1. re: Stiflers_Mom

                                Oh sure SMom, it starts out with lonely bran muffin then quickly graduates to a tray of peel and eat shrimp and plates of crab legs. By the time you're ready to receive Medicare, you're a pro at packing a whole steamship round (Wow, there's an old school term, DD will have to explain what that is) and whole hams in to that senior duffle bag of yours.

                                1. re: cstr

                                  A number of years ago, I had a side rack and some panniers installed on my walker specifically for buffet raiding. I also kept an electric cooler (that plugged into my car lighter) on the front seat of my Buick so I could hit multiple buffets in a day and not draw too much attention to myself.

                                  After the lifetime bans from Golden Corral and Hometown Buffet (and some very unnecessary therapy my ungrateful children forced on me), I changed all that. It's why I limit myself to nicking a bran muffin or two when i go AYCE - they're kind of my buffet e-cigarette - if that makes sense. Don't get me wrong - I felt that old familiar twitch when someone mentioned a salad bar loaded with cold cuts, blocks of parmesan, and other delicious, easy-to-conceal salad bar delights, but for now, I'll stick to the muffins.

                                    1. re: Stiflers_Mom

                                      Also years ago, my now ex-brother-in-law invited me and my husband at that time to join him and his buddy for dinner at an all-you-can eat BBQ ribs and chicken buffet at the Holiday Inn.

                                      Bro and his buddy wore their army fatigue jackets with all the pockets, which naive little me found passing strange since it was the middle of summer.

                                      Bro and buddy ate their share of ribs and chicken, tossing their bones in a tall pile in the middle of our table.

                                      Then, they started filling up their jacket pockets. As we left, I looked around the room to see terrified busboys huddled together and whispering to each other.

                                      We were on the twelfth floor and bro punched the elevator button for the eighth floor. When the doors opened he got out and instructed us to stay inside and hold the door. He then proceeded to pull the fire alarm.

                                      By the time we got to the lobby, fire trucks were parked out front and the responders were heading upstairs.

                        2. re: Dagney

                          Nice review. I will have to check it out as I am a born and bred carnivore but love me some salad too.

                          1. re: Dagney

                            Dag--most importantly, did they hire and have any cute looking garotas working there??

                            1. re: El Chevere

                              Let's not leave the chicas out this equation...dag, how was the garoto's working there?

                              ; )

                              1. re: Beach Chick

                                Well, they are Brazilian, so of course everyone is good looking!

                                1. re: Dagney

                                  We poked in last week while downtown. Nice looking, but also very professional-looking, servers. A win-win combination.

                                  1. re: Dagney

                                    I believe they call the meat slingers Gaucho's.

                                      1. re: Fake Name

                                        Didn't the mods delete the last Steely Dan departure? Behave, Fakey, and quit behaving like you are nineteen and/or some Babylon sister.