mY rEVIEW OF fOGO dE cHAO IN aTLANTA
It's time for another installment of "The Best Thing I Ever Ate." I don't think I have a category for this one, although "Overall Restaurant" might be a good one. Fogo de Chao is the gold standard of a dining experience for me. The atmosphere, service, variety, flavors, etc. are all excellent and it is truly unique. It's the type of restaurant where you can be dressed up for a fancy occasion and it's perfectly appropriate, or you can be in a polo shirt and khaki shorts and no one will look at you weird. Unlike some fancy/high class restaurants that care more about making everything pretty on a plate or using bizarre ingredients, Fogo focuses on the food and providing the best flavors possible.
For people who have always thought Fogo de Chao is all about the meat...you're right. But it's also all about amazing vegetables. Prior to your feast of grilled meats, there is a salad bar that I'm pretty sure features vegetables from the Garden of Eden. The salad bar has over 30 items including: fresh mozzarella, artichoke bottoms, roasted peppers, sun dried tomatoes, aged parmesan, jumbo asparagus, smoked salmon, and prosciutto. I'm partial to fresh vegetables, but I don't know if I have ever enjoyed a salad bar as much as this one.
I'm the one at the salad bar piling so many things on my plate that it becomes a balancing act to see if I can carry it all back to the table. I don't know why I do this since you can return for as many trips as you like, but I never learn.
I could talk about the fresh crunch of the peppers, the juiciness of the sliced tomatoes, or the rich flavor of the fresh mozzarella but you really have to experience it for yourself. Last time Nicole and I went to Fogo de Chao for dinner, we skipped the meat portion of the meal and only had the salad bar and ate non-stop for 2 hours. I think the wait staff was in awe.
If the salad bar and meat courses aren't enough, you also receive side dishes that are served to your table. Polenta, garlic mashed potatoes, caramelized bananas, & cheese rolls (pao de queijo) are all served as you enjoy your meal. I think the polenta, mashed potatoes, & bananas are all pretty pedestrian and not worth the space in your stomach, but the cheese rolls...OH MY WORD! These warm little pillows of goodness are magical. They appear to be a pop-over (we found a recipe and will be attempting to make them) that have a perfect texture on the outside and an airy, soft inside. When these are hot, they are unbeatable. Seriously...speechless.
The entire experience at Fogo de Chao can be overwhelming. There are so many different foods to enjoy and only so much room in your stomach. It's not cheap (Dinner: $50 for meat/salad bar, $25 for salad bar), but I think it's completely worth it. You have to pace yourself and remember the most important thing is to enjoy your meal and not leave feeling completely miserable. And if you think about it, $50 for as many gourmet meats and vegetables you want isn't THAT bad. It's not something I'd pay on a regular basis, but it's great for a special occasion or want to do something different.
So for the best thing I ever ate, Fogo de Chao takes a number of different spots: Best Salad Bar, Best Bread (or whatever the cheese rolls should be considered), Best Meat, Best Restaurant. Simply put...it's just the best.
Fogo de Chao Churrascaria
3101 Piedmont Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30305
| || || |