Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Fogo de Chao

There's been a lot of eating out the past couple of days. It all started on Thursday with dinner for four at Fogo de Chão (fo-go dèe shoun) on Pratt Street at Lockwood Place. It's a "concept" restaurant from Brazil. Gauchos come around to your table and slice hunks of meat off a skewer. All of the meats have an "outside" if you want it, as they are cooked over a charcoal grill. The selections include beef selections, leg o'lamb and tiny lambchops, pork and chicken, tenderloin, ribs, sirloin, filet mignon, etc. It's a fixed price of$42/person, plus drinks and desserts.
Before you get your meat, there's an amazing salad bar with lettuces, mayonaise salads, cheeses and cured meats. Each person gets a disk, red on one side and green on the other. When you want more meat, you flip it to the green side and a parade of gauchos bearing meat on skewers arrive at your table. When you're done, flip to red. Repeat as often as you're able.

We managed to have dessert, amazingly. The guys had strawberry mousse and papaya mousse topped with casis. I had to try the creme brulee and V had mashed potatoes. She doesn't like sweets, so this was perfect and the waitress brought it!

We all drank Caipirinhas, which are WICKED! They're made from cachaça, sugar and lime. Cachaça is a sugar cane based liquor like rum. Rum is made from molasses, but cachaça is made from sugan cane juice. Apparently cachaça has a very high alcohol content and was illegal to sell in Maryland for a long time. It's still hard to find.

Everything was wonderful until we had to get the car from the valet (too hard to park around that area). We took the ticket to the valet and they said about 10 minutes. So we waited, and waited and waited.... you get the picture. It took more than a half an hour to get our car. They seemed to be giving preferential treatment to nicer cars (we had a 2007 Toyota, luckily not my vintage Volvo wagon). Even the manager couldn't get them to get our car. It was unfortunate that was the way the evening ended.

Follow-up: I got a phone call and e-mail from the Operations Manager from Fogo's national office just checking to see if everything other than the valet parking was okay and giving me the name of the local manager for the next time I make a reservation. It's good to have personal follow-up and to know that the company is listening. The Ops Manager assured me that changes have been made to their valet system.


John said...

Fogo de Chão sounds fascinating. I have to try this, but I will not do valet parking. I will only go if I can park in walking distance. I hope you didn't tip them (or better, gave them a REALLY bad tip, to show you didn't forget but you were deliberately tipping poorly).

Fairfax said...

NO TIP! We paid the $8 for parking, but didn't leave a tip, since it took 35 minutes to get the car. Lots of people who came out after us got their cars before us.

Rachel said...

I love cachaça !

Julie said...

So that's the reason I've seen all those guys dressed as gauchos walking around downtown!