In the hill country of southern Brazil, there is a method of cooking called churrasco, the Gaucho way of roasting meats. In the Gaucho culture, the men cook these meats over open fires for barbecues. Almost every family gathering and festive occasion will include churrasco. Two brothers grew up in this country with this tradition and in 1979, the first Fogo de Chao opened it’s doors in Porto Allegre, Brazil. Eight years later, two more locations had opened in Brazil’s largest city, Sao Paulo. It was not until 1997 that the United States got to taste this delicious way of cooking with the first location opening in Dallas, Texas.
Each chef at Fogo must train for at least two years learning how to properly roast the meats over the open flame, and create the marinades and dry rubs. Each chef goes through a lot of training to learn each unique cut of meat, and the proper temperature for it to be cooked at. There are several cuts of meat to fit the taste of almost any carnivore here. Many of the meats are listed with their Brazilian name. Choose from Picahna or Alcatra (top sirloin,) Filet Mignon (bacon or non-bacon wrapped,) Beef Ancho (rib-eye,) Fraldinha (bottom sirloin,) or Costela (beef ribs) for the red meat. There’s also Cordeiro (lamb,) Frango (chicken,) Costela de Porco (pork ribs,) Lombo (pork loin,) and Linguica (sausage.) With all these choices, you might find it hard to decide. The good news is that you don’t have to pick just one. All meat is served tableside on large skewers.
The dining experience at Fogo is one of a kind. At the beginning of your meal, you are given a two sided disk. One side is green. When the waitstaff sees this, they will head over to your table and slice whatever kind of meat you’d like to try right off the skewer. It’s hot and fresh, right from the fire to your plate. Seeing all the meat traveling the dining room is a treat for the eyes as it is such a unique sight. When you’re busy eating or just taking a break, flip the disk over to the red side to give yourself time. At Fogo, one price is paid for your experience, and then you can eat as much as you want so don’t be shy to flip the disk as much as you’d like.
With all the delicious meat, don’t forget about the salad bar. By no means boring, this is one treat you don’t want to miss. The salad bar is comprised of the freshest veggies, meats, and cheeses so you can create your own anyway you like it. Be prepared for items like fresh mozzarella balls, Brazilian hearts of palm, and smoked salmon. Keeping with the Brazilian tradition for side items with your meat, you receive unending pão de queijo (warm cheese bread,) crispy hot polenta, garlic mashed potatoes, and caramelized bananas. If none of those strike your fancy, rice and black beans, and farofa are served upon request. Don’t forget to save room for one of the desserts offered at Fogo. From their signature Papaya Cream to South American Flan, Turtle Cheesecake and more, you’ll be glad you did.
Of course, what is a great meal without a great drink to accompany it? Fogo is a proud recipient of the prestigious Wine Spectator Magazine Award of Excellence for eight consecutive years. While wines from the finest growing regions all over the world are showcased, the South American wines tend to be the most popular. From hearty reds, to light whites, to dessert wines and French Champagne, Fogo has wine to pair with any mood. If a cocktail is more your style, many traditional Brazilian drinks are mixed here. The Brazilian caipirinha and tropical caipirinha are favorites. Brazilian and domestic beers are available, and if you’d like a non alcoholic option, Guaraná Brazilian soda or Brazilian lemonade are great choices.
If you are dining with a group, or having a private event, Fogo can accommodate you in a private or semi-private dining room. All you need to do is plan ahead and mention it when you are making reservations which can be made right from the website. Gift cards are also available for purchase on the website. Dress up, and get ready to experience the taste of Brazil in America. Experience Fogo de Chao Scottsdale for food and sophisticated fun.