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Fogo de Chão, 11th Street & Pennsylvania Ave Downtown, and Opening in Tysons Corner


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To quote The List. Are you on it?, a churrascaria or rodizio is coming to DC proper.

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Fogo de Chão -- is coming to Penn Quarter. For more than three centuries, churrasco has been a culinary tradition in Southern Brazil. Gauchos (Spanish for cowboys) used to pierce large pieces of meat and slowly roast them over open-flamed pits, while telling stories of their travels. Fogo de Chão bills itself as a genuine steakhouse from Rio Grande de Sul in Southern Brazil, where gaucho chefs will slowly fire-roast fifteen different cuts of meat, and carve them tableside at the guests' request. (1101 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW; 202.347-4668)

Note: don't invite Waitman for it is a chain. :lol:

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To quote The List. Are you on it?, a churrascaria or rodizio is coming to DC proper.

Note: don't invite Waitman for it is a chain. :lol:

I think I remember this discussion somewhere else. I've eaten at a couple of their locations, when on travel for business.

Not great, but not terrible. I think Green Field in Rockville ranges from somewhat better to much better, depending on whether it's one of their bad days (which are more common in the last couple of years, unfortunately).

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I frequented the one in Chicago when I lived there. I'm still not quite convinced that the Fogo de Chao format is not some contrived American restaurant idea under the auspices of being Brazilian. But the meat was good and their salad bar (at least in Chicago) is worth going for by itself. It's one of those "experience" places more than an actual food place if you ask me, though. Who knows, maybe someone can enlighten me on how a real churrascaria works.

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To quote The List. Are you on it?, a churrascaria or rodizio is coming to DC proper.

Note: don't invite Waitman for it is a chain. :lol:

To clear up some Portuguese/Brazilian nuances:

Churrasco means barbecue. A place that serves it is a churrasqueira.

Rodizio is the style of serving the meat on spits. and these places are uniformly all-you-can-eat. It is possible to have barbecue that is not served on spits.

I have been to some churrasqueiras in the US that I enjoyed. But the cuts of meat are different. And there is even a more striking difference between American and Brazilian salad bars. In Brazil, the soups are richer, the variety of hors d'oeuvres is seemingly infinite. And they're the only displays in which I've seen pickled turnips. The breads are great and various. The idea is to make you fill up on interesting appetizers. Sometimes it's hard to resist.

Fogo de Chão means ground fire, or perhaps pit fire. I'm looking forward to trying the new DC place.

A deep red wine goes well. I also like a dark, thick beer from the Amazon called Xingú.

The best rodizio I have been to is A Jardineira in São Paulo.

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My favorite is Porcao in Rio.  I still dream of the meal I had there almost ten years ago, and how scared I was because I forgot to ask how much it was and I was on a student's budget.  It wasn't that bad actually.

The price at A Jardineira (The Garden) is less than $40, about 50 reáis. The best place I've been to in the US is in South Beach, I forget the name, but the tab is a lot higher.

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The price at A Jardineira (The Garden) is less than $40, about 50 reáis.  The best place I've been to in the US is in South Beach, I forget the name, but the tab is a lot higher.

My best friend's wife, who is from Brazil, lived in Miami for years, so I'm sure that she's been to all of the places in South Beach.

She thought Green Field in Rockville was better and more authentic than any of the places in Miami. When they were living in Chantilly, they'd come across the border at least once a month to see us - strike that - to go to Green Field, and they'd invite us to meet them there...

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I ate at a few very rustic churrascarias and they work like this: you go and load up on salad bar and sides (salsa, diced tomatoes, beans, rice, lettuce...you add the rest.) You sit your bottom at the table. Strapping lad brandishing a big stick on which roasted meat is impaled eventually comes to the table.

"Lamb?" he says.

"Yes," you say. Would you say no to a man with a big stick?

He gives you some, shaving it off his big stick, and goes away.

A few minutes later his fraternal twin comes to the table with a similar but slightly different stick.

"Beef?" he looks down on you. "Chicken?" "Pork?"

And on it goes.

It's a fun experience for what it's worth. Of course, these were places in rural continental Caribbean close to Venezuelan and Brazilian borders, so I'm sure they do it differently in Rio or Caracas.

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I ate at a few very rustic churrascarias and they work like this: you go and load up on salad bar and sides (salsa, diced tomatoes, beans, rice, lettuce...you add the rest.) You sit your bottom at the table. Strapping lad brandishing a big stick on which roasted meat is impaled eventually comes to the table.

"Lamb?" he says.

"Yes," you say. Would you say no to a man with a big stick?

He gives you some, shaving it off his big stick, and goes away.

A few minutes later his fraternal twin comes to the table with a similar but slightly different stick.

"Beef?" he looks down on you. "Chicken?" "Pork?"

And on it goes.

It's a fun experience for what it's worth. Of course, these were places in rural continental Caribbean close to Venezuelan and Brazilian borders, so I'm sure they do it differently in Rio or Caracas.

Didn't there used to be a place called "Coco Loco" that had a similar way of serving food?
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Sorta kinda - it had some Brazilian, but if I recall it was more tapas, with some mixed grill.  Located where RFD is now.

<sigh> I really liked Coco Loco. I believe there were two seating sections with different menus; one was tapas and the other churrascaria. Wasn't it also a Yannick Cam production? I remember being only mildly surprised when I walked into the ladies' room to discover two women making out and smoking a joint. :lol:

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The one I went to in Atlanta had these two sided coasters. One side green for "more meat" and the other red for "not right now". After several drinks it was fun to turn them over on unsuspecting table mates and have the servers immediately start to head to their places.

We played that same game with the coasters there (Atlanta)! It was hilarious after a few drinks and when people were completely full. I think I vowed to the co-workers I was with that from that day on I would wear the coaster as a medallion and stop speaking, answering all questions by turning it to green or red. "Chris, we've got a meeting at 2 o'clock" (RED) "Ready for lunch?" (GREEN) Etc...

Chain or not, the meat at that Fogo de Chao was really good.

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If today's Weekly Dish is correct, dinner here is $45, not including drinks, tax, tip.

Holy cow - this is $20 more than Green Field in Rockville. Once you add in driving downtown and parking, I can't see myself making this trip. Unless someone who has been to GF visits FDC, and says it's that much better...

FWIW, I've been to GF, but not FDC. One person I know who's been to FDC gave me a very good description and made it sound much better than GF.

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FWIW, I've been to GF, but not FDC.  One person I know who's been to FDC gave me a very good description and made it sound much better than GF.

GF is Rockville si quite the guilty pleasure of mine. It is very good most of the time. It is in a bit of a funk right now but the last visit showed signs of improvement. Still I have a ahrd time when it comes to paying the bill (it seems thay always miscount the Caprihinia's I drink or the glasses have a hole in them or something!0 even at GF. With the base being $45 an evening of carnivore pleasures becomes very expensive indeed!

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I guess at $25, I can forgive the occasional misstep, and they are pretty reliably good. For the volume of food that I get, it's a very good value, and it's 10 minutes from my house.

At $45, I can go to Ray's for an appetizer and steak with sides, and maybe even dessert. I'm skeptical that I'd prefer Fogo over Ray's, if I'm driving the 30 minutes...

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I guess at $25, I can forgive the occasional misstep, and they are pretty reliably good. For the volume of food that I get, it's a very good value, and it's 10 minutes from my house.

At $45, I can go to Ray's for an appetizer and steak with sides, and maybe even dessert. I'm skeptical that I'd prefer Fogo over Ray's, if I'm driving the 30 minutes...

And, don't forget, Restaurant Week is coming up. This makes "taking one for the team" to be a bit "off-schedule" :)
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I guess at $25, I can forgive the occasional misstep, and they are pretty reliably good. For the volume of food that I get, it's a very good value, and it's 10 minutes from my house.

At $45, I can go to Ray's for an appetizer and steak with sides, and maybe even dessert. I'm skeptical that I'd prefer Fogo over Ray's, if I'm driving the 30 minutes...

I went to GF many years ago with several friends one evening and was not impressed. Though the meat was plentiful, much of it did not seem high quality. And the "bar" had food that was generally less-than-appetizing. This place seemed quantity over quality in every respect.

I'd certainly spend $20 more to eat FDC. First, because the quality seems higher from what we are hearing. Second, how often is one going to eat a blow-out meal like this? Once, maybe twice a year?

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Not to dissect the concept, but when I when to the restaurant in Atlanta, I was on someone else's tab. Basically, this is a all you can gorge buffet, with fairly good food. Very American in concept, we like large portions and this place certainly delivers. To compare to Ray's would be hard, however, to take a large group to Ray's is nearly impossible, while a large group fits well here. Ray’s definitely pays more attention to each individual portion, and does not pay homage to a concept.

The food and concept are passable. I remember a lot of drinks and a lot of unhurried conversations. The night was a great one for me, but now (several years later) none of the dishes really stand out.

Will I return, yes, with a group in tow, looking for a fun night.

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Fogo de Chao is another restaurant that employs the type of silverware that tends to go flying. Seriously heavy stuff.

I'll post about the food and general experience once I finish digesting all that I ate last night. It could be awhile. :)

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My fiance and I went there on New Year's Day and, 1) I was surprised it was open, and 2) it was pretty empty. I've been to the one in Chicago and I loved the one Chicago. I was really happy to have one open here, but I have to say either the food is worse here in DC, or my palette has changed.

I found the meat at this one to be way overcooked to the point where it was chewy and rubbery and the bottom sirloin was even "crunchy" (not because it was seared or crusted). But I will say the service was great and attentive as was the one in Chicago. Dinner for 4 with drinks, dessert and tip ended up coming to a hair over $300.

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I approached my meal last night with equal parts, excitement (unlimited MEAT!!) and anxiety. While living in Manhattan, I'd had quite a few meals at Riodizio (now defunct) and Churrascaria Plataform and all were not just tasty, but fun. Both of those spots had a certain festive vibe that never failed to put me in a better mood.

Alas, Fogo de Chao was more in the vein of "suck the life - and the dollars - out of me." The space is as large, and as soulless, as the portions. I waited for my friend in the quiet, smoky bar. I heard conversation coming from a gang of six or seven at the bar, but no music, mood or otherwise. My expectation was that Fogo would use music to inspire a sense of place; namely the south of Brazil the slick table cards kept talking about. Nope, no music.

As for the smoke, given the number of people smoking both cigars and cigarettes, perhaps this is meant to be a cigar bar? I don't know really. If it is, fine, but given that they don’t seem to have good air filtration this bar is not for me. I felt smelly and congested five minutes in (and yes, I considered myself un-smelly when I walked in :) ).

It's also not for me in that the place felt generic from the aforementioned table cards spelling out the concept (lots of "TM" symbols scattered throughout). ). I almost felt like I was in an upscale TGIFriday’s. The nice-enough bar server brought me some sort of cheese rolls as well as the caipirinha I ordered. I ate one roll and had that “they are bad, but bad-good” feeling that made me want to move the basket to some faraway. Instead, I quickly put away four of the doughy little knots when my friend arrived. I also wanted to put my too-sweet caipirinha on some table that was not mine; it lacked that sweet-tart balance that usually makes me drink them like water.

Anyway…friend and I were taken to our table in the enormous dining room which was probably 1/3 full at 7:15 on a Thursday night. Probably not a good sign. The dining room struck me as reminiscent of one you’d find on a cruise ship. Large, lots of dark wood, hundreds if not thousands of bottles lining the walls.

One of the servers came by to introduce us to the concept. Soon “gauchos” wearing belts no self-respecting pro wrestler would be caught dead in began arriving, announcing the type of meat they possessed on their skewers.

The food came at us rapidly. To say the procession was fast and furious would be to understate things (and remember, I experienced this sort of thing and liked it so if I found it overwhelming, that’s not a great sign). We quickly realized that we’d need to put a halt to this if we were going to have a moment to peruse the ginormous salad bar in the center of the room.

The salad bar, in our opinion, could be skipped completely. If I want prosciutto, I’ll go to Dino or some other spot known for fresh, thin, perfect slices; Fogo’s thick rolls of ham can’t help but dry out when sitting there on the buffet. The same could be said for medium-sized balls of fresh mozzarella sprinkled with herbs. They were just ok, and I’d rather hold out for better.

The meat parade resumed. I liked the picanha, a fatty cut with just the right number of salt flecks on its grilled exterior that was one of several the gauchos called “our signature” and the pork sausage (yum). Chicken wrapped in bacon was overcooked and so dry. The lamb was OK. I liked parmesan-crusted pork loin well-enough. Filet, both with bacon and without, was mostly good although there was great variability with respect to doneness. Pork ribs were overseasoned. Actually most of the food struck me as heavy on the salt.

Sides that came with our meal included decent-but-nothing-special polenta squares, mashed potatoes with a little sprinkling of chives and cheddar cheese, and sautéed bananas (I was hoping for plantains). Again, nothing was great or terrible.

It quickly sank in that this was not going to become my go-to spot for a fun night out with visiting relatives. Bummer.

Gluttons for punishment that we are, we ordered dessert. Not that it was bad. Just that I can’t imagine that many people manage to find room. I enjoyed my tres leches, but don’t feel that I have experienced enough iterations of this dessert to comment on its authenticity or “goodness.” I just thought it was tasty. My friend’s flourless chocolate cake tasted good too, but again, I was hoping for more interesting desserts.

A trip to the restrooms up a rather grand staircase reveals that there’s a whole ‘nother dining room up there. It was roped off and not being used given that the downstairs wasn’t crowded and that’s a shame. The space is much more intimate and attractive. Sporting its own bar, it looks like a nice place for a private event (if the food were worth returning for, that is).

Total damage for my party of two: $154 (including one drink each, the $44.50 all-you-can-eat set up, two desserts, tax and tip). I’m still at a point in my life where spending $75 on an everyday, non-special occasion meal hurts. For Komi, I’d gladly pay twice that. For Fogo de Chao, even if it had been $50, I’d have felt a little steamed. I can’t imagine any circumstance where I’d go back. It’s just not worth it. I’d much rather head up to Astoria, NY to try Churrascaria Tropical.

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I don't know...anybody who describes different servings of food as "first coarse", "second coarse" either can't spell or is using truth in advertising.

Or perhaps they care to put their money into the food instead of hiring a translator or marketing consultant? <_< Personally, I'm fine with that.
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Took my visiting dad to Fogo de Chao for dinner last night. Dad is less of a “foodie” and more of a “meat and potatoes” kinda guy, and I thought he would enjoy the concept of meat being served off of swords…To sum up the experience the phrase “rapid fire meat” would be appropriate.

The meal started with a trip to the “famed” salad bar, which left much to be desired. I was expecting a sweeping, mile long bar with hundreds of choices. Well, not so much. It was an average salad bar as far as salad bars go. Some veggies, some greens, a few salads, and some meats and cheeses. The sides were brought out, some cheese puff things, mashed potatoes, fried bananas, fried polenta. All edible for a carbohydrate fan, but nothing special.

Then the meat. We turned our little disks to green and the meat started flying by. The restaurant was loud and I found it difficult to hear which cuts of meat the servers had. My dad enjoyed the prime rib and filet. The lamb chops, chicken leg, and pork sausage were good as well. Everything was highly seasoned, mostly with salt.

Even when we turned our disks to red, the meat kept coming. The atmosphere in the restaurant is frenetic and encourages lots of consumption in a short amount of time. You really need to pace yourself. We were stuffed in about 30 minutes.

All in all, the restaurant was too loud, and too fast. The food was fine, meat was fine, nothing special. Dad had an “off the shelf” piece of chocolate cake for dessert which was unremarkable. Bill was $125 (two all you can eats, cake, tax, and tip) which I definitely will be spending elsewhere in the future. That said, dad seemed to enjoy the experience.

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Anybody been to one of the "Malibu Grill" locations recently? Buddy of mine wants to go there for his birthday because he loves the concept but doesn't want to spend as much money as you spend at Fogo. Their website says the dinner is $18, which is a huge chunk cheaper than Fogo, so I'm apprehensive about the quality.

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Anybody been to one of the "Malibu Grill" locations recently? Buddy of mine wants to go there for his birthday because he loves the concept but doesn't want to spend as much money as you spend at Fogo. Their website says the dinner is $18, which is a huge chunk cheaper than Fogo, so I'm apprehensive about the quality.

I have been to the one on Columbia Pike (?). The salad buffet is nothing special, but the meat is decent enough and not cooked to death.

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