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Fogo de Chao, Beverly Hills

(cross-posted from Yelp)
I've eaten at the Fogo in Dallas, and twice in Chicago. This was the best! It's a traditional Brazilian steakhouse, with a glass-walled room where slabs of meat roast over an open flame, and waiters dressed as gauchos bring around swords with meat on them. Like meat ninjas, they'll fling meat at you as long as the disk on your table is turned to the green side.

We had a serviceable, if pricey, bottle of wine and started with a little bit of salad. I think they get you to blunt your appetite by making you get your first plate from the salad bar - it's a conspiracy. Shortly after the meat started coming around, along with sides of polenta, garlic mashed potatoes and fried plantains. Every bit of meat we tried was delicious - with the garlic beef, pork pichana, and bacon-wrapped filet mignon as definitely stand-outs. The Pyrate Queen particularly enjoyed the lamb chops, which were marinated in some sort of lime-flavored marinade that was really delicious.

Our server realized her desire for lamb (there's something about eating an innocent creature that pleases her, you should see her around a bunny filet!) and whenever he had a lamb dish on the skewer, he would make a point of stopping by, even if she had the red "stop" side of her disk up. It's the little touches like that, the attention to detail, that make the meal really standout.

Before too long we were utterly full - stuffed to the craw with incredible meat dishes. Meatopia. Meatotheosis. Meat! PQ gave me a birthday present, it being my birthday - and our server noticed and offered us a free dessert. We had a molten chocolate cake that was just perfect - the external cake was dark chocolate and just a little floury, while the interior was a hot ganache explosion of lusciousness. It paired with a scoop of rich ice-cream perfectly. It was just the right size to be a nice end to a big meal, and they painted "Happy Birthday" in lime icing on the plate.  

I made a point of complimenting the manager on the way out - the meal was superb, the service extraordinarily good, and our experience over all truly excellent. It is pricey, there's no denying it - but it's well worth it.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
elanya
Aug. 13th, 2008 11:36 pm (UTC)
I do love some Brazilian Steakhouse. I've only ever been to one in Albuquerque, and now I don't remember the name. But it was quality. Mmmmmm....
arya
Aug. 14th, 2008 01:33 am (UTC)
"traditional Brazilian" - heh. About as "traditional Brazilian" as P.F. Chang's is "traditional Chinese," which is to say it's fantastic food that's far more extravagant than anything in the home country :p

"Traditional Brazilians" can't afford steak :) Authentic Brasilian food is far better than the authentic cuisines of other Latin countries. If you ever find yourself in the Bay, I'll make some of Kui's mom's recipe for feijoada. (She also makes a truly amazing frango com tutu but I don't think I could replicate it.)
aghrivaine
Aug. 14th, 2008 03:07 am (UTC)
"traditional Brazilian" - heh.

Note that I said, "Traditional Brazilian steakhouse" - where there are steakhouses in Brazil (and there really are, I swear!) this is how they prepare and serve the steak. I'm sure there are many embellishments, it's just that the churrasco is a gaucho thing.

"An important element of this culture is churrasco, the Gaucho way of roasting meats over pits of open fire for delicious barbecues, always present at every festive occasion, especially family gatherings"
arya
Aug. 14th, 2008 03:33 am (UTC)
There aren't any gauchos in any part of Brasil I know of :p Maybe REAL far south, but when you get far enough south it's like an entirely different country. (I hear it actually gets *COLD* sometimes, once you start heading south from Sao Paulo! Crazy talk, innit - everyone knows it never gets below 85 in Brasil.) I've never heard of "churrasco" (it didn't even look Portuguese) but a Google image search makes me think it may be the result of heavy influence from Uruguay and maybe Argentina.

Now I think on it, I bet the climate's better for ranching down south (y'know, where it's not JUNGLE) so the locals there can probably *afford* meat. The rest of the country gets very little meat... they take little bits of bacon and fry it into their farofa to make their beans (or whatever else they're dumping farofa on top of - it's seriously like the Brasilian analog of what rice is for East Asians) taste meaty-ish. And the occasional slab of unidentifiable pig and an even less identifiable sausage gets tossed in the feijoada. And on special occasions you get a chicken and fry it 'til it's crisp on the edges and tender on the inside (oohhhh, baby).

Anyway, if you like the way the southerners (might as well be from Uruguay IMO!) eat, come up to my neck of the woods some time and try some Brasilian po' folk food. Turns out that in the favela, people come up with some really damn good ideas of what to do with the food they have, and it tastes amazing.

I keep trying to get Kui's mom to make us some coxinhas, but she insists they take so much time that she'll only do it if we come over to her house and stay the whole time she's preparing them. Now that I have a job, I think I'm going to buy a deep fryer and figure out how to make 'em myself :p If I ever master the recipe, I'll make some for you and see if I can't win your tastebuds away from those rich folk down in the far south o' Brasil...
aghrivaine
Aug. 14th, 2008 11:40 pm (UTC)
Yes, Gauchos are from the Rio Pampas area, which is Southern Brazil and Argentina. I'm sure that other, less meaty Brazilian food is delicious, but the fact is - churrasco is freakin' amazing!
nixieq
Aug. 14th, 2008 01:53 am (UTC)
mmm, meat
you know, i do believe i forgot to wish you a happy birthday. many happy returns of the day, and glad to hear it was so delicious!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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