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Installation (Wordpress Part): Steakhead's Atlanta Eats Blog: How to Survive a Night at Fogo de Chao

Saturday, February 24, 2007

How to Survive a Night at Fogo de Chao

I consider myself to be an expert on Fogo de Chao. It has been my birthday dinner every year for the past 6 years. Sprinkle in the occasional business dinner, a few nights out with the boys, and a mandatory stop every time my father comes in for a visit, and I have probably dined there 15 times. For the uninitiated, here’s the concept. For roughly $50, waiters dressed as Brazilian gauchos roam the dining room with meats on skewers. A card in front of you tells the gauchos when your hungry (green side) and when you need a break (red side). On any given night, there are approximately 15 different types of meats making the rounds. While “all you can eat meat” is a dream come true for some (including yours truly), the dining room is full of traps and pitfalls. So to help rookies and beginners of this fantastic Brazilian Churrascuria on Piedmont Rd. in Buckhead, I have outlined a roadmap that will help ensure carnivorous maximus!

1) Preparation- What to do about lunch?
You definitely want to go hungry, but not overly so, that you go hog wild the moment you walk in. I recommend a normal sized lunch, but try to avoid beef. A turkey or tuna sandwich would be perfect. The last thing you want is a ½ burger that sits like a rock in your stomach when you walk in. Try to time it, such that you have a good 7-8 hours between meals.

2) Moderation…at the Salad Bar
This may seem like a no-brainer, but I can’t tell you how many people I see that return from the salad bar with a plate piled six-inches high. This is of course what the restaurant loves to see- people filling their stomachs with 10-cent artichoke hearts as opposed to filet mignon. If you’re going to have anything at the salad bar, grab some smoked salmon. Grabbing multiple swiss cheese sticks and mozzarella balls is idiotic.

3) Be Wary of the Sausage Man
There is a reason why the best Steakhouses in town don’t offer a sausage main course. I always feel bad for the gaucho walking around with the chicken and sausage skewers, because he probably gets the least amount of attention. But someone is taking this stuff, or they wouldn’t keep offering it. There is no prize for having one of every meat available, and it would be fool’s gold if there was one. Be picky. Stick with the house special, top/bottom sirloin, filet mignons and the lamb chops. The pork tenderloin is even acceptable. If you say yes to the chicken, you are out of your league.

4) It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint
This is probably the most important tip I can give. Turning your card to green will elicit a response similar to looking for a day laborer in the Home Depot parking lot…gauchos from far and wide will make a bee line for your table. Its okay to say no to something you really want because, trust me, they will come back. Try not to have more than two meats on your plate at any one time, and its okay to take periodic breaks. If you finish your dinner in 45 minutes, you ate way too fast.

If you have not yet been to Fogo de Chao, it’s a definite must, even for the non-carnivores. The atmosphere is terrific and the gaucho service is first rate. But for the meat lovers out there, this is paradise, especially when you go in with a winning strategy

Steakhead Recommends: Yes
Price: $$$-$$$$


Anonymous Chloe Morris said...

Or better yet, go for lunch at half the price then you'll have the rest of the day to digest what you ate!

By the way, I feel exactly the same way about the sausage man. He knows not to ever come to me. He even enticed me by revealing the chicken's secret marinade recipe which I'm taking to the grave. Oh, and the rib-eye is a new addition.

3:00 PM  

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