Chima- A Fogo de Chao Alternative?
My first impression was that the place must be popular. The dining room and adjacent bar was packed, and our 8pm reservation didn't yield a table until 8:50. This may be one of the few kinds of restaurants where I don't mind a wait that much since my goal is always to extend the meal (I have been known to have a full Fogo meal in 45 minutes because I can't contain myself). However, a 50 minute wait when you have a reservation is excessive.
If you are familiar with Fogo, the premise of Chima will be familiar. A salad bar with smoked salmon, various cheeses and salads etc. If there is one area where Chima may have outscored Fogo it may be the salad bar. There seems to be a few more choices including beef carpaccio (if the 'all you can eat beef" in the main course is not enough red meat).
Speaking of the main course, you know the drill. Gauchos serve endless selections of beef, lamb and some chicken, mostly on a skewer. A two sided card on your table alerts them when you are hungry and when you are taking a break. At Fogo, turning the card to green unleashes an assault of gauchos from all sides. Not quite the case at Chima. We had several lulls where there wasn't a gaucho to be seen. And that brings me to another point. Yes, the Chima gauchos wear some traditional garb. But it doesn't look that much different from the white shirts of the waiters and other staff. Therefore, it doesn't have that same unique appearance as Fogo where the gauchos really standout. As far as meat selections, I would give the nod to Fogo here as well. Some pieces were overcooked. Some pieces were cut too big, therefore cutting down on the sampling fun. The house special cut lacked the flavor that Fogo offers. And some of my favorite pieces were just plain missing- like the bacon-wrapped filet.
So for me, Fogo will still be my Churrascaria of choice in Atlanta. Chima was good, and the coupon helps (register at chimasteakhouse.com to get one). But its not like I am going to these places that often. So for the 2 or 3 times per year I do, there just isnt a good enough reason to go someplace else.