Fogo de Chão
Review of Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse in Scottsdale, Arizona
Fogo de Chão - What I Liked
- Fun factor
- Salad bar
- Meat variety and quality
Fogo de Chão - Be Aware
- Busy and noisy
- No doggy bags
Serving beef at Fogo de Chão © Judy Hedding
Fogo de Chão - The Mood
An upscale and lively dining room awaits you at Fogo de Chão Churrascaria in Scottsdale. The main dining room of this Brazilian steakhouse is almost always busy at dinnertime; it buzzes with motion and discussion as people move to and from the salad bar and the gaucho chefs skitter from table to table offering cuts of freshly grilled meats. I call this type of experience 'adventure dining' where the activity and meal presentation is as entertaining as the appreciation of the meal itself.
Fogo de Chão - The Damages
There are no surprises at Fogo de Chão; the price is $47 for adults and half price for children 6 to 10 years old. Children ages 5 and under are free. Your meal includes the salad bar, meats and three side dishes to share. Beverages, desserts, tax and tip are extra. Special pricing is offered for those would rather skip the meat and just enjoy the salad bar ($20).
My Review of Fogo de Chão
I have been to a Brazilian Churrascaria before, and, while I enjoyed it very much, Fogo de Chão (pronounced foh-goh duh shone) was an even more pleasant experience. Here's how it works. After you are seated and order any beverages, you are invited to the salad bar where you will find beautiful fresh vegetables, mixed salads, cheeses, sliced meats and breads. Warning: if you intend to also eat meat during your visit, don't be tempted to fill up at the salad bar! You can always go back later. After you've settled in and watched the action taking place around you (that's part of the fun) you are ready to give the green light (a disk on your table) that you are ready for meat. At Fogo de Chão there are 15 varieties of meat served, including some chicken and pork in case you don't want all or any red meat.
Salad bar at Fogo de Chão © Judy Hedding
Of course, it was my responsibility to try all 15 meats! I would be hard-pressed to pick one as my favorite, although I can say that there were many that I enjoyed more than either the pork or beef ribs. The sausage was good, but that's not what I came here for. That leaves 12 meats that I truly recommend. Both chicken styles -- legs and bacon wrapped, were good for a break from red meat as were both the leg of lamb, lamb chops and pork loin. Delicious! As for beef, the filet, both tenderloin and bacon wrapped, and the rib eye, were my favorites.
There is entertainment value here. Half the fun is in trying to remember what you've eaten and which meats you have yet to try. Aside from the salad bar your server will also bring fried polenta, mashed potatoes -- I didn't discern much garlic -- and fried bananas, which added a surprisingly pleasant sweet juxtaposition to all that meat.
At Fogo de Chão you are not assigned one server; anyone and everyone will take care of you. Ask for a side rice and beans with salsa (beware, it's hot!). One of the noticeable differences between Fogo de Chão and other Brazilian restaurants of this type locally is that they don't try to fill you up with the least expensive items fist and hide the filet mignon until you are too full too enjoy it. All the meats are circulating all the time. It's simply up to you to pace yourself, and turn your table disk to red when you need a break. There is no time limit on your meal.
Desserts must not be big sellers here, because there was no dessert menu, no sample tray, and servers couldn't exactly tell us how much they were! I would, however, not skip dessert if you like either Creme Brulee ($9) or Brazilian Flan ($7). The flan just barely won out as our favorite over the Creme Brulee; it is denser than your typical Mexican flan. Both desserts were lovely and suitable for sharing.
One more thing about the meat. I like my beef done medium or medium rare (pink to slightly bloody), and most of what is served here comes just that way. If you like your meat well done, just ask and they will prepare it to your desired temperature.
I definitely recommend Fogo de Chão, especially if you want a bit of adventure while you dine. It is a perfect place for a first date, because just the activity of dining here sparks conversation. No worries about having to agree on what to share. Special occasions, relatives visiting, a casual business dinner -- it's all good. Between the salad bar and the variety of meats there is sure to be something that everyone in your party enjoys. If you order wine with your meal, the wine list at Fogo de Chão is one of the best in the Valley.
Fogo de Chão is one of my new favorite restaurants, and I'm already devising excuses (whose birthday is coming up?) for an opportunity to return. Or maybe I don't need an excuse at all, now that they offer lunch (October 2009). It's still a bit expensive for a casual lunch if you aren't on an expense account - $28.50++ for the full menu -- but who says you can't have your main meal in the middle of the day, if you have the time to spend? Fogo de Chão is open for dinner seven days per week, and offers lunch Monday through Friday, but only until 2 p.m.
Where to Find Fogo de Chão:
6300 N. Scottsdale Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85253
Date of review: August 2009.
All dates, times, prices and offerings are subject to change without notice.
As is common in the industry, the writer was provided with a complimentary meal for the purpose of the review. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy.