Saturday, May 25, 2013

I'm Still Stuffed: Foga de Chao

It has been at least several years ago that I gave up on any sort of buffet or all-you-can-eat type of restaurant.  No matter what a good deal it was, I always seemed to walk out miserable and realizing that, a lot of the food just wasn't that good, but I was eating it because I needed to get my money's worth.   And let's face it, for the most part, even regular, non-seconds and thirds type restaurants give you more than one person should be eating, just so you don't feel bad about paying $9 for a burger and fries.  So when my daughter wanted to go to Foga de Chao for her birthday lunch, I knew I better stop eating Thursday afternoon.

I really don't have any pictures of the food to share here because it just seemed a little awkward to pull out the phone and start snapping away as the feeding frenzy began.  Our first waitress, one of several wait staff who served us, asked if we had experienced Brazilian style dining before.  Though the kids are old pros, Eva and I had never been, so she gave us a short tutorial on how it all works.
Simply, The green disk means bring more meat, the red disk means stop! She also instructed us on using the little tongs to assist the meat carving guy in guiding the assortment of meats onto our plates.  What she should have told me was that I don't want to fill my plate with stuff from the salad bar.

As soon as I sat down with my plate of salad (the salad bar is pretty extensive) and started to eat, a server wearing gaucho pants and holding a spear of meat approached and it was on.  As soon as he sliced a portion of meat onto my plate, another guy showed up with a different sort of meat.  How can you say no?  Before I could even try the Filet Mignon, another guy was giving me bacon wrapped chicken, lamb, brisket, and all sorts of other things.  I couldn't even make a dent in my salad.  Eva suggested I turn the disk from green to red and give myself a chance to eat the stuff on my plate.

One of the pluses is that they bring this meat out while it is still sizzling, and I love it when my food is hot - not just spicy, but temperature wise.  Having said that, I wasn't crazy about everything.  Without question, the Filet Mignon and Beef Ancho were awesome.  The Frango (or chicken) was superb.  Toward the end, I gave the Costela De Porco (ribs) a try and the taste was excellent, but I could not force myself to pick them up and eat like I would at a BBQ place.  I'm pretty sure I had some of everything with the exception of the Lingica or sausage which my son-in-law Tyler reports as being very good.

If I were to ever go again, I would use a completely different strategy:  No salad, and nothing but Filet Mignon.  And iced tea.  And I would turn that little disk to red until I finish what I have on my plate so I could decide whether or not to ask for more.

The service at Foga de Chao is outstanding.  In addition to all the meat serving people, we had at least 3 or 4 different people bringing refills, asking if we wanted clean plates and in general making sure we had whatever we needed.
 One of the waiters could see we were celebrating and brought my daughter a complimentary dessert with enough spoons for everybody.  Very nicely done.

Total bill before tip for five of us, no alcohol or dessert was $185.00.  Considering Eva and I did not eat anything for the rest of the day. I'd say we got our money's worth. 

Have you gorged yourself at one of these places?  Did you think the waiters looked like pirates in their little poofy pants?  Did you wake up in the middle of the night saying, I can't believe I ate the whole thing?  Leave a comment and share with the group,  won't you?


Maureen said...

We've done Texas de Brazil and it was very good. Even with our $100 gift card we were still looking at about $70 out of pocket but it is a nice treat. Chama Gaucha in Stone Oak is good, too, and lunch is a better deal. The salad bars are amazing but not stuff I normally eat so they didn't pull a fast one on me....I ate meat and more meat. Great service at both, too. Just down the road from us we have three different versions of Fogo de Chao so I guess the fad is here to stay. We were kind of surprised at how nice the interior is at Texas de Brazil, and we dressed up, but people were in there in jeans and hauling a slew of kids. Maybe there was a groupon?

Dave said...

I wondered about the dress-up part too. We, and most others in the place at least made the effort and didn't go in wearing T-shirts and shorts. A folks were in business attire, but I could see how tourists along the River Walk might come in all sweaty and such.

They should make tuxedo style stretch pants and jackets allowing you to look nice and have room for expansion.

Sabra said...

Erik & I went to Chama Gaucha for our second anniversary. I forget offhand how much it was, but I felt the service definitely made it worth the price. I did nibble from the salad bar, but ate mostly meat. Of course, at the time I was pregnant and in the throes of horrible morning sickness, so I don't think I ate a quarter of what he did. We need to go back some time I can do it justice.

thesouthtexaspistolero said...

Sabra beat me to it. I think it ended up being about $120 or so for the two of us, but it was worth every last penny. Mmm, picanha...

Brigid said...

5 of us are going there tonight, it will be a first visit for all. Thanks for the great review. Dinner is a tad more expensive but it sounds like it will indeed be worth it. I'm getting hungry already.

MsBelinda said...

I have never been but after your review would definitively consider it.

While is it I always get hungry after reading your blog :D