Philadelphia, PA - During our recent visit to the popular Brazilian Churrascaria (steakhouse), Fogo de Chão (literally Fire of the Ground). We were treated to the Churrasco tradition, which translates to “barbecue,” but to avoid any misunderstanding, in the rest of South American countries, this method of cooking meats is known as an “Asado.”
In Brazilian and Argentinean culture, cowboys are known as “gauchos” who tend to the cattle herds and, to make the meat more appetizing, will roast the beef for hours on wooden skewers over an open fire to help tenderize the meat.
Contemporary Churrascarias have developed into an all-you-can-eat dining experience with family and friends. Servers approach your table with never-ending selections of skewers on which are gouged with numerous types of meat. Everything is served sizzling right off that skewer and served tableside.
After our headwaiter took the beverage orders, the staff brought two dinner plates to the table along with a pair of tongs for each of us. The tongs are used for removing meat from the skewers or serving platters. Each table also includes a “cue” for each patron, representing where you stand. The green side means “yes, please” you want more selections brought to your table, while the red side of the cue shows you’re done.
Fogo de Chão is an exciting experience with something to see at every turn from a visual viewpoint. After your server takes your beverage order, two dinner plates are brought to your table along with tongs for each diner. These tongs are used for removing meat from the skewers or serving tray.
The salad bar offers cold cuts, cheese, cold salad, and fruit selections, but this is far from your typical salad bar.
Shortly after you dispense with your salad, servers begin offering you skewers of well-seasoned meats. Even if not all the meats make it to your table, it’s unlikely most people would be able to sample more than one of each.
In concept and execution, Fogo de Chão is an entertaining restaurant sure to delight all but the most discerning and picky of diners.