Fogo de Chão (fo-go dèe shoun), Silicon Valley’s Premiere Brazilian Steakhouse and one of Santana Row’s newest posh dining establishments, had its special pre-grand opening on February 26, 2014.
Upon entering Fogo de Chão, guests are treated like A-listers. The hostess welcomed me and my guest with warmth and hospitality, and graciously guided us to our dinner table for the evening.
While en route, we passed by an extensive and impressive collection of wine encased in a massive glass tier near the entrance and in front of the bar.
The bar is quite notable in its own right, with fully stocked liquors and knowledgeable bar-keeps.
My guest and I were seated by the kitchen, probably one of the best seating areas in the restaurant where all the action takes place and all the magic ensues. The moment we sat down we were welcomed by Tomàs, our courteous and knowledgeable waiter. He recommended we try one of their signature Brazilian cocktails, Caipirinha, which is made with lime and sugar. It had quite a kick to it to say the least.
I then made my way over to the beautiful, all-you-can-eat gourmet salad bar, which is filled with superbly fresh vegetables, cured meats, imported cheeses, olives, and delectable breads. I made sure to pace myself, as I knew that this dinner was going to provide a plethora of textures, flavors and aromas, and I made sure to enjoy every sumptuous bite.
After my appetite was ignited by the delicacies of the salad bar, it was time to try some of the 16 varieties of the fire-roasted meats. The meats are prepared in the traditional gaucho (Southern Brazilian cowboy) manner. In Southern Brazil, the wide pastures and abundance of cattle allowed the gauchos to prepare wonderful barbecue. They would pierce large pieces of meat and cook them over the Fogo de Chão, “fire on the ground.”
The gaucho chefs of Fogo de Chão are dressed in traditional gaucho garb as they bring variety after meat variety without missing a single beat. Once at your table, the gauchos cut the selections off of the metal stakes on which they are prepared, and with a pair of mini-tongs, the patron takes the selection off the stake and places it onto her plate. I tried the filet mignon, Cordeiro (fresh leg of lamb), Frango (bacon- wrapped chicken), and the Linguica (pork sausage). Every cut was cooked to perfection. The red sangria, infused with pieces of cut green apple, was also tasty and refreshing, and complimented the flavors of the various meats.
A unique aspect to this restaurant is the green and red coasters. When a patron is ready to sample the variety of barbeque, they flip the coaster to its green side. When they need a break and choose to finish one of their many selections before trying the next, they flip it over to its red side.
The selections are served with traditional Brazilian sides consisting of crispy polenta, garlic mashed potatoes, caramelized bananas, and their famous light-and-airy cheese bread (pào de queijo).
What’s great about the portions is that they are petite but satisfying. That way, you have the opportunity to taste as many of the meat selections you want without overeating. That allows you to have room to go for seconds, thirds, and even four helpings of your favorite cut, as well as leaving some room for dessert.
Towards the end of our food odyssey, my guest and I tried the Fogo de Chão Signature Papaya Cream with blackberry liquor poured over the top and the black and white chocolate mousse, accompanied by Italian coffee with a side of amaretto. Just like every other food item served, the dessert did not disappoint.
Aside from the exquisite Brazilian faire, the service and hospitality of the entire team—hostess’ management, trainers, waiters, and gaucho chefs—was first-class. Every 5-10 minutes, one of the team members came around each table to make sure that the patrons had everything they wanted and needed. The attention to detail and customer service went above and beyond anything I have personally experience in my years of dining. And even though our waiter was busy with other patrons, he still took the time to answer all of our questions regarding the faire and the concept of the steakhouse.
Fogo de Chão is not only an excellent Brazilian steakhouse, but it’s an establishment that offers a dining experience like no other: First-class dining, first-class venue, first-class service.
For more information about Fogo de Chão and to see their menu selection, please visit:
Review & Photos by Sophia M. Papadopoulos