Fogo de Chão is one of the few times I will ever write about a “chain” type of restaurant for Manhattan Digest as I tend to prefer local spots as it’s what makes this city so darn special. Even though they have multiple locations across the United States, Fogo de Chão only has one here in Manhattan in Midtown East at 40 West 53rd Street. Known as the king of Brazilian Steakhouses, this location is one that I will surely remember for quite sometime in many different capacities.
The name Fogo de Chão translates into English as “fire of ground”, which is used in the traditional gaucho cooking method of roasting meats on an open fire. The restaurant has a history dating back almost forty years ago, to 1979, with its first location in the United States appearing in Dallas back in 1997. The Manhattan based location has been opened for three and a half years now, and sees no sign in slowing down as the place was packed yesterday.
The space inside Fogo is freaking huge! You have a gorgeous bar that sits at the top of the location once you get inside, and a restaurant seating area downstairs that is nothing short of spectacular. I love how spacious the area is, and you get the sense that you are at the most upscale of buffets one has ever seen, both and in and of Manhattan. It is truly a sight to be seen.
The concept around how to order at Fogo is quite interesting to say the least. First of all- “treat yoself” to one of their amazing cocktails. It will bring you to a point of relaxation that is needed on a stressful workday or the end of the week. I tried their Strawberry Hibiscus cocktail and it hit the mark in so many different ways, with the alcohol content in it not being too strong which is perfect based on my preferences.
Before you get into the meat portion of the meal, they have an amazing salad spread to divulge into, if you are in the mood. This isn’t just some basic cucumbers and celery type salad bar, they have the freshest cheeses, meats and fishes for you to try, as well as some amazing salads that all taste fresh and incredible. The brightness of the salad bar itself highlights all of the fixings you can have before you dive into the main portion of the meal, and everything that I tried tasted simply great.
Here is where the fun portion TRULY begins. I must warn all of my readers- you need to come here on an empty stomach, as hungry as can be. Because they are going to feed you with an assortment of meats that are out of this world bonkers amazing. This is how it is done. You have a circular coaster of sorts, one side is red, one side is blue. When you flip it to the blue side, an arrangement of servers will come tableside to see if you are interested in the array of meat options for you to choose.
From there, they will slice the meat and you grab it with your complimentary prongs and dig in. You have your classics like the Filet Mignon and Pork Loin, but then they get very specific in regards to the gaucho cooking method with items like their Picanha (pictured above), which is the prime part of the top sirloin and their Fraldinha, which is the bottom part of the sirloin. Tender is the name of the game here, as they want to make sure that what you are having is fall of the bone delicious, fresh, and above all, makes you think differently about steaks and more, especially with grilling season right around the corner.
Honestly, the experience itself was just fun. They also provide you with a side of mashed potatoes, plantains, white rice and beans to go with any kind of meat you will have. I needed a teleportation device to get me home afterwards, as I was truly stuffed to the max when I finished. Overall it was a great meal and I look forward to going back again and again.
For more information on Fogo de Chão, check out their official website.