The moment I entered the grand foyer of Fogo de Chao, one couldn’t help but feel a genuine sense of joy…..
a sense of profound hope that we are indeed beginning to turn the corner on this pandemic. The beautiful notes of live music bounded about the space. The space itself, a 1926 building with museum-like 20 foot ceilings, lends itself to an eventful evening. An earnest staff met you with smiles and hearty welcomes as we entered. Once inside, we knew we were in for a beautiful night of beverages, food, and outstanding service. Everywhere your eyes went, you were either overwhelmed by the beauty of the space or warmed by the beautiful joy-filled faces of an extraordinarily diverse team. Fogo White Plains opens for the first time on Tuesday, April 6.
I want to quickly make note of Fogo de Chao’s commitment to their 12 Safety Promises, protocols in place to ensure the safety and peace of mind of any guest.
Once seated, we partook in the market table and feijoada bar to start, along with a wonderful red wine. The wide selections of salads, vegetables, and olives were delicious. The beautiful papaya, roasted artichoke hearts, and roasted eggplant, among other delights, were an amazing prelude to the main event. A voice in my head continuously told me to eat lightly. I know the trick; fill me up on the remarkable appetizers so I don’t eat as much meat. I would not be fooled!
I got fooled. I couldn’t stop! Each of the foods I listed above from the market table were delightful. But, it was time for the Fogo Churrasco Experience. And what a joyous experience it was. The filet was mouth-watering and tender, the picanha delicious. The alcatra, fraldinha, and beef ancho were outstanding and prepared perfectly. The only disappointment came when I bit into the Costela de Porco, which were dry and limited in taste. A bacon-wrapped chicken and steak were wonderful. Special note; the mashed potatoes would have made my grandmothers proud. There is also an amazing happy hour (4:30-6:30 PM M-F) Bar Fogo menu, with wonderful selections at spectacular prices.
Our servers were also kind enough to bring indulgent cuts to our table.
The Wagyu Ancho was absolutely remarkable. The same could be said about the Wagyu New York Strip. As our servers were preparing to bring over a sample of their dessert choices. we were joined at our table by the CEO of Fogo de Chao, Mr. Barry McGowan. As he sat, I had to ask him about the hope-filled energy that filled the exquisite space. I was able to speak with him about the amazingly attentive and skilled staff, and about how we all seem to be embracing signs of hope as we come out of pandemic.
The moment I mentioned the word hope, Mr. McGowan all but jumped out of his chair. He shared with us his team’s mission to bring joy to their guests through their service and remarkable food. We had an impassioned discussion about this “journey back to joy”. With 57 locations, I was impressed by Mr. McGowan’s connections with this team of employees in White Plains. Not only did he know their names, but he knew their stories, he knew their dreams, and he is committed to helping his team members reach their dreams.
In today’s culture, many of us are trying to make consumer choices to frequent businesses with an enlightened agenda of beyond-livable wages for employees, and places where diversity is embraced in all areas of the business operation; servers, hosts, and management alike. It is evident that this is the case at Fogo de Chao.
The dessert choices, which I enjoyed with the Fogo featured cocktail Caipirinha (amazing) were delicious. We enjoyed a remarkable chocolate cake and a sumptuous tres leches.
Before we left, my party looked over at a large group gathering that had just sat to eat. That gathering was of many of the employees of the restaurant enjoying a meal. Their joy was palpable. Do we not all yearn to work, and for us as guests, to relax and eat, in a joy-filled place of hope?
I implore you all to make a point of taking a similar “journey back to joy” at Fogo de Chao White Plains. Its opening is impeccably timed.
Find joy at Fogo de Chao at 235 Main Street in White Plains; (914)697-8600. Fogo de Chao