Please forgive me. It has been quite a hectic week. Hence the ultra-rare Saturday post.
This week was actually not that crazy; it was just full. The most epic part of which I want to tell you about.
Fogo de Chao
Last year, for my birthday, my wife and I decided to try this Brazilian steakhouse. I was aware of several steakhouses where the "gauchos" carry around various meats on swords. These gaucho chefs stop by your table and ask if you want anything off of their sword.
Going to Fogo reminds me of the first time I went to Golden Corral as a child. The possibilities seem endless. "Oh, I am going to get a full plate of this, this and this, and top it with this and this. Then ICE CREAM!" Only, Fogo is much, much better. I would liken Golden Corral to the Chrysler Sebring of buffets whereas Fogo de Chao is the Bentely Flying Spur.
Fogo, simply put, is amazing. I have eaten at a lot of places, but Fogo takes the proverbial cake. So, I suppose I should start at the beginning and carry forward (without drooling on the keyboard).
Finding parking in downtown Austin is a bitch. Being summer, one wants to park as close to the ultimate destination as possible. So, for this trip we had the car valeted. Not that we are loaded or anything, but getting the car valeted just makes sense. 6 bucks, plus tip. I could park in a garage about 2 blocks away and hoof it for 8. So yeah, valet is the way to go. Just don't leave you wallet in the car.
I had made reservations for 2 and under "Special Instructions" on the online reservation page I stated Birthday. I suggest you do this, even, heh, if it is not indeed your birthday. We walked in and the hostess looked us up and seated us. Right in a high traffic area. Perfect. No, seriously, that is not sarcasm. You want these gaucho chefs stopping by as much as possible. First things first, however. One of the "team" waiters details how things work. 2-course meal, salad bar, then meated to death, with sides as well. We ordered a bottle of wine (~$35, Rioja) and hit the salad bar.
After we polished off our salads, we flipped the coaster-like card from red to green. Green means go, baby! Thus, the meal truly began.
In addition to the above mentioned House Special, Bacon Wrapped Chicken and Bacon Wrapped Sirloin there are the following meat options. Ribeye. Top Sirloin. Bottom Sirloin. Beef Ribs. Lamb (both leg and chops). Pork Ribs. Pork Loin (parmesan crusted). Chicken Legs. And last and least (no, it seriously is least) Sausage.
Be prepared to tie one on. We ate for 45+ minutes, just eating meat. And waiting for the gauchos to come buy with something we desired.
Oh, I guess I glossed over the sides. The sides that come with the meal are quite tasty. There are mashed potatoes, some kind of sweet, cooked banana and the single most amazing side I have ever had. Polenta Fritters. Crispy on the outside, delicious on the inside. The polenta fritters make the meal extra special. Word on the street is that they offer several other side dishes, but the polenta fritters are amazing.
Lastly, was the bill. Now, this is the tricky part. Do you value a $150 meal? Some folk would expect a lot more goose liver for that price tag. Some would see at least 15 trips to McDonalds. I do see value in this trip. It is only once a year. Service is amazing (dudes with goddamn swords, serving you!). The food is really, really good. The price is high, but for once a year, it is quite a value. I look forward to next August 18th. Should it be in Denver, Austin or elsewhere.