Fogo de Chao / Brit’s Pub

It’s taken me a week to write about the all-you-can-meat buffet at Fogo de Chao for a couple reasons:

  • I am still trying to kick this stupid cough/cold thing, and it’s making me tired and crabby.
  • The thought of meat in the following days was too much to bear. And I really like meat. But I overdid it a little.

If you were to swear off meat for Lent, or convert to vegetarianism, or otherwise put yourself in a meat-free situation, Fogo de Chao would be the best place to have your last meaty meal. Not only is a wide variety of succulent flesh paraded before your eyes, but you might not want to eat meat for a very long time afterwards. Or maybe it’s just me. Like I said, I showed no self-control and I might have overdone it.

We were seated at a table near the salad bar, on the main meat path servers took to the kitchen, so it was ideal for both courses. I ordered a half bottle of Roberto Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon (very reasonable for $15– I was expecting to spend at least $7 or $8 on a glass), and Tim ordered a vodka/soda with lime. After our server asked us if we’d been to the restaurant before, and we answered affirmatively, we were off to the salad bar.

The salad bar could be a meal in itself. They have a fantastic array of vegetables (mixed greens, spinach, red and yellow peppers, artichoke hearts, and sun-dried tomatoes which are probably a fruit but I’m listing them here), and cheeses (balls of mozzarella, sliced cheeses, and a huge barrel of freshly cut parmesan), along with some starter meats (prosciutto and salmon). The key to the salad bar is to take one bite-sized portion of everything that interests you, and even then it’s probably too much because the meat will start taunting you when you’re about halfway done with your salad plate. Don’t be like the guy in front of us who had a huge mound of lettuce and assorted accompaniments stacked several inches high on his plate.

There are also little heavenly bread puffs with cheese in a basket at each table. They are tiny, and they are tasty, but again, they take up valuable real estate in your stomach.

Finally, we flipped the discs on our table from red to green to signal that we were ready, and the meat parade began. It’s all a sizzling, salty, carnivorous blur in my mind so I’ll list the different varieties we consumed:

  • Pork loin encrusted with parmesan (this was excellent, and I don’t think I’d had this before– a welcome addition to the meat parade)
  • Picanha (the restaurant’s signature cut of beef, seasoned with sea salt and very tender and flavorful)
  • Filet mignon (extremely tender and delicious)
  • Garlic beef (not overpoweringly full of garlic, but very tasty)
  • Pork sausages (these can be hit and miss, depending on the spices they use and my mood, but they were quite savory)
  • Pork ribs (I always seem to get more bone and less meat, but the meat was satisfying; that’s what she said)
  • Top sirloin (they always seem to give me a huge portion of this when I’d rather be saving room for other beef, but I’m usually so hungry at this point that I’m ready to start biting the arms of the meat wranglers, so I take it)
  • Bottom sirloin (see top sirloin above)

I bypassed the chicken (saving room for the beef and pork family), and the lamb never arrived at a convenient time, so we skipped that as well. Tim had some of the chicken wrapped in bacon and he enjoyed it very much.

The wine was the perfect accompaniment to all of the meats, and it also paired well with the cheeses from the salad bar and the little cheesy poofs in the basket.

After pushing the boundaries of our stomachs, we flipped the green discs back to red to signal that we wanted no more meat. After paying the bill, we grabbed a few complimentary chocolates from the lobby, and we were off.

We waddled down Hennepin then crossed over to Nicollet Mall to visit Brit’s Pub. I’d been craving a proper draft beer since I’d returned from England, and Fuller’s ESB was exactly what I was looking for. It was a dark amber color (it’s killing me to not type “colour”), and had a full, flavorful (again, “flavourful”) body. I can’t think of an accurate way to describe the taste other than fantastic. Tim started with a Guinness and after tasting my beer, had a Fuller’s ESB for his second round. I found room in my stomach for a second Fuller’s ESB too. After standing for a few minutes commenting on a genealogy chart of the monarchy, some stools at the bar were available and we sat down, watching trays of fish and chips go by.

We let our meat and beer settle for a few minutes, then headed home, where I learned a valuable lesson that wine, beer, and tequila do not mix, even though it seemed like a good idea at the time.

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3 Responses to “Fogo de Chao / Brit’s Pub”

  1. Michele Says:

    A quick addition — just saw that the waitstaff at Fogo filed a class action lawsuit Friday: http://blogs.citypages.com/food/2009/04/fogo_de_chao_ga.php

  2. joe sedita Says:

    We have one in Dallas-Fogo de Chao-my carnivore wife loves it, a little rough for a vegetarian. I think it is kind of expensive, what did you guys think ?

  3. Michele Says:

    The value depends on how much you eat. We usually have enough meat so it’s equivalent to ordering a steak. So with that plus the salad bar and the sides it’s a decent value. Of course we have to have a couple beverages to accompany the meal so that’s where the bill gets higher. We only go once or twice a year, due to the cost. Plus, even though I love meat, it takes me a long time to recover.

    There might be a salad bar only option for people who don’t eat meat. I vaguely remember hearing that once, but I could be mistaken.

    They serve the same buffet at lunch and at dinner. Lunch is half the price ($23, I think, compared to $45 for dinner), so obviously that’s a much better deal. However, they don’t serve lunch on the weekends, which is slightly inconvenient if you don’t work nearby. But then they probably wouldn’t get much business at dinner once people caught on.

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