I was at a networking event when the stars aligned, and I met Tracey Shearer, the sales manager at the newly-opened Fogo de Chão (pronounced foe-go dee shown) in downtown Pittsburgh, Pa. We quickly hit it off, and she invited me to attend the grand opening celebration for the new steakhouse.
Upon arrival, I was greeted with, “Bem vindo a Fogo de Chão (Welcome to Fogo de Chão)!” and authentic churrascaria (basically, barbeque). I couldn’t wait to get started.
We had 12 in our party, arriving at different times, so while I waited, I hit Bar Fogo, which offers authentic libations straight from Brazil. The bartender suggested I begin with their signature drink (and also the national drink of Brazil), called the Caipirinha (kai-pee- reen-ya). Other drinks there include The Flor de Fresca, consisting of Hendricks Gin, ruby red grapefruit freshly muddled with elderflower, and a house-made honey elixir. Also on tap were some mocktails; they included Pineapple Mint Lemonade and a Brazilian Limonada.
Once our entire group arrived, we were led to a luxurious curtained private dining area. Our server explained the experience in detail. He let us know about the wide variety of fire-roasted meats in succulent juicy details, which include selections of beef, lamb, chicken, and pork.
On the wall of our private room was a beautiful display of countless wines that could be paired with our meal, but my eye caught the restaurant’s liquor cart that boasted an exquisite bottle of Remy Martin XO, which is one of my favorites!
Customer service is extraordinary at Fogo de Chão—they treat everyone like family. We were celebrating my 28th birthday (wink wink), and I truly felt like I was at home being pampered. Gauchos (chefs) butcher, cook, and serve each cut of meat while you control the experience by flipping a medallion back and forth from green to red. This allows the roaming chefs to know whether you’re enjoying what’s on your plate or when you’re ready for more. The chefs never rush you, and are happy to accommodate special requests. Here’s a pro-tip: ask for a “butcher” guide from your server to help you navigate the menu.
Picanha (pih-kahn-ya) which is the prime part of the top sirloin is the most popular cut of steak both in the United States and Brazil. Another favorite is a Brazilian specialty called Fraldinha (fral-deen-ya) which is trimmed from the sirloin, and let me tell you, this tasty goodness is marbled throughout and has a texture that just melts in your mouth.
While I’m a huge fan of the fire-roasted meats, the Market Table is a vegetarian’s dream! It includes an elaborate aged cheese and charcuterie display; a variety of seasonal salads, fruits, and veggies to please any palate; and my personal favorite, the caper-covered smoked salmon. Fun fact: nearly the entire menu at Fogo de Chao is gluten free!
Needless to say, everyone in my party was impressed with the high level of service, attention to detail, and family atmosphere at Fogo, and I can’t wait to return very soon!
Fogo de Chão currently has 52 locations worldwide, including Brazil (where they began nearly 40 years ago!), the United States, Mexico, and the Middle East. Maybe I’ll go to Dubai for my 29th birthday.
(412) 312-5001 | 525 Smithfield Street | Pittsburgh, Pa. 15222