Baltimore: Fogo de Chao (Guest Post!)
My own food adventures have been at a standstill recently (due to tightening budget...and tightening jeans), so when my sister asked if she could post about her recent trip to Fogo de Chao in Baltimore on my blog, I was more than ready to live vicariously through her.
So without further ado, No Shame's first ever guest blog post!
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Using our return from Winter Break as an excuse, my friends and I decided to take advantage of Restaurant Week and visit one of the fancier restaurants in our area. With its famous unlimited supply of meat, choosing Fogo de Chao was really a no-brainer. For about $45, including tip and tax, my stomach was pushed to limits it has never tested before:
Upon entering the restaurant, I knew we were in the right place. Our nostrils were assaulted with the smell of meat. I was in heaven.
Immediately after we were seated, waiters brought three different appetizers to our table. Seeing that there were eight people in our party, they gave us two of each and assured us that they would keep coming.
The first was the fried polenta. It was much crispier than I anticipated. The taste and texture reminded me of deep-fried corn bread. Not really my thing, but my friends really enjoyed it:
The mashed potatoes was surprisingly delicious. The texture was more smooth than I like, but the creamy garlic taste more than compensated for this shortcoming. I was tempted to waste way too much of my stomach space on this dish:
The caramelized bananas were nothing too spectacular. They were a bit too soggy for my taste:
The service here was spectacular. Every guest was given a round placecard that was green on one side and red on the other. When the placecard was flipped green-side up, servers would stop by your table with sizzling selections of meat:
The servers would stop by with meat on skewers and ask how you liked your meat done. They would then slice a generous cut which you brought to your own plate with the tongs provided.
Because it was restaurant week, we were given a limited selection of meats. Still, I was more than satisfied with what was offered.
The top sirloin (rare) was gorgeous. However, it was a bit tough:
The rib-eye (rare) was tender, with just the right amount of fat on it. Juicy and seasoned perfectly, this was by far my favorite cut of beef:
There were two kinds of filet mignon available:
The first is the Filet Mignon wrapped in Bacon. I was disappointed to find that this was less delicious and decadent than its name implied. In order to maximize the bacon flavor infused into the meat, the beef was cooked for a longer time. This left the filet mignon overcooked and tough.
The plain Filet Mignon was not much better than its pork-embracing cousin. I found the flavor to be slightly lacking. Though the filet mignon is supposed to be far more tender than the ribeye, I actually found the reverse to be true:
I'm not really a fan of pork so unfortunately, I didn't try the sausages and ribs that were offered. The lamb, on the other hand, was orgasmic. It was served in two ways, freshly cut from the leg, or as a lamb chop:
While the first bite seemed shockingly gamey, almost unpleasantly so, my taste buds soon began to appreciate the bold flavor of the meat.
Hands down, my favorite meat of the night was the lamb chop. I like my food on the salty side, and this was the answer to my meat prayers:
There was a healthy chunk of meat attached to the bone and even after I had devoured it, I was tempted to gnaw on the bone. This was definitely the highlight of the evening (I got two!).
Part of the restaurant week deal is a free dessert with your meal. We were limited to three choices: New York cheesecake, chocolate mousse cake, and key lime pie.
The cheesecake was on the plain side. Nothing special here:
The chocolate mousse cake was heavenly. Its light, slightly salty caramel icing contrasted nicely with the dense chocolate interior:
Unfortunately, I was unable to take a picture of the key lime pie before my friends devoured it. I found the pie filling to be unpleasantly bitter. The key is to spread the dollop of whipped cream across the whole piece and eat the filling with the whipped cream. This helps to balance out the bitterness.
Dinner at Fogo de Chao is usually $48.50 per person, not including tax and tip. This grants you access to endless meat as well a fancy salad bar. Too distracted by the meat, I never took the opportunity to snap pictures of the salad bar. To give you an idea of the variety, there was everything from smoked meats (pork, salmon, etc.) to cheeses (fresh mozzarella, parmesan, etc.) I did stop by for some fresh green beans and artichoke hearts intermittently during my gluttonous escapade. After all, I needed something to help with the digestion. (; The dessert is usually an added cost.
The quality of the meat is definitely top-shelf. Everything is seasoned to perfection and needs absolutely no additional salt/sauce. Were I able to afford this, I would probably come back every three months (recovery time, you'll need it) or so. Definitely worth the price and the trip.
Fogo de Chao
600 E Pratt St
Baltimore, MD 21202