1.10.2007

Fogolicious: Brazilian steakhouse is nothing but stars

I thought Carnival and Adriana Lima were Brazil's big claims to fame, but churrasco--Brazilian-style BBQ--is just as delectable. With the exception of a family-owned churssascaria in the Northeast, we've been deprived of this South American style of cooking. No longer. Chima, based out of Fort Lauderdale, is on its way to JFK Boulevard to join already-opened Fogo de Chao on 13th & Chestnut in the historic Widener Building.

Fogo is a churrasco chain, with 4 outposts in Brazil and 7 stateside, specializing in rodizio, cuts of meat grilled on multi-pronged Freddie Kreugeresque metal skewers. Armed with butchers knives and 15 types of meat, waiters are gauchos who wear gauchos and patrol the posh space resdesigned by DAS Architects with chocolate woods and dripping chandeliers. At your seat is a little paper puck that I kept mistaking for a coaster (there's an award-winning wine list; try the light-bodied Tempranillo). One side is red; the other, green. Flip it to green and the gauchos hurry over, swirling about your table like an aromatic all-you-can-eat cyclone. You'll swear they're about to break out in Be Our Guest. Pork ribs? Filet? Linguisa? Some cuts are on the tough side, but most are meltingly tender and jucier than a summer peach. The pinchana--prime sirloin seasoned with garlic and sea salt--is especially memorable, as is the overall churrasco whirlwind, but you might need an Advil by the time dinner is done. For a fun joke, bring your vegetarian friends. They'll freak, but at $44 per person for dinner (only $24 for lunch!), they'll dig the upscale salad bar's roasted yellow peppers, fluffy salads, and softballs of mozzarella.

Celeb sighting: Jerry Blavat, at a table of about 12, but only for about 20 minutes. Mysteriously, he disappeared before the guachos began the meat parade, evidence that suggests the ageless Geator is in fact sustained not by food but by Isabella Rosselini's eternal life potion from Death Becomes Her. Yo, Geat, if you're readin', please gimme a shout-out at Memories this summer. Pretty please.

1337 Chestnut Street
215-636-9700
www.fogodechao.com

1 comment:

Joy said...

About the pants--I think the gauchos were in fact wearing gauchos. Plus I heard that vegetarians can do a salad-bar only feast for something cheap--like $20ish.