Sherman's Food Adventures: Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse (Bellevue)

Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse (Bellevue)

Another chain restaurant?  Did I just forget to eat at more interesting places in the States while being away for over 2 years due to the border closures???  Well, no of course not.  However, by virtue of being a chain restaurant doesn't mean I will never dine there.  In fact, I've always wanted to try Fogo de Chão.  C'mon, it is AYCE meat!  I've had Brazilian Churrascaria before in the States and of course in Vancouver as well.  However, I wanted to see if Fogo is any better than our local offerings of Rio and the long-shuttered Samba.

Luckily I made a reservation because the place was packed.  We were quickly seated and hit the Market Table for some meats, cheeses, salads, fruit, veggies and Fogo feijoada.  Unfortunately, we couldn't enjoy the Iberico Ham as there was no knife available.  I asked an employee why there was no knife and she said we couldn't cut from the leg anymore.  There was still meat, but I guess it was too close to the bone?  I really didn't understand.

Now before we got to all the meats, we were served some sides including Mashed Potatoes, Cheese Bread, Caramelized Banana and Fried Polenta.  Of course these were essentially fillers, but it wasn't as if they weren't good either.  Their version of warm Pão de Queijo was soft and starchy inside (due to the tapioca flour).  The mash was actually quite tasty and smooth while the bananas were a bit bland.  Crispy polenta was somewhat hard, but also flavourful.

With all that out of the way, onto the meats!  So for those who have never done this type of dining before, there is a card on the table for each person.  Green means keep the meats coming and red means stop.  We were inundated with meats from the get go including Chicken, Spicy Pork Sausage, Pork Rib and Picanha.  We didn't really care for the chicken as it was really dry.  Sausage was meaty and tasty though.  Pork rib was also a touch dry, but still tender.  Loved the picanha (prime portion of top sirloin) as it was juicy and tender with a nice fat cap. 

So the next meats to come along included Top Sirloin, Bacon-wrapped Chicken and Steak, Parmesan Pork and Bottom Sirloin.  Both cuts of sirloin were juicy and super tender.  There was enough seasoning too.  The bacon-wrapped steak was flavourful and smoky while also tender.  Once again, I found the chicken to be dry, yet still tasty due to the bacon.  Also dry was the pork, but it was flavouful due to the parm.

The last round of meats consisted of Lamb Picanha, Lamb Chops, Striploin and Flank Steak.  I really love lamb and the picanha was super juicy with lots of gaminess.  The rack of lamb chop was medium-rare and super moist and and tender.  I hated the striploin as it was well-done.  That totally destroyed such a lovely cut of meat.  On the other hand, the flank steak was perfect being medium-rare, juicy and meaty.

So we never saw the following cuts of meat, even though we were there for an hour and half: Filet Mignon, Bone-in Rib-eye, Beef Ribs and Double Bone-in Pork Chops.  Not sure if they even had them?  We didn't see any and never got any either.  This was partially tempered by an amazing piece of Grilled Cheese featuring Coalho with honey.  These squeaky slices of cheese were delicious and texturally addictive.

I ended up with an extra slice of lamb because, well I love lamb (as I've mentioned many times) and the other cuts never arrived (or was available).  In the end, we enjoyed our meal despite not having some of the best cuts of meat available.  Also, a few were too dry for our liking.  However, I understand that they have to put the meats back on the BBQ when they have cut all the exterior "more-cooked" portions.  One thing is for sure - you come for the experience and you really take the good with the bad.

The Good:
- Plenty of meats coming around
- Good quality and generally well-prepared
- Good service

The Bad:
- Some meats were not available
- Some meats were very dry
- Not sure why we couldn't eat the Iberico ham


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