If you’re a carnivore, than we’ve got some news: Fogo de Chão, the chain of Brazilian steakhouses that has 42 locations across Brazil, the United States, and Mexico, has launched Sunday brunch at all of its U.S. locations, setting the stage for some amazing afternoon naps.
If you’re not familiar with the chain, or Brazilian steakhouses (called churrascarias) in general, here’s a primer: The meal starts with a trip to an ample salad bar, loaded with both hot and cold salads and dishes both of Brazilian and international origin. After that, servers come to your table with huge skewers of meat and slice it off for you tableside, a style of dining called rodizio. Fogo is upping the game by introducing a whole slew of brunch dishes into the mix, which are available both on the salad bar and on a separate sideboard. These dishes include an egg bake made with cheese, vegetables, and the gluten-free cheesy Brazilian bread known as pão de queijo; braised short rib hash; sweet cornmeal cake with whipped caramelized bananas (called bolo de fubá); Greek yogurt with berries and granola; and a Sunday roast (currently bone-in roast pork). There’s also a new brunch beverage bar, featuring $9 made-to-order caipirinhas, passion fruit mimosas, and Bloody Marys.
We had the opportunity to sample the offerings at New York’s Fogo de Chão, a sprawling and lively room in Midtown Manhattan, at the invitation of the restaurant, and made sure to remind ourselves beforehand that lunch is in fact intended to be the main meal of the day. While many view the non-rodizio offerings as superfluous, the team here doesn’t slack off on any aspect. The brunch dishes were all tasty, as was everything else on the salad bar, and the meat was ample and perfectly cooked (the servers, or gauchos, ask your temperature preference before slicing, which I haven’t encountered before). Bacon-wrapped filet, ribeye (ancho), top sirloin (alcatra), bottom sirloin (fraldinha), pork ribs (costela de porco), pork loin (lombo), beef rib (costela), and the signature cut, picanha, came fast and furious, only interrupted by flipping a disc from green to red to make time to digest. Polenta, mashed potatoes, pao de queijo, fried banana, and rice and beans were brought out as side dishes. If there’s room for dessert, try the chain’s signature papaya cream, made my mixing vanilla ice cream with papaya juice.
A Brazilian steakhouse might not be the most obvious choice for a brunch destination, but if you’re in the mood for meat and a slew of well-prepared brunch dishes, and want an all-you-can-eat experience, Fogo de Chão’s offering should be on your radar.