Fogo De Chao
Fogo De Chao, a popular Brazilian steakhouse, recently opened a location in San Diego, occupying the former Borders space in the Gaslamp area. For years, I’ve heard great things about the Beverly Hills location, so I was eagerly anticipating this opening.
Since it is currently San Diego Restaurant Week and Fogo De Chao is participating, it gave me a chance to try it out right away and save a few dollars off of the normal dinner price.
It’s an all-you-can-eat format, starting with a gorgeous salad bar when you enter. The salad bar consists of various greens, imported cheese and meats, and a few hot dishes.
When you sit down, your table has a green/red card. You flip it to green when you’re ready for the meats to start coming and flip to red when you’re finished. There are 16 cuts of meat offered, and each is brought tableside to you.
In addition to the salad bar and the meats, there is a basket of their famed Brazilian cheese breads. I’ve made these breads before and this was a great version. Warm, cheesy and chewy. I could eat these all day.
Dinner also includes three sides: mashed potatoes, caramelized bananas, and crispy fried polenta. If you are a meat and potatoes type of person, this is something like heaven.
We actually found the sides pretty impressive. The crispy polenta was crunchy and tasted like thick-cut french fries. The bananas were perfectly caramelized. We only ate about half of the sides though to save room for the meat.
We filled up as much as possible, with some trips to the salad bar to take a break from all the meat. Our favorites were the plain filet mignon and the bottom sirloin, which were both extremely tender and perfectly seasoned. The attendants come around several times with the different meats, but if you are waiting on a particular cut, you can definitely request it and they will make sure to make their way over to you.
Normally, there is an additional charge for dessert (though I really wonder, who has room for desssert?), but since it was restaurant week, dessert was included in the price.
We chose the chocolate mousse and key lime pie. Neither were particularly memorable and were obviously pre-made.
Overall, we had a good time here. I know there already exists another Brazilian steakhouse in Gaslamp, Rei de Gado, but I think the quality of meats offered at Fogo De Chao are much better. If you can, lunch is a much better deal than dinner, almost half the price. For restaurant week, they are doing $20 for weekday lunch (normally $29.50) or $40 for dinner (normally $46.50). You can view the full menu here.
Fogo De Chao
668 6th Ave.
San Diego, CA 92101