Fogo de Chao is a well run and popular chain of restaurants, perhaps 20 so far, whose presence ranges from our local city to as far east as Beverly Hills, as far west as Philadelphia, with half a dozen locations in Brasil as well. It’s is very popular in Atlanta, and very popular in other urban areas as well, such as Dallas. Trying to tell the blogosphere that this is a good place to eat seems about as pointless as trying to convince people that the sun rises in the east, but on this one day, I had an excuse.

Yes, my daughter had a birthday and we were looking for a gift a little more distinctive than a new iPod. So we made reservations. I put on a nice shirt, wore a tie even. And I really don’t like the traffic jam that is the drive into Buckhead, but for one day, and for my daughter, it’s excusable.

For those who haven’t been to a churrascaria (Brazilian steakhouse) the drill is this: it’s an all you can eat buffet, but except for the salad bar, the food comes to you (much as in a dim sum restaurant). There is a card on your table with a red and green side. Flip the card to green when you want meat, flip it back to red when you want to digest what you’ve eaten.

Fogo de Chao is a smaller place than I might have expected. Or at least it gives no real impression  of size. Of course, you get to see meat grilling from the outside as you enter.

Fogo has an excellent salad bar. Not visible in this photo are a slice of artichoke heart and three excellent cheeses. Smoked salmon is pretty much ground zero for my diet, and guarantees I get my omega 3s in the middle of this meal.

Meats, once we were ready for them, came fast and furious. This is unlike Fire of Brasil where the pace is a lot more stately. There were, at times, three gauchos were around our table at once. It became a little confusing sorting out what we wanted to eat.

Service was superb. Everyone had more than enough to eat. The birthday girl was especially fond of the lamb, though there were some excellent and smoky cuts of sirloin. The pork tenderloin was a little hit or miss. My wife found her piece a little chewy, whereas mine had a wonderful smoky flavor.

Verdict: Reigns supreme among ATL churrascarias. Great food, great meats, over the top service. Very highly recommended.

Fogo de Chao
3101 Piedmont Road
Atlanta, GA 30305
(404) 995-9982

Fogo de Chao Churrascaria on Urbanspoon

The first churrascaria I ever went to was the Fire of Brazil in the old Alpharetta location. It was a business dinner and I enjoyed it. Afterwards I took relatives there, and what clinched the experience was taking my family once on a Father’s day. On Father’s day they offer exotic meats (kangaroo, ostrich, venison, duck, alligator) and my daughter to this day has not stopped talking about the food she had there.


We went to the Perimeter location on the weekend of my daughter’s birthday. She became sick on her birthday and we couldn’t eat anywhere, but the day after she was well and specifically requested going to Fire of Brazil. We spoke of going to Fogo de Chao, but frankly, I wasn’t sure of being able to get there on a whim, I generally dislike the drive into the Buckhead area, and Fire of Brazil was what the birthday girl asked for.


The restaurant is good looking on the outside, but my wife finds it a little cramped compared to the old Alpharetta location. Seating is around a “wood” fire (stone logs fired by natural gas, probably) and near the windows they have a salad bar. I tend to raid the salad bar for palm hearts, smoked salmon and anything else interesting. The mussels were interesting this day, so I got a few of those.


For those who have never been to a Brazilian steakhouse, or churrascaria, these are places where the meats are cooked on a rotisserie. The meats are then taken off the heat, while still on the skewer, and moved by staff called passadores from table to table. You are then asked if you want some of the meat, and if you do, a thin slice is usually cut off for you. The slices are thin so you can sample a wide variety of meats. For someone like my daughter, whose tastes run to meats, this kind of eating is a little bit of heaven. There is a fixed price ($41.50/person on this day) and you can eat all you want.


New York strip

New York strip

Flank steak

Flank steak

The meats were running hot and cold this day. The New York strip was a deep red and full of flavor. The flank steak was good, and sausages were tasty. The sirloin with garlic, on the other hand, was a little flat and tasteless. There was a spicy chicken that everyone seemed to enjoy, and my daughter the carnivore was doing her best to get her share. My mother-in-law was with us; this was her first churrascaria and she hadn’t gotten half way through her salad before the meat started arriving. She usually took the same foods my wife would choose.

About halfway through serving the meats, side dishes arrived. They were a heaping bowl of white rice, a thin bean “soup”, and fried plantains and yucca fries.The beans were tasty, but I can make kidney beans at home. The plantains my wife described as “interesting”, and said she preferred Cuban style maduros. The yucca fries were dry and starchy and otherwise an ordinary side. They would be better as a side to a good burger, in my opinion. Yucca fries at FLIP would be a lot of fun.



Towards the end of the meal, a passadore came and asked if we wanted anything else. I asked for lamb and my wife asked for turkey. They hadn’t served either in their first pass through. Lamb is my favorite meat in these kinds of steakhouses, even on Father’s day. There is a flavor in lamb that I can’t get anywhere else, and I believe is associated with lamb fat. The chunk of lamb I had was a little chewy, but delicious.  My wife was quite happy with her turkey.

Beef ribs, Fire of Brazil style.

Beef ribs, Fire of Brazil style.

leg of lamb. delicious!

leg of lamb. delicious!

At the end I raided the salad bar one last time, to make sure I had all the various kinds of salmon they served. It turns out their salmon salad that day was delicious.


Service: I had no problem with table service at all. Drinks were filled, there were no lulls in people coming to the tables and asking if we needed anything. The meats did have a pattern. They would begin with chicken and sausage, proceed through their meats, and then pause. It’s in the pauses that the passadores ask if you want anything in particular. I’ve always taken this to mean, “Is there one last meat we can get you, so that you’ll be happy?” but it could be taken as, “Is there one last thing we can serve you to get you to leave?” In a business where small perceptions in quality of service are the major differences between the churrascarias, that’s a perception Fire of Brazil needs to guard against. Otherwise, I had a great time here.

Verdict:  One of our favorite steakhouses. A little cramped compared to the old Alpharetta location. Highly recommended.

Fire of Brazil
118 Perimeter Center West
Atlanta, GA 30346
(770) 551-4367

Fire of Brazil on Urbanspoon