As I’ve talked about before, I started this blog as a creative writing outlet that would also push me when I moved to Minneapolis to get out and try new things. It’s pretty funny for me that while I occasionally dabble in lackluster poetry and lifestyle blogging, food is really the only thing that I’m super excited to share with other people haha. That said, quarantine during COVID-19 has hit me hard and I’ve been staring at these photos from Fogo de Chao for weeks and just haven’t been able to find the motivation to give it the Hipster Hack that it deserves.
After years (literal years) of boyfriend begging me to go to Fogo de Chao with him and me denying him, because 1. I assumed it was similar to a buffet (I always get full after 1 plate so it’s not worth it for me) and 2. meat has always intimidated me…that’s what she said (I know that sounds ridiculous, but honestly, I am not knowledgeable about beef cuts or types), I finally acquiesced.
TL:DR version: Boyfriend and I happen to have our birthdays 3 days apart so we decided to treat ourselves to a joint celebration dinner at Fogo!
*Fun Fact: you’ve probably been pronouncing this wrong. It’s not “Fogo day Chow” instead it’s pronounced “Fogo dee shown”
Fogo is a Brazilian Steakhouse and the way it works is actually similar to a buffet where it is all you can eat. However, the main difference here is the presentation and quality.
The people walking around with the meat on the skewers are the actual chefs. Not only do they butcher their own meat and cook it, they also serve it, meaning if you have any temperature preferences they are the perfect ones to talk to about it!
In the wake of COVID-19 Fogo has made some changes – obviously their tables are spaced out, their employees are masked and from my understanding there is a really good salad bar here, however, the change they’ve made is that instead of going to the salad bar yourself, additional servers walk around with trays laden with salad bar options and serve them up to you as well.
Fogo, while a more casual environment than I expected, is definitely on the expensive side when it comes to dinner. Because of it’s all you can eat nature, you pay a baseline price of $56.95 and then can add additional options like seafood appetizers or additional table side meat options. For example they offered us a Wagyu New York Strip to sit tableside cooking on a bed of salt. Yum.
Tableside Meat Service:
- Filet Mignon* (Tenderloin)
- Picanha* (Prime part of the Top Sirloin)
- Alcatra* (Top Sirloin)
- Fraldinha* (Bottom Sirloin)
- Seasonal Cut Beef Ancho* (Ribeye)
- Costela de Porco (Pork Ribs)
- Cordeiro* (Prime Lamb Steak, Leg of Lamb, Chops)
- Picanha de Porco(Pork Picanha)
- Costela*(Beef Ribs)
- Lombo (Pork)
- Medalhões com Bacon* (Bacon-Wrapped Steak)
- Linguiça (Spicy Pork Sausage)
- Frango (Chicken)
While I was pretty ready to try everything, boyfriend made it very clear to me that he was there to eat as much lamb as possible haha. They started us out with a charcuterie board and also some of their cheese bread.
I was pleasantly surprised at the pacing and how I was able to just try a little piece of everything. This made it less intimidating than filling up a full plate at once, and it made it easier for me to graze instead of just loading up and filling one plate then being too full for more.
Because we were there celebrating our Birthdays we were actually offered two complimentary desserts which was really nice and an unexpected surprise! While Tom decided to keep his dessert “liquid” I got the one our server described as a mixture between mouse and cheesecake…sold! Unfortunately, I do not remember it’s name and I’m not able to find it on their website, but it was absolutely delicious.
I felt a little too stalkerazzi taking photos of the chefs and honestly because my plate was being constantly emptied and filled I didn’t end up taking photos of all the meats (that I wouldn’t have been able to independently label anyway haha), but the meal was absolutely delicious.
Couple funny moments centered around Boyfriend’s love of lamb:
- The first time the lamb chef came by our table he had 3 chops left. Normally they give you one, but boyfriend asked if he could have all 3….that’s when the chef looked at me then back at him and goes “what… none for her?” Then the chef and I both started laughing when Tom insisted I wasn’t sure I’d like it and he’d let me try his first hahaha
- The server asked us if there was anything we were still hoping for and Tom said he’d love if we could get more lamb (he had passed up pretty much everything else, knowing full well he planned to gorge on it). Moments later I see the lamb chef booking it across the restaurant to get to our table before he runs out (excellent service) and when Tom asks if he can have the full steak instead of a piece of it the chef looks at me and jokingly asks if I want a full one, too, and Tom, not getting the joke immediately jumps in horrified for me “Oh no, she just wants the part.” ….. – Honey. He’s joking “Oh….” haha
- At the end of the meal the busser came over to clear our plates and started up some typical small talk asking us if we’ve been there before and how we liked it. I am actually embarrassed by how loudly I burst out laughing when Tom explained that he loves coming for the lamb to which the busser looked down at his lamb bone filled plate and says, “I can tell.” hahahahahahahahaha
I stuck with my faithful Titos + Club Soda and Tom had old fashioned-s (? I have no idea what the plural of that is…whatever)
It would be a lie if I said we didn’t each have a few. I mean…it was our joint Birthday celebration! The Drink service was super slick. There were a couple times I didn’t even see when they came to swap out the empty with the newly ordered drink.
If you’re looking for a more inclusive experience, they have a few Brazilian inspired beverages on their menu as well
The service from start to finish was pretty fantastic. The online reservation booking is flawless, we were seated almost immediately when we walked in. Social distancing was strictly practiced and our server was thorough and attentive.
Something that was definitely unique to this place was how interactive the meal is. I loved being able to engage with the chefs and all of the servers carrying salad bar items as well as the busser from the story above were fantastic. Our table was also approached a couple times by the (I think?) manager ensuring we were having a good time. 5 star service for sure.
Like I’ve mentioned there were a few changes inside according to Tom. As my first experience I definitely didn’t feel lacking and loved how efficiently everything seemed to run.
Definitely recommend Fogo de Chao in Minneapolis if you’re looking for a way to still celebrate a special occasion during the pandemic!
Fogo de Chao
645 Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Dinner Dine-In Hours:
Monday – Thursday: 5PM – 10PM
Friday: 5PM – 10PM
Saturday: 2PM – 10PM
Sunday: 2PM – 9PM
Visit their website for all hours