Here’s the rub: I love a good meal as much as anyone. And, truth be told, when I’m pleasantly surprised it’s even better. Add in the fact that Pittsburgh’s foodie scene is thriving (and continues to thrive) and I’m always on board for test-driving new restaurants. Its latest, Fogo de Chão Pittsburgh, is Brazilian steakhouse style and it has gastro-enthusiasts all over the city buzzing about it. Is Fogo de Chão Pittsburgh worth the price? Here’s the scoop on what you can expect for both brunch and dinner.
What’s A Brazilian Steakhouse?
Good question. Want to impress your friends? It’s technically called a churrascaria. Gauchos and Gauchas visit each table with meats that they themselves have been trained to cook to perfection. I chatted with the in-house Fogo de Chão Pittsburgh kitchen manager and was told that it takes about eight weeks to perfect preparing and cooking the meats. You’ll find everything from chicken drumsticks to lamb to pork and beef.
The number of cooked meats varies each day (and each meal), but you can expect 16-18 different styles and cuts to circulate throughout the restaurant. Ok, now that’s out of the way, let’s chat about how the meat is cooked. If you want to enhance your Fogo de Chão Pittsburgh experience, I highly suggest walking up to the kitchen window and finding out for yourself. Each meat will generally start at the top of the broiler and work it’s way down. The top level sears in the juices, each lower level allows it to cook without turning it into jerky.
Fogo de Chão Pittsburgh Dress Code
Not that you need to dress up to visit Fogo de Chão Pittsburgh, but when given any opportunity to clean up, I’m doing it. If you’re uncertain still, think business casual. I saw everything from couples on dates wearing suits and dresses to shorts and nice shirts.
Fogo de Chão Pittsburgh Dinner
When we arrived we were seated immediately compliments of a reservation. I do highly recommend one as the restaurant gets busy. Once seated, our table servers came over and took drink orders. I then had two dining options: a full meal including churrasco or just the Market Table.
For me, it wasn’t even a question of whether or not to try the meat. But, I did happen to bring my friend that’s happy to call herself a vegetarian to find out what she thought of the experience. Vegan, vegetarian or no, ordering either way is a good idea. What she really loved: the full disclosure by the staff of exactly what was vegetarian on the Market Table.
The staff was highly knowledgeable on exactly what ingredients were in the table items and it was a breath of fresh air for her. She told me that she was actually full after the meal was over. As in full, full. Not just an “I have to eat appetizers because the menu has very little to offer vegetarians” full.
Then there’s the Feijoada Bar. It offers everything from freshly-made soups to candied bacon with a kick. Also included in the meal were family-style offerings brought straight to the table. Fried polenta and bananas, as well as garlic mashed potatoes, are all-you-can-eat style.
Fogo de Chão Pittsburgh Brunch
Brunch at Fogo de Chão Pittsburgh is very similar in style. You have your choice of a full churrasco experience or just the Market Table. The only difference I found was there are more breakfast-style options on the Market Table and Feijoada Bar including egg and potato dishes. A definite highlight was the individual Greek yogurt cups with fresh fruit and granola.
Fogo de Chão Pittsburgh Drinks
There’s no way to write a review of Fogo de Chão Pittsburgh without mentioning a couple of delicious drinks.
First, let’s talk about its Premium Caipirinha. Promounced Kai par EEN ya, it’s deliciousness lies in its simplicity: lime, sugar, house Cachaça (pronounced Ka SHA sa), and ice.
Second, I have to sing the praises of a Fogo de Chão Creamy Limonada. Again, just a couple of ingredients (freshly-squeezed lime juice, evaporated milk, and ice) make for the perfect, subtle creamy drink. Kids would love it, for sure.
About 2/3 of the way through dinner, a drink cart begins to circulate for apres dinner drinks. You’ll find some top notch bottles on that portable cart including Basil Hayden Bourbon and Macallan 21 Scotch Whiskey.
Fogo de Chão Pittsburgh Dessert
At the end of every meal comes the option of dessert. Yes, it’s an additional cost to the meal, but if you have room, I recommend splitting one. My choice, hands down, is the Tres Leches cake. With three kinds of milk, the cake is soaked and has a caramel flavor that made me want to eat until I burst. If you love chocolate, you can’t go wrong with the Molten Chocolate Cake.
The Verdict: Is Fogo de Chão Pittsburgh Worth the Price?
Is a single word: yes. Look, you’re headed to the restaurant for a dining experience, not for a cheeseburger that was made in 60 seconds or less. you’re not rushed through the meal at any time and you can eat your weight in meat if you’re so inclined. Here’s the scoop on cost at the time this post was written:
WEEKEND BRAZILIAN BRUNCH
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