two weekends ago was quite the eventful one. it was graduation for the class of 2010 at northwestern university and i have a few friends graduating this year. every year i attend my friend's convocation reminds me how many years it's been since i graduated... and how much older i am.. lol.
congratulations class of 2010! you're all graduates now! :)
it was a good day with the sun shining ever so brightly.. oo and i get to meet some of their parents too :)
that evening, francesca invited me to spend the evening with her parents and friends in celebration of her graduation at fogo de chao, an authentic brazillian steakhouse located in downtown chicago.
from the outside, the place looks cozy and as you walk towards the entrance, there is a display of meats being grilled by a fire at the front of the restaurant which looks very appetizing. it seemed like the whole of northwestern somehow decided to come here and the reservations were running a lil behind. inside, it was cozily lit, with a wine rack lining one of the walls, a gorgeous water feature on another and paintings that reflected what it seems like their history and culture.
taken from their website
how a brazillian steakhouse works is you get seated at the table, the waiter would usually explain how the dining experience goes. on the table, there is a card with two colors on each side, green and red. essentially before starting with the meat fest, one can visit the wide array of varieties of cheeses, salads/vege, side dishes and cured meats at the salad bar. they also bring some side dishes at your table that includes strips of fried polenta topped with cheese, caramelized plaintains (love love love!) and mashed potatoes. oh and not to forget their every wonderful, yummy, buttery bread puffs- which oddly reminds me of puffs without cream but much more buttery. that thing is dangerous cos it's so addictive!
i was too busy enjoying the vast amounts of meat that came to the table that i didn't even visit the salad bar. according to ryan though, they had quite a few selections of things and i asked him to grab me a ton of asparagus. it was a nice compliment to the meatiness of the whole meal. ryan also came back with fresh mozzerella balls, sundried tomatoes and smoked salmon. he was rather disappointed that there was no goat cheese that usually is so awesome when you have it with steak. for drinks, they ordered the house favorite, brazilian caipirinha, a brazil cocktail made from cachaça, sugar and lime. i took a sip and it was delish :)
fogo offers 15 choices of meat cuts and styles, all of which you can try:
01| picanha (top sirloin): two ways - just with sea salt or flavored with garlic. i tried this both, medium rare. it was flavorful and seasoned just right, tasted tender and juicy.
02| filet mignon: ryan got one cos by the time this came along i was pretty much stuffed. medium rare- melts in your mouth goodness. there was also the one wrapped in bacon which i had and i thought it might have been overcooked just a tad but bacon anything kinda makes up for it.
03| alcatra (top sirloin): i don't remember if i had this.
04| fraldinha (bottom sirloin): this was very good medium rare. ryan and another friend of mine wanted seconds of this. tender and succulent.
05| beef ancho (rib eye): i think i might have passed on this one
06| cordeiro (fresh lamb): it was served both ways: cuts from the leg of lamb and lamb chops. the leg of lamb itself to me was slightly dry but the lamb chops were excellent - full of flavor.
07| lombo (pork loin): passed on this too
08| costela de porco (pork chops): i thought this was one of the best meats i had all night. it was full of flavor and off the bone tender
09| frango (chicken): made two ways: chicken breast wrapped in bacon and marinated chicken leg. the one wrapped in bacon was too dry for me and i wouldn't go for seconds but the marinated chicken leg surprised me. it was yummy.
10| linguica (sausage): this was really good too. smoky, pepper-y and tons of flavor. yum!
fran's parents were so generous and treated us to this wonderful dinner (thanks!). ryan was very happy cos he is such a meat lover. the food overall was scrumptious, paired with the cozy atmosphere of the restaurant. the waiters were very efficient, attentive and quick to return with new plates of side dishes and yummy bread puffs (cos we gobbled all of them so quickly). at the end of the night, we all left with full, happy bellies, cravings satisfied :)
disclaimer this is written based on my personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others