It’s not just a meal. It’s an experience. And now there are more seats for people to check out this experience at Brazilian steakhouse Fogo de Chão in downtown Minneapolis since they unveiled their most recent expansion.
In June 2017, the restaurant completed a renovation that included a new and expanded bar area, private dining rooms and custom wine cellar. But they didn’t stop there. They then continued to expand the dining spaces to include more than 120 additional seats and an even more extended bar area, enabling the venue to host private and semi-private events for up to 450 guests. The space is flexible—if the new private dining areas are not being used for an event, they can be opened to accommodate additional reservations and walk-in visitors. The restaurant has audio and video capabilities and packages are available for group dining parties starting at just 10 people.
Before we go any further, however, the name Fogo de Chão is pronounced “fo-go dèe shoun.” I know I have always thought it was “chow,” as in what you do there! The name means campfire or fire on the ground, and there is not a literal translation from Portuguese to English.
I got to be among the guests invited to check out the new digs the other week and enjoy the full churrasco meal experience at the first seating in this new space, which offered a comfortable, somewhat quieter portion of the restaurant for dining. My husband and I made sure to arrive hungry. If you haven’t been to Fogo de Chão, for the churrasco meal—a Brazilian tradition of cooking over charcoals and open flames—gaucho chefs walk the restaurant to bring large skewers of fire-roasted meats to your table. From these, you use your individual tongs to grasp your serving as they cut a portion for you, or depending on the selection, they may slide a portion onto your plate. First, of course, you can make a trip to the extensive salad bar, or as they call it, the Market Table & Feijoada Bar. The Market Table includes marinated artichoke bottoms, tabbouleh, smoked salmon, an assortment of cheeses, sun-dried tomatoes, Caesar salad and a range of vegetables such as hearts of palm, fresh and steamed broccoli, and asparagus. (Guests are welcome to visit as often as they like during their meal.) Fogo feijoada is a traditional black bean stew made with sausage and served with rice, fresh orange and farofa (baked yuca flour with bacon).
When you are ready for the main course, green means “go.” The gaucho chefs will know you would like them to swing by your table with meat selections when you place the green side of your specially designed coaster up. When you want to take a break or are finished feasting, you place the red “stop” side up. The meats to choose from include different cuts and preparations of beef from their signature “Picanha” top sirloin (my husband’s favorite) to bacon-wrapped steak or chicken, Parmesan-crusted pork, ribs and more. The meal also includes unlimited servings of traditional Brazilian side dishes—seasoned mashed potatoes, caramelized bananas, crispy polenta and warm cheese bread. For vegetarians in your group, menu pricing includes an option for the Market Table only, and there are also a couple seafood options. It was definitely a delicious—and filling—experience and a fun night out.
Fogo de Chão, located at 645 Hennepin Ave., is in the Hennepin Theatre District at City Center in downtown Minneapolis and is open for lunch Monday through Friday, and offers a weekend Brazilian brunch and dinner every night.
Valentine’s Promotion: The restaurant is running a special offer for those who “give your hearts over to premium steak” the week of Valentine’s Day. Receive a card for a complimentary churrasco meal on your next visit when you dine with them from Feb. 10-17, 2018. Click here to learn more and book.