Fogo de Chao Naperville – Churrasco Style Brazilian Steakhouse Grand Opening
By Patricia Ruiz
In January, we celebrated the opening of Fogo De Chao Naperville, the internationally renowned Southern Brazilian Steakhouse, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony helmed by a knife-wielding gaucho. With a practiced flick of his honing rod, the gaucho sharpened his knife and sliced through the festive red ribbon, welcoming the first diners to the restaurant.
As we entered the large dining room with a bountiful Market Table at center, uniformed gauchos marched table-to-table with large skewers of Beef, Chicken, Lamb and Pork. At the table, each diner received a small round card—red on one side and green on the other—for which to summon the gauchos. Make sure you’re ready, because when you flip your card to the green side, the slow-roasted meat is promptly brought to your table to be carved. Just let the gaucho know your preferred temperature (happily, rare means rare at Fogo De Chao!), and get ready to eat.
The Picanha (top of the sirloin) is Fogo De Chao’s signature steak. Lightly seasoned with rock salt, the steak was sliced very thinly. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a little bit of the charred fatty ring along the outside along with your lean beef. Not a fan of fat? Fogo De Chao also offers Filet Mignon (served bare or wrapped in bacon). Try a well-marbled slice of the Alcatra (top sirloin) or Beef Ancho (rib eye), grilled over direct heat to allow the marbling to melt and baste the steak with flavorful juices. The Costela (beef rib) is decadent and rubbed with rock salt to create a marvelously charred and flavorful crust.
How about some Colorful Steak Knives for your home from Amazon:
Don’t limit yourself to beef when you visit Fogo De Chao! Marvelously juicy Leg of Lamb and Lamb Chops are also available. The unexpected star of the evening was the Linguica, a slightly spicy pork sausage with a delightfully snappy casing. Eating light? Beer and Brandy Marinated Chicken Legs or Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Breasts struck our fancy.
At Fogo de Chao, we found more than fresh slabs of meat; the bountiful Market Table displayed a marvelous variety of Salads, Fruit, Charcuterie, and Imported Cheese that could easily make up a meal on their own. The Apple Salad was a bright addition to the grilled meats, and the Hearts of Palm and Brazilian Kale and Arugula Salad lent an authentic touch to the Churrasco experience.
Servers also brought Sharable Sides to our table. The Caramelized Banana was a wonderful addition to the meal, and the crispness of the Fried Polenta Sticks was addictive. Fogo De Chao is perhaps most well-known for its Pao de Queijo: Little Cheesy Rolls made from Sweet and Sour Yucca Flour and Parmesan Cheese. A traditional accompaniment, Black Bean Stew (fogo feijoada) was dished over White Rice and seasoned with fresh Orange, Hot Sauce, and Farofa. Garlic Mashed Potatoes were also served at the table.
The dessert options at Fogo De Chao were plentiful. Notably, the Papaya Cream, the restaurant’s most popular dessert, showcases fresh Papaya blended with Vanilla Ice Cream and topped with Black Currant Liqueur, poured tableside. A Strawberry version is also available…should you have room.
Fogo de Chao Naperville provided a one-of-a-kind experience that anyone can enjoy. There was so much culture to take in via smells, colors, hospitality, and most significantly, the quality in meat and produce. Every flavor we tasted was backed behind experience and knowledge in cooking style. If tradition and heritage is a taste, the dishes at Fogo de Chao are the closest thing to it.