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Fogo De Chao

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This past weekend was the Fellow’s birthday. We wanted to go to a SCA event but the time off in comparison to the drive/event time didn’t line up. We decided instead to grab our Household buddies and head to the Maryland Renaissance Festival near Annapolis.

After hurriedly putting the final touches on my totally non-garb level fantasy costume, there we were, all decked out in our costumes and nearly two hours into our drive, and the traffic starts to bog down. We’re almost to the gates, when we see it – the flashing road sign searing out in orange lights: “Renn Fest sold out.”

Out hearts dropped. So we turned around and headed back down the road. We decided since we had to stop in Frederick to drop off one of our friends, we would get sushi. If you’ve never seen the reaction when a couple of Vikings walk into a sushi restaurant, it’s pretty entertaining.

I had tried to set up a surprise with a few friends earlier to drive out to Baltimore to a restaurant the Fellow had been dying to try, but I couldn’t get the schedules figured out. I ended up openly asking him if he wanted to go – just the two of us – on Sunday, and he was so excited. One of our friends was able to go on Sunday after all, so we all piled in the car (again) and headed out B’more bound.

I’m honestly surprised that the concept of amazing food outweighed my fellow hate of cities, but it did. The restaurant is called Fogo De Chao. It is a Brazilian steakhouse.

The website recommends business casual, so we dressed up (any excuse to bust out my pearls) and made reservations for as soon as they opened – they were packed. This was some of the most amazing food I have ever experienced in my life.

The set-up is unique. There is a large salad bar in the center which you are free to visit as much as you wish (and you’re going to need it!). The wait staff circles the dining room with giant skewers of their specialty meats. When you are ready for meat, you flip a small token from red (no) to green (yes), and they will  stop at your table and slice off your portion directly onto your plate. When you’ve eaten entirely too much meat, you will need a break to get some veggies from the salad bar.

Prime rib on tap. Think about that for a moment. Yea . . . amazing. The best dish we all felt though was surprisingly not beef. Rather, it was the Lombo (pork medallions coated with Parmesan cheese and then grilled to seal in the juiciness of the lean meat) which we found most impressive. I could’ve died and gone to heaven when I bit into that amazing pork, and I’m not usually a pork person!

The service was also phenomenal. We did need to ask some questions as we weren’t familiar with Brazilian etiquette, and everyone was gracious in their responses. Our cups were never empty; we never had to wait for food or clean plates, and everyone was pleasant and engaging. The stark contrast to the poor service we received at the same level of restaurant in Niagara Falls was shocking.

To finish out this amazing culinary experience (and since it was his birthday) we were gifted a dessert, and the Fellow chose Crème brûlée at the waiter’s suggestion as it is their specialty. To. Die. For.

Our experience at Fogo De Chao was absolutely phenomenal, and I foresee us braving the big bad city again in the future.

There are 29 locations in the United States . If you can get to one – do, and don’t miss the Lombo!

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