Last month I got invited to the soft-opening of the Brazilian steakhouse, Fogo de Chao, pronounced fo-go dèe shoun. Located in the old Nike Town building in downtown Portland. I'd never been to a Brazilian steakhouse, so I didn't know about the whole "dining experience", basically I didn't know what I was getting myself into, haha.
The staff couldn't have been any friendlier. Serious. They make sure that you have everything, I mean everything. You can't even sit back down without someone rushing to your side to push your seat in for you.
Before you even get to start your dining experience you can take a visit to the very extensive salad bar. But be warned, don't fill up here, you have more food than you know what to do with coming your way very soon. While we were at the salad bar, lightly filling up our plates, we came back to the most delicious "pão de queijo" (warm cheese bread) and a number of other side dishes like polenta sticks, garlic mashed potatoes and fried plantains at our table. I'm thinking hmmm, I'm getting close to being full already (oops!) and we haven't even got to the real experience of this restaurant yet! But here it comes...
The dining experience is based on the centuries-old gaucho tradition known as "churrasco", roasting meats over pits of open fire. Operating under the unique service concept of "espeto corrido" (which translates to “continuous service” in Portuguese), Brazilian-trained gaucho chefs present and slice 16 different cuts of meat table side from roasting skewers. Each person at your table is given a "disc". Green on one side, red on the other. Basically a stop and go signal for the gaucho chefs. This concept really allows you to enjoy your meal at your own place by taking breaks when you need it, and trust me, you need it :) My favorites meats were: the Picanha (Top Sirloin) and the Filet Mignon. But really everything was delicious.
*Me and a guest were offered a complimentary dinner as part of their soft opening. All opinions are my own.