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Fogo de Chão – for Vegetarians

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There’s a joke that at Fogo de Chão you can fill up so much at the buffet that you have no room for meat.

We say, “so what!”  That would be fine.

The heavenly Fogo Feijoada Bar, featuring Brazil’s favorite dish, could make a meal in itself.  Traditional black bean stew  prepared with sausage is offered in gleaming individual chaffers along with fluffy white rice.   A condiment station allows you to season it to your liking with fresh orange, malagueta hot sauce and farofa, baked yuca flour with bacon.

The expansive seasonal Market Table —   about 12 by 18 feet — Fogo de Chão locations hold a multitude of big platters, including seasonal dishes, others back by popular demand.  We love the feeling of being in a traditional restaurant that makes a visit feel festive whether it is lunch or dinner, and one where you can choose as much as you like to eat.

One helping of the Winter Citrus Salad was not nearly enough.  We ate this royal citrus salad as a first and as a last course of our meal.  Others favored this dish as well.  The platter kept emptying and we had to wait because the labor intensive dish is made fresh each time.

This light, flavorful mixture features ruby red grapefruit , oranges, tangerines and blood oranges, finished off with a drizzle of agave syrup and sprigs of fresh mint.  The grapefruit has a slight tartness to it but is not at all the mouth-puckering kind.

 

Roasted Butternut Squash and Cranberry Salad features butternut squash roasted with cinnamon,  then tossed with roasted cranberries, honey, and feta cheese.

Butternut Squash Soup:  One seasonal favorite that is NOT pumpkin is the butternut squash squash soup, enhanced with sweet potatoes and coconut milk. The spices in this warm, naturally vegan soup lend a pleasing heat.    It is just savory and  sweet enough to satisfy on a cool day or a hot day.

Weekday lunch starts at $15, and there is a weekend Brazilian Brunch. A newly enhanced Bar Fogo menu  features smaller, sharable plates, Brazilian-inspired cocktails and happy hour.

We also loved the Alamos Malbec, crafted to be flavorful, approachable and authentically Argentinian.  Alamos is rooted in the century-old history of the founding wine family of Argentina whose vineyards are at a high-elevation at the foot of the Andes.

The Alamos flagship wine, a rich and flavorful Argentinian Malbec, which thrives in Mendoza’s Uco Valley. The unique growing conditions give this medium body red incredibly concentrated fruit flavors of plum and blackberry.


  

The Salton Intense Brut created in Brazilian starts an evening off in a light, festive mood.  The blend of Chardonnay and Riesling made in the charmat method holds fragrant notes of citrus fruits and green apple, and tastes of fresh creamy tropical fruit, melon, pineapple flavors.

General Manager Leo Bauer (left) welcomes you at the door. His twin brother is downtown at the Fogo de Chão but Leo agrees that he is the more handsome.   For details, hours and locations, please see www.fogo.com.


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Author
Gerry Furth-Sides

Gerry Furth-Sides

Content Editor/Columnist

Photo-journalist Gerry Furth-Sides has been covering the ethnic and American culinary scene in California since it first came into prominence 25 years ago.