2020 UPDATE: The state of Pennsylvania is under a stay-at-home order until May 8, 2020; however, you are still able to enjoy your favorites from Fogo de Chao Pittsburgh. While you won’t experience the atmosphere that I described below, you can bring the taste sensations right to your home. Check out their catering options, including the Full Churrasco Grill At Home experience for 6 OR the fully cooked Celebration Experince for four. These look SOOOOO good! Stay well, friends.
I was invited to a media opening night of Fogo de Chao Pittsburgh in exchange for sharing my experience. All opinions are 100% my own.
Fogo de Chao Pittsburgh
Is there a better date night location for Greg and I than a Brazilian Steakhouse? The answer is nope. When I told him that I’d be treating him to dinner at an all-you-can-eat meat restaurant in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh, he was all in.
Located at the Luminere building (Oliver and Smithfield Streets, Pittsburgh), Fogo de Chao Pittsburgh is going to attract many couples for date nights, families for celebrations, and groups for events. Fogo de Chao is a chain Brazilian steakhouse, but if I didn’t tell you that, you probably wouldn’t realize it when you first step into the building.
The Bar Experience
We actually arrived on time to an event, early even, which was perfect because it gave us a chance to check out the front of house bar. I’m on a Keto lifestyle (hence my excitement for a night of meat) and didn’t indulge in the custom cocktails even though they looked really cool.
Like the Carmelized Pineapple Old Fashioned. I watched on as a bartender carmelized the pineapples and tried not to think about how amazing they’d be with the cane sugar.
There is a Happy Hour at the bar Monday to Friday from 4:30pm-6:30pm with Brazilian Bites and Beers, wines, and Brazilian inspired cocktails like the one created above.
Before I dive in to tell you about the food, I have to stop and tell you about the service. It was so good, we had to ask the Manager over to thank him for the experience. From the host station to the bartenders, to the wait staff and Gauchos, not one person disappointed us. They worked together as a team like magic.
I’ll let Greg describe it to you – “The operation is pretty fluid, seamless. Seems like the staff is operating in a hive mind fashion. So much going on at once but they impressively keep it together.”
Incredible. We’ve been to Brazilian steakhouses two other times (in Aruba and Myrtle Beach) but never felt this connected to the team that was there to make us happy at Fogo de Chao Pittsburgh. Once I told a gaucho how I liked my meat, they remembered. The gaucho with lamb knew not to ask me if I wanted it again after I told him I didn’t prefer the taste of lamb and would not like to try it – but he did remember to continue to visit Greg with the cuts of lamb. And another realized how much I loved the top sirloin and just kept bringing it on repeat. Amazing.
Dinner starts at the Market Table, a selection of fruits, veggies, salad, soup, and some cold cut meats and cheeses. It is modeled after the feasts that villages would have at harvest time, each family bringing to the table what they had grown and were proud of. I was particularly drawn to the different hot peppers and (no surprise) chorizo cuts. Bonus? EVERYTHING on the Market Table is gluten-free.
Back at the table, a basket of rolls has arrived. Greg noted that they were light and fluffy – a little thicker than a croissant – but not so thick that you might fill up if you had one before the meat. He cautions you to take it easy on the Market Table and rolls and/or don’t eat all day before. Because when you turn your token green…
bring on the meats. (via Churrasco style service)
And by meats I mean 17 glorious cuts of beef, pork, chicken, and lamb. (There are seafood options, but we didn’t experience those in our preview.) The Gauchos are quite vested in you enjoying it – and no surprise, as they are selecting it and part of the cooking process. They bring the rack of meat to the table and cut your choice of done-ness right in front of you.
Try not to be too anxious to use your tongs to grab the meat off and chow down while they are still there – I dare you. Or if you do, they’ll know how much you love it. (Someone might have had to be reminded to calm down her yinzer, we were on a fancy date, you know. That didn’t stop me from throwing up big praise hands more than once when I ate a cut of meat that I thoroughly enjoyed. No shame.)
The table also receives sharing sides – garlic mashed potatoes, polenta, and fried plantains. I can’t tell you how they were, but Greg made sure not a crumb was left behind. Two dipping sauces (one chimichurri, the other a delicious mystery to me) are also given.
When you are ready to “tap out” and have the meat take a break from coming to the table, turn the token red and the Gauchos will know you’re done (even if just “for now”).
After you’ve had your fill of food from the Market Table and Churrasco service, you can indulge in dessert (just ask your waitress) and/or coffee. I had to go with a coffee and yes, they had heavy whipping cream. Greg was tapped out, so I can’t tell you about the choices but I know from being nebby n’at they looked pretty darn amazing.
Will We Return?
Absolutely. I am already scheming a way to experience the brunch and another dinner. I want my parents to try it, and I think the kids would even enjoy (kids 6 and under eat free, seven to 12 are half price).
And of course I tried to scheme a way to change our carb-load pre-marathon dinner from the club to Fogo asked about the event spaces so I can convince my co-workers to come try for a future party. (There are three rooms, the biggest holds up to 100 guests, and you can enjoy the menu items and or get Churrasco service!)
Treat yourself and your family to this experience, it is absolutely a Pittsburgh must.
About Fogo de Chao
With 52 locations across the United States and others worldwide, Fogo de Chao has been around since 1972. If you are not lucky enough to be treated to the amazing service we experienced in Pittsburgh, add Fogo to your list of restaurants to look for while traveling (locate the nearest to you here).
Fogo de Chao Pittsburgh opens April 23 for seven days a week with lunch and dinner plus weekend brunch. Prices start at $15 for a lunch option (without churrasco experience) up to $48.95 for the experience described above. More details on this location available here.