NUNN IN THE OVEN
Fogo de Chao skewers the competition this spring
Sun. March 28, 2021 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn
The full-service Brazilian steakhouse Fogo de Chao is bouncing back into business and hopping into spring all at the same time. The churrascaria, known for roving waiters who serve a variety of meats on skewers tableside, is already presenting some new items to guests at the 661 N. LaSalle Boulevard location in Chicago.
The market table in the middle of the room now has a roped section to organize the line and transparent glass guards above the food to protect it. Hand sanitizer is located at the front as diners enter the restaurant and at the market table to keep germs away. While some eager patrons still have a tendency to overcrowd the salad line the night I visited, hopefully they will get the hang of it and slow down to match the current pace of the world in the future.
Another noticeable change in post COVID times is the flip cards normally on the table where guests have control of the gauchos bringing the skewers to the table. A green or red side of the card signaled to the workers when to approach the customer in the past. Currently, the emplyees interact more with questions or attempt to feed everyone all the time. It can be difficult to slow down with this constant frenetic activity, but the manager assured us that the cards will return one day. Perhaps a virtual card can be downloaded on an indiviudal's phone in the same way the menu is currently as an option. We are living in touchless times, so maybe a simple solution is just on the horizon to this problem. Just give me a Brazilian flag to wave them down when I feel the need for more meat!
The same attentive service was still found at Fogo at this visit and the hard work constantly pays off for this establishment. The place was busier than ever on a weekend night and with good reason. The bone-in beef ancho ribeye was simply unforgettable. After being aged for 21 days the flavor was out of this world with just a hint of the ancho pepper adding to this spring offering.
Don't skip the tomato mozzarella soup with a robust taste that will warm the soul after a long, cold Chicago winter. More spring items included the roasted eggplant that was simply a standout and the whipped ricotta cheese spread, ready to be paired with vegetables or bread.
If your stomach somehow stretches enough for dessert, the passion fruit mousse was decadent and robust. If you are a chocolate lover like me, the molten chocolate cake was a must try item. Several different gourmet coffees are available to wash it all down and don't leave without a strawberry hibiscus caipirinha that combines silver cachaca rum, hibiscus syrup, strawberries and lime together for a refreshing spring cocktail.
It's time to put a spring in your step, add some meat to your plate and dive into everything that Fogo de Chao has to offer in 2021. Visit FogodeChao.com for locations, hours and reservations today!