Welcoming Fogo De Chao To The Burbs

Fogo De Chao at Downtown Summerlin
Fogo De Chao at Downtown Summerlin

Fogo De Chao just opened a new location in the suburbs of Vegas (Summerlin) and I was happy to greet the restaurant when it opened. The newest location for Fogo De Chao in Vegas is at shopping complex Downtown Summerlin. (Unrelated to Fogo, Downtown Summerlin is quickly becoming my go to dining location when I’m looking for somewhere to grab a bite.)

Fogo De Chao is a chain of Brazilian steakhouses with locations all over the US, Brazil and one in Mexico. Brazilian steakhouses were in the doghouse with me until a recent visit to Via Brasil. That dinner gave me faith that the idea of “gimme all of the meats” could be delicious and not make me feel ill.

Fogo De Chao
Gimme all of the meats

This was my first visit to Fogo De Chao and it did not disappoint.

I was invited to the ribbon cutting and grand opening preview which was quite the experience. It seemed as though the entire staff for the restaurant was working on this night. That was a blessing and a curse. The service was almost too fast and too attentive. Let me explain.

When you order a rodizio style meal the servers will bring you food when the round sign above is on the green side and stop when it’s red. It’s nice to be able to breathe a minute before having a new piece of meat. We actually had to use the red side on this preview night – a lot.

There were so many people working that the service was beyond great and almost too fast. (Awww…too much meat being brought to me too quickly. Call the wahmbulance. I know.) That’s not the worst thing in the world but it wasn’t perfect.

Fogo De Chao - The Meat Service Begins
Fogo De Chao – The Meat Service Begins

Service with a smile…again! Remember this guy at Via Brasil?

Fogo De Chao has 6 cuts of beef on their menu and a variety of chicken, pork and lamb. Looking back I think I had every piece of meat that they offered. The Beef Ancho (ribeye) and Fraldinha (Bottom Sirloin) were probably my favorite items on the menu.

The full churrasco dinner is $49.95 and includes the market table/salad bar. I tend to avoid the market table as I’d rather use that space in my tummy for meat.

The same churrasco for lunch during the week is only $32.95. That’s a great deal if you don’t mind eating such a large meal in the middle of the day.

Note, prices at the Summerlin Fogo De Chao are $2 cheaper than the other Las Vegas location.

Fogo De Chao - Molten Chocolate Cake
Fogo De Chao – Molten Chocolate Cake

I’m not normally a dessert person but after a little post dinner chit-chat and too much delicious coffee it seemed like the thing to do. The (rare) beautiful picture above does the molten chocolate cake justice. This was a perfect way to end the evening.

The food and service at Fogo De Chao were both excellent but the atmosphere in the massive space left something to be desired.

The food made me think I was eating at a Brazilian steakhouse but the room made me feel as though I could have been eating any food anywhere. I guess that’s the difference between a chain restaurant like Fogo De Chao and an independently operated restaurant like Via Brasil.

Both Brazilian steakhouses have good food but have a different way of presenting it. There’s nothing wrong with having different options for different moods.

I certainly wouldn’t say no to visiting Fogo De Chao because of vibe from a restaurant preview night. I generally visit a restaurant to eat good food. Chances are that a return to Fogo De Chao will be in my future.

Checking Out Via Brasil

Via Brasil Las Vegas Rodizio
Via Brasil Rodizio

After a couple of bad experiences at a Brazilian Steakhouse in the past I decided to ignore the Brazilian Steakhouse that’s around the block from my house. When I moved to Las Vegas my feelings against Brazilian Steakhouses were very negative. I basically forced myself to forget that Via Brasil existed even though I pass it almost every day. That changed about a month ago when it was I saw Via Brasil in an email.

It’s easy for me to forget about restaurants that aren’t in casinos. I’m in a casino a few times a week and will usually eat at a casino restaurant if I’m not in the mood to eat at home. A couple of weeks ago I finally decided to drive around the block to a restaurant I’ve neglected for years and I’m glad I did.

Via Brasil Las Vegas More Meat
Via Brasil: More Meat

The concept of a rodizio at a Brazilian steakhouse should be up everyone’s ally. It’s all the meat you can eat for one price. Via Brasil’s rodizio menu’s start at $39.99 (15 meats) but we went for the Rodizio Sterling Menu with costs $49.99. Check out the menu of meats:

1. Picanha (Top Sirloin)
2. Prime Rib
3. Chicken Drumsticks
4. Flank Steak
5. Brazilian Pork
6. Brazilian Sausage
7. Tri-Tip
8. Garlic Steak
9. Sweet & Tangy Chicken
10. Turkey wrapped in Bacon
11. Salmon
12. Filet Wrapped in Bacon
13. Chicken Breast*
14. Chicken Hearts*
15. Beef Short Ribs
16. BBQ Baby Back Pork Ribs
17. NY Steak
18. Porterhouse
19. Leg of Lamb
20. Lamb Chops
21. Grilled Shrimp

Plus

All Dinner Menus come with choice of 18 Made-To-Order Sides served family style and a salad bar. Since those are usually foods that get in the way of the meats we only shared a couple of sides and focused on the meat. That’s a positive EV move for any all you can eat deal.

I don’t eat fish and I don’t eat hearts so I probably had 18 different meats. Let me repeat that I ate 18 DIFFERENT MEATS. Here’s a sample:

Via Brasil Las Vegas Meats
Via Brasil Las Vegas Meats

The sliced Beef Short Rib at the bottom of the photo was probably the best meat of all. It melted on my tongue. I could probably eat a pound of that alone. (Please no comments on the picture of the chicken)

To my surprise the “No More Meat” sign appeared repeatedly throughout the night. I didn’t expect to use it until I was about to pass out from too much food. However…

Via Brasil Las Vegas - Service With A Smile
Via Brasil – Service With A Smile

…the service was so fast that we needed to stop the incoming meat so we could eat for and breath for a few minutes. More important than the fast service was the knowledge of every piece of meat by the staff. There wasn’t a piece of meat that wasn’t perfectly described.

That smile above is as infectious as the delicious meats coming by every few minutes. Every table at Via Brasil was having a great time and laughing. Fidel (not shown) was our head waiter and could not have been nicer or done a better job explaining the different foods available.

Dinner wrapped up with a decent cup of coffee and some ice cream.

The reason I avoided Via Brasil was because previous Brazilian Steakhouse meals left me feeling bloated and not well the next morning. Maybe the meats weren’t cooked properly or maybe they had too much salt.

Via Brasil tasted great and I felt like a million bucks after dinner despite a little gas. I felt great the next day. The day after I was ready to return to Via Brasil.

A rodizio meal at a Brazilian steakhouse isn’t the kind of meal you want all the time. While the food might be delicious there’s just too much food to eat regularly. Unlike some other Brazilian steakhouses you don’t have to eat a rodizio meal at Via Brasil. They have normal meals, happy hour, cookouts, brunch and can be a normal restaurant if that’s the experience you prefer. In fact, my next visit will probably be for Happy Hour.

Follow Via Brasil on twitter to see what specials or events they have coming up.

Disclaimer: This was a rare comp meal but my thoughts are how I really feel.