In a city full of vegans and plant-based diets, I go back and forth between embracing it and craving red meat. This past week I went to Fogo de Chao to try out their new fall menu additions, and for a restaurant known for its meat, they have some amazing vegetarian dishes on the salad bar. New to the menu for the fall is butternut and kale salad, butternut squash soup, carrot ginger soup, miso-glazed roast sweet potatoes, and a pear and endive salad to go with a special cut of New York Strip Steak. To drink, we had a red blend from Vik Winery in Chile called “Eulila”. This wine is only available at Fogo de Chao and named for a long-time Fogo de Chao employee in the US who joined the company early on as a Portuguese translator for the founders.
If you haven’t experienced Fogo de Chao before, the meal starts at the salad bar which is filled with everything from charcuterie to chilled grilled veggies and side dishes like potato salad or apple salad. The selection of fresh meats and cheeses paired with grilled zucchini reminds me of the breakfast buffets offered when I traveled to Croatia earlier this year. The salad bar is all very simple but very well done. If you aren’t in the mood for meat, you could go back a few times and it would make a great meal, but that is not the typical visit to Fogo de Chao.
After salad, the real fun begins as waiters dressed as gauchos walk from table to table carving a selection of meats right off the spit. I think there are close to 15 options including beef filet, top sirloin, as well as various types of lamb, pork, and chicken options. The New York Strip steak was the most flavorful followed by the spicy pork sausage and the pork picanha. They bring around little slices of grilled cheese drizzled with honey which are not to be missed. For dessert, the Tres Leches Cake is light and fluffy with no-too-sweet milk drizzled on top.
More Fall Flavors
I have a serious obsession with butternut squash anything so if you are anything like me, here are a few other great dishes in the area.
Butternut Squash & Ricotta Pizza at Urth Caffe, various locations
Autumn Harvest Pumpkin Soup at Spago, Beverly Hills
Tortelli di Zucca, homemade ravioli filled with pumpkin in a sage butter sauce at Giorgio Baldi, Pacific Palisades/Santa Monica
Roasted Vegetables: Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, carrots, butternut squash in a Grain Bowl at Cava, various locations