Brazilian Steakhouse Fogo de Chão Opens in Reston Town Center
I have always loved a Brazilian steakhouse, and when I heard that Fogo de Chão had just opened their new Reston, Virginia location, I had to go. If you are not familiar with the concept, Fogo de Chão is a Brazilian features all-you-can-eat steakhouse where meats are cooked over an open fire and served tableside, along with a full buffet and optional a la carte items.
Open-Air Churrasco Grill
Located in Reston Town Center, Fogo de Chão features an open-air churrasco grill where guests can dine and watch gaucho chefs demonstrating the centuries-old culinary art of churrasco, the Portuguese and Spanish name for grilled meat and a prominent feature in the cuisines of Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina.
In the grill, the chefs expertly cut, season and fire-roast the high-quality meats over an open flame. You can choose from a variety of flavors ranging from premium filet mignon and bone-in cowboy ribeye; beef ribs and lamb chops; and the house specialties of Picanha (the prime cut of the top sirloin) and Fraidinha (bottom sirloin with strong marbling and a robust flavor).
To further enhance your dining experience, Fogo de Chão offers premium cuts to the churrasco experience. Sized to share with four or more people, the Indulgent Cuts include a 20-ounce Wagyu New York Strip, 24-ounce Wagyu Ancho Ribeye and a 36-ounce Dry-aged Tomahawk Long Bone Ribeye. These cuts, as well as a Chilled Lobster, Shrimp and Seafood Tower appetizer can be added on a la carte to your Fogo experience.
Seasonal Market Table
The Seasonal Market Table & Feijoada Bar, inspired by the kitchen tables on the farms of Southern Brazil, is loaded with fresh salads and vegetables, imported charcuterie, cheeses and soup, all artfully displayed to please both the eye and the palate. The Market Table is naturally gluten-free and filled with Paleo-friendly proteins, high-fiber sides and vegetarian options.
Our favorites on the Market Table included the beet and orange salad, charcuterie meats and cheeses, the freshly-prepared Brazilian vinaigrette on a variety of greens, and the Brazilian potato salad and street corn—and of course, the strips of crispy black pepper candied bacon.
As you enter the restaurant, you’ll notice a crowd gathered around the friendly Bar Fogo enjoying smaller, sharable plates, Brazilian-inspired cocktails and some of the restaurant’s award-winning South American wines. Happy Hour is available all day, with $6 Brazilian beers, $7 South American wines (bottles are always 50% off!) and $9 craft cocktails.
We were told that the bartenders here trained at the Hard Rock Café Punta Cana and are known for their behind-the-bar tricks. Don’t miss this show, or your opportunity to try their Caipirinha cocktail and other signature Brazilian concoctions.
The Fogo Experience
As part of the Fogo concept, servers move around the restaurant with various meats on skewers, slicing off meats onto customers’ plates. This serving style is called espeto corrido or rodizio.
At each table setting is a set of tongs and a two-sided cardboard disk with the green side saying “Yes, Please” and the red side saying “No Thanks.” If you want the servers to continue bringing around their steaks, pork, sausage and chicken, keep showing the “Yes” side. If you do not want additional meats, turn the disk over to the “No” side. You’ll see the servers checking tables as they round the dining rooms. Use your tongs to grab the thinly-sliced beef as it is carved from the skewer, and place it onto your plate. It’s OK to ask for seconds while they’re there! Side dishes like caramelized bananas and mashed potatoes will be delivered to your table to share.
Remember to save room for dessert. Some of the most popular options include a large slice of chocolate molten lava cake covered with ganache, and the crème de papaya served with French vanilla ice cream and a cinnamon stick.
Savor the Upscale Experience in the Next Level Lounge
For an upscale experience at Fogo de Chão, travel to the luxurious, semi-private Next Level Lounge on the mezzanine level to enjoy carefully-selected premium bourbon and whiskey, South American wines and hand-rolled cigars. If you’re in the mood for a splurge, ask for the Richard Hennessy Cognac, sold by the ounce and starting at the half ounce, or the Remy Martin Louis XIII Cognac.
Other features of the Reston location include an outdoor dining patio, valet parking, walls of wine displays, and dry-aged meat lockers for in-house aging. The Next Level Lounge and several downstairs spaces can be rented out for meetings or special events.
The History of Fogo de Chão
The concept for Fogo de Chão began in 1975 when the founding brothers, Arri and Jair Coser, left the countryside of the Rio Grande do Sul to travel to Rio and São Paulo for formal churrasqueiro training. In 1979, they opened their first restaurant in the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre, and by 1997 the concept reached the United States, with the first US restaurant opening near Dallas, Texas. As of 2022, the chain had more than 70 locations throughout the world.
An interesting addition came when the Texas-based agri-tech company HerdX partnered with Fogo de Chão in 2019 to use blockchain technology and digital tagging to trace the provenance of the beef served. Diners can scan in a HerdX-generated code to know the name and location of the ranch where the cattle were raised.
Five Locations in the DMV
The Reston location of Fogo de Chão is the chain’s fifth restaurant in the DMV area, and the second in Virginia, with the others located in Tysons, VA; Baltimore, MD; Newark, DE; and Washington DC. A North Bethesda, MD restaurant is slated to open in spring of 2023.
In addition to dinner ($61pp), Fogo de Chão offers weekday lunch ($43 for the full experience, or just $15 for the Market Table and Feijoada Bar alone), and a weekend Brazilian brunch ($46) offering the full churrasco experience, plus waffle and omelet stations. (Meals are free for children under 6; half price for ages 7-12). Check the website for special events like wine and cocktail tastings.
When you’re in the mood for a big, delicious meal and a wonderful experience, visit Reston’s latest restaurant—Fogo de Chão!
Fogo de Chão
11915 Democracy Drive
Reston, VA 20190
Photo credit: Mary Jeanne Cincotta and Linda Barrett