Brazilian steakhouses utilize that all-too-familiar U.S. restaurant theme: Eat until you can't consume any more.
Fogo de Chaoroughly meaning "ground fire," a reference to the gaucho method of roasting meats over an open fireis one of those steakhouses, with servers (themselves referred to as "gauchos") bringing various meats to your table as long as your card shows green. (If it shows red, that tells the gaucho to stop bringing meats.)
However, Fogo de Chao (including the one at 661 N. LaSalle St.; fogodechao.com ) has a LOT more than meats. Fall menu offerings include enticing items such as pear-and-arugula salad, hearty lentil soup and even seasonal hummus. (I know the meats are front and center for most attendees, but the buffetfilled with enough items to satisfy any vegetarian or vegandeserves some love, too.)
Regarding those meats, though, they're just as varied (and delicious) as I remember. Just a few of the mouth-watering options are picanha (prime part of the top sirloin), costela de porco (pork ribs), bone-in-beef ancho, filet mignon and lamb chops. (By the way, patrons can also request entrees such as Chilean sea bass and even cauliflower steak.) In addition, there are Brazilian side dishes such as cheese bread, crispy polenta and caramelized bananas.
And don't forget the desserts. You may not want to consume too much meat with post-entree items such as acai cheesecake, the ubiquitous molten lava cake and the sumptuous tres leches cake.
The Brazilian theme also extends to the cocktails, with Brazil's national drinkthe caipirinhaon full display with varieties such as the regular, cucumber mint and mango habanero. There are also beer and South American wines available.
Also, during this fall, Fogo will continue its long-time partnership with No Kid Hungry as part of its ongoing commitment to feeding the most vulnerable in the communities they serve and to help end childhood hunger in the United States. Guests who donate $5 to No Kid Hungry will receive a dining card valid for $25 off two full churrasco experiences on their next visit. (The cards are valid Sept. 19-Oct. 31.) Over the seven years of collaboration, Fogo has helped to provide over 7.6 million meals to No Kid Hungry. (It's enough to make this editor not really mind that it says "towards" instead of the correct "toward" on the Fogo card.)
Note: This visit was arranged.
More than 50 top Chicago chefsincluding many Michelin, James Beard and Bib Gourmand awardeeswill gather at The Celebrity Chef Ball on Friday, Oct. 14, 6-11 p.m., at The Geraghty, 2520 S. Hoyne Ave., to support homebound neighbors struggling with food insecurity.
Proceeds from the black tie-optional event will support Meals on Wheels Chicago in their mission to end hunger and isolation for seniors and people with disabilities.
Just a few of the chefs slated to take part are Andrew Zimmerman (Sepia/Proxi), Devon Quinn (Eden), Soo Ahn (Adalina), Justin Gomes (Travelle at the Langham), Mindy Gohr (Bittersweet Pastry Shop & Cafe), Tigist Reda (Demera) and Troy Jorge (Temporis).
Tickets are $400 each; visit www.mealsonwheelschicago.org/ccb.
And on Wed., Sept. 21, there will be the "Chicago Chefs Cook for Tigray" benefit, in partnership with HPN4Tigray.
For more than two years, the Ethiopian city of Tigray has been the center of a humanitarian crisis fueled by war and the denial of humanitarian aid. Since July 2021, there's been an enforced communications blackout, denied access to banking, and ethnic violence toward thousands of civilians.
The benefit will take place 6-9 p.m. at the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture, 3015 W. Division St., and is organized by chef Sarah Stegner, Eda Davidman, chef Tony Priolo and Darren Gestthe team behind "Chicago Chefs Cook for Ukraine," which raised more than $600,000 this past March.
Some of the chefs joining Demera chef/Tigray native Tigist Reda will be Art Smith (Reunion), Erick Williams (Virtue, Daisy's Po' Boy and Tavern), Dana Cree (Pretty Cool Ice Cream), RIck Bayless and Zach Steen (Frontera Grill), Tony Priolo (Piccolo Sogno) and Brian Jupiter (Frontier and Ina Mae).
Tickets are $150 per person and can be purchased at the door or by visiting givebutter.com/EXKQu4. Attire will be casual.
Receipts for this event will be issued by Health Professionals Network for Tigray (HPN4Tigray) which is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, non-religious, and non-partisan organization.