BEST SALAD BAR Phoenix 2003 - Fogo e Brasa
A salad bar is vegetables, right? Sure, unless you're in Brazil, where it's everything and anything that a creative chef can fit onto a long, self-service table. Or unless you're at Fogo e Brasa, a Brazilian restaurant where the lavish salad bar spans more than two dozen exotic dishes. Yes, there's traditional lettuce and such. But there are also king crab legs, shrimp, octopus, mussels, crab, pastas, exotic cheeses (feta with red and yellow tomatoes, or expensive Parmigiano-Reggiano) and anchovies. Calamari are a marvel in themselves (they're served in marinated rings, and as rolled steaks stuffed with peppers or tuna). When it does come to veggies, Fogo e Brasa doesn't cut any corners. There are lots of high-end options, like artichoke hearts, vibrant wild mushroom salad, marinated and grilled Portobello mushrooms, marinated green beans, grilled asparagus and hearts of palm. Several hot dishes make this buffet a complete meal, changing per the chef's whim, but perhaps including something like swordfish in coconut sauce, and always featuring a complimentary basket of fresh-baked mini-cheese rolls. The display is included with dinner, but now can be purchased separately, too. When it comes to salads, Fogo e Brasa is raising the bar.