Chow Bella

Cafe: Fogo de Chao

Cheap, greasy and not all that good; that's Pancho's Mexican Buffet for you. Yet if there is one redeeming concept within this bastion of low-end comida, it's the magic flag. Raise it up and a waitress will bring you as many soggy enchiladas as you'd like. Genius!

Knowing that this magic flag trick also works (albeit with a colored plastic disc) at Fogo de Chao we thought our prayers had been answered. Now we could abuse a magic food-bearing signal to eat our fill of high-quality food. At least that's what we thought until we read this week's Cafe column.

Food Critic Michele Laudig on Fogo de Chao:

Dinner commenced with a trip to the salad bar, which didn't really impress me. Nothing wrong with it, per se -- everything was fresh and beautifully arranged -- I just expected more variety, more exotica, given the price of dinner. There were several kinds of dressing alongside the salad greens; humdrum mayo-based salads like tuna salad and apple salad; tabbouleh; soft, milky mozzarella balls, as well as Manchego and Parmesan cheeses; platters of prosciutto and salami; and heaping dishes of shiitake mushrooms, roasted peppers, asparagus, and artichoke bottoms. The only thing I could've filled up on was silky, thick slices of smoked salmon.

Side dishes were hit and miss, which was surprising. You'd assume that the restaurant wants you to eat as much starchy stuff as possible, right? Cheap carbs instead of fancy beef? They'll certainly deliver seconds, or even thirds, if you want it...full story