Miami Spice Pick #3: Fogo de Chao
If you haven’t been to a Brazilian Churrascaria (rodizio steakhouse) , don’t miss Fogo de Chao at 836 1st St. in Miami Beach , and especially now since it’s participating in Miami Spice. Rodizio means “rotation” and it refers to waiters bringing a wave of meats. But before the meats, I’ll start with the generous, very fresh salad bar (no salads here that look and taste like they’ve been recycled for days) with everything from giant asparagus, hearts of palm, and fresh buffalo mozzarella to smoked salmon, broccoli, assorted cheeses and salad mixings. It’s a meal in itself. And then oh those flavorful meats – ten varieties ranging from filet mignon and sirloin to rib eye (my favorite), lamb chops, sausage, pork, chicken and more. Waiters bring the fire-roasted meats on skewers, one at a time, the meat at your desired level of doneness ,and slice it for you at tableside. And yes, it’s all you can eat.They use just the right quantity of sea salt, no sauces, so their high quality of meat can shine through. All of this is accompanied by caramelized bananas that melt in your mouth, mashed potatoes, polenta and the distinctly Brazilian pao de queijo (cheese bread), hot out of the oven. There’s a choice of desserts too. Service is friendly, tables with white tablecloths (yes, tablecloths) are well spaced out, and the noise level is moderate, making for a good ambiance for conversation. Before dinner stop at the bar and sample their “caipirinhas”, Brazil’s national cocktail made with cachaca (sugar cane rum), sugar and lime. Here it was perfectly sweet and tart, served in a frosty glass. Dinner is obviously a great value at $39 (plus tax and gratuity), and offers the quality to match. Go, but with a big appetite.