January 4, 2009

Fogo de Chao - Almost Entirely Gluten-Free

Nate and I have been interested in going to Fogo de Chao for awhile, especially since we heard almost everything is gluten-free. The only two items that are not gluten-free are the wheat bread and tabbouleh which are both located at the salad bar.

We started with the salad bar that included large asparagus spears, roasted peppers, salmon, etc. Nate patiently waited for me me to finish my salad but I told him to go ahead and start with the meat. Each person has a disk which will control when they are offered meat. Within 10 seconds of flipping his disk from red to green a Gaucho Chef appeared at our table offering some meat. As soon as he left three more Gaucho Chefs appeared one after another and Nate quickly turned his disk back to red so he could enjoy his meal. Shortly after I switched my disk to green and received the same prompt service.

They offer 15 different kinds of meat. Items you can choose from include a top sirloin, pork ribs, leg of lamb. Your server will also bring some traditional side dishes of mashed potatoes, fried bananas and crispy polenta which they refill as necessary. Nate loves mashed potatoes but this time he barely touched them since there were so many other items to enjoy.

One would think that Nate's favorite part of the meal would have been the assortment of meats. His favorite by far was actually the cheese bread. Their famous Pao de Quiejo cheesebread is served warm and replenished throughout the meal. The cheese bread is gluten-free and made of tapioca flour. It is a lot like the Chebe bread. Usually I gorge myself on bread while Nate waits patiently for the meal. For a change it was nice to have the bread automatically gluten-free and not have to ask for a separate basket. Our waiter commented that Nate was enjoying the bread so I explained to him that this was a treat because he usually can't eat the bread. Then he offered to bring us 2 baskets of bread. Nate declined his offer.

We decided to go for lunch on one of our days off since lunch is about half the price of dinner. For lunch you can expect to pay around $20-$30. Those with a lighter appetite can choose just the salad bar. If you are going for dinner it ranges around $40-$50 not including drinks and dessert. Prices vary by city. While it is on the spendier side, the combination of great food and wonerful service make it worth it for a nice treat.

As with any restaurant menu items may change or vary by location so feel free to ask if you have concerns regarding ingredients.


Claire said...

thanks for posting this--it's really helpful. We're trying to decide whether to go there to celebrate my son's 15th birthday (he has Celiac Disease).

Anonymous said...

We love Fogo for special occasions because of the gluten freeness. If you put that you have an alergy on your online reservation they will be ready with the GF bread and the small list of items that contain gluten. We were told that the chicken legs are marinated in beer and are the one meat to avoid.