Fogo de Chão is not a conventional steakhouse. Instead of the typical slab of beef and two sides, guests at the Brazilian-founded company are treated to a seemingly unending parade of skewered, fire-roasted meats—pork, lamb, chicken, and practically every cut of beef you can think of, from filet mignon and top sirloin to bone-in ribeye.
Everything is sliced fresh and served hot at your table for one fixed fee. The limitless carnal barrage will only stop when you say so.
If you’re feeling particularly fancy—and extremely hungry—you can even enhance your meal by ordering one of the restaurant’s “indulgent cuts” à la carte for an additional cost, such as the 32-ounce dry-aged tomahawk ribeye.
Alternatively, you may go all out and sample the newest and most expensive steak on the menu: a 30-ounce Wagyu porterhouse.
“The quality of this product is amazing,” says chef Antonio Iocchi, Fogo’s senior vice president of global food and beverage innovation.
Wagyu is currently the most desirable type of beef on the planet, commanding a high price due to its high fat content, ultra-tender texture, and buttery flavor.
Fogo has been offering Wagyu beef for several years, starting with a 20-ounce strip and then a 24-ounce ribeye.
According to Iocchi, the fast-growing restaurant firm, which has 62 established sites in the United States (and counting), has quickly become one of the largest distributors of Wagyu beef in the country.
The new porterhouse, however, is the largest and most expensive Wagyu cut offered by the restaurant to date.
The beef is imported from Australia. According to Iocchi, the quality is comparable to Japanese A5 Wagyu, the highest grade in Japan’s closely regulated cattle industry. “It is definitely the highest-quality offering that we have,” he said.
The porterhouse, like Fogo’s other high-end steaks, is cut tableside and served on a heated Himalayan salt block, which keeps the meat warm as you eat.
On Wednesday, Fogo gave Eat This, Not That! an exclusive first taste of its gigantic new steak, which can serve four or more people.
The porterhouse arrived attractively charred exterior and sparkling with liquid, with a deep ruby red color on the inside. It was a mix of filet and strip with a monstrous t-shaped bone in the center.
Long after it had been sliced, the meat sizzled on the salt block, visible bubbles forming. It’s one of the most delicate and delectable steaks this reporter has ever had.
The porterhouse, which is currently available for a short time, costs $175 in New York City but significantly less in other places. Despite this, Iocchi believes it’s a reasonable bargain for such a high-quality cut.
“If you go to any other steakhouse, it will be in the $300 range,” he says, emphasizing that Fogo can afford to charge less due to cost savings gained from the vast volume of its Wagyu business.
With the holidays approaching, the chef believes that guests will be more willing to invest on such a high-quality steak.
“During the holidays, people maybe want to indulge a little bit,” he said. “It’s a special time of the year, so that is the perfect time for us to offer something like that at an incredible-value price for the quality of the product.”
According to Reuters, the new menu item comes at a time when the Dallas-based company is experiencing significant growth after being acquired by investment firm Bain Capital in August.
Fogo launched two new sites in California this fall, and a third will open next week in Emeryville, a Bay Area municipality.
It also established a new restaurant in Irving, Texas, in October, its 80th worldwide. Additional new restaurants are planned for Seattle, New York, Orlando, Florida, and Richmond, Virginia.
“We’ve been in a crescendo mode,” says Iocchi, who attributes the brand’s burgeoning appeal to the breadth of its smorgasbord-style churrasco program, which, at $60 to $75, may cost the same as a single steak at other elite restaurants. “There’s no comparison with any other steakhouse.”