Cheap Bastard

At Fogo de Chão, Life Is a Grand Meat Parade

The dream of the '90s is alive and well in Addison's Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse on a Saturday night. Turtlenecked parents toast their daughter for kicking ass in the school play. A grandmother celebrates her 87th birthday with three generations of family and a store-bought ice cream cake. First-daters play with their permed hair and giggle as they hork down filet mignon. The décor and population in here are so not-at-all-ironically 1990s amazing, you half expect someone to run into the dining room cheering, "The Dream Team just won gold!" Everyone here is happy. Because Fogo de Chão isn't your everyday dinner destination. This is a celebrationstaurant, bitches.

Taking someone to Fogo de Chão says, "I think that you are very special. So special, in fact, that I want to give you a meat parade."

"Welcome to Fogo de Chão!" your server will say to you, mouth smiling, eyes dead, "Have y'all been here before?" Nope. "OK, well in that case, let me explain the way dinner works here." Spoiler: It's a salad bar followed by a seated meat buffet for the lazy.

Smiling Dead Eyes will tell you, "Our salad bar offers smoked salmon, giant asparagus ..." and other green things that lots of other people have breathed on.

Her second attempt to fill you up with not-meat will arrive at your table in the form of cheesy bread, crispy polenta, caramelized bananas and garlic mashed potatoes with chives and cheese because America.

"When you're ready for the meats, you flip your coaster over to the green side and then servers will come to your table with skewers of meat until you turn the coaster to the red side." Fancy. Just like Pancho's.

You flip your coaster to green.

Skewer Man No. 1 immediately shoves a chicken skewer in your personal space. Yet another test. Do not be chickened. Not even bacon-chickened. Hold out for the more expensive cuts. They're at the end of the meat parade, just like all the best parade balloons.

Speaking of cuts, do not get stabbed because you thought it was a good idea to give your server some of that shitty, whiny diner "Is this what you call service? My limitless water's been empty for three minutes! Your 15 percent tip just got crappier," passive-aggressive bitching. Servers have more than one weapon on their persons.

Enjoy your time at Fogo de Chão. Be sure to chug the atmosphere. Smells like joy and meat sweats had a baby. It's wonderful.

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Alice Laussade writes about food, kids, music, and anything else she finds to be completely ridiculous. She created and hosts the Dallas event, Meat Fight, which is a barbecue competition and fundraiser that benefits the National MS Society. Last year, the event raised $100,000 for people living with MS, and 750 people could be seen shoving sausage links into their faces. And one time, she won a James Beard Award for Humor in Writing. That was pretty cool.
Contact: Alice Laussade