In a city where there’s constantly a hot new local restaurant popping up, the Brazilian steakhouse chain Fogo de Chao is my secret DC dining pleasure. But since Friday is National Caipirinha Day, it’s my duty to encourage you to visit, because Fogo will be serving $5 caipirinhas all day long!
For reference, caipirinhas are the official cocktail of Brazil, and feature cachaça (the native spirit of Brazil, distilled from pure cane sugar), freshly muddled limes and sugar.
Though DC can be an insular place, I shouldn’t have been surprised that everyone loves Fogo (pronounced fo-go dèe shoun). The place loads you up with meat. A lot of it. As much of it as you can eat. Waiters float through the dining room with one huge cut of meat, and will slice a rare or more well-done piece at your request. A red or green card lets them know when you need a break.
Each time I visit, everyone is there: people celebrating and people just out for drinks, people dressed to impress and tourists stopping in between tour stops. I’ve seen a group of Brazilians waiting for the particular cut of meat they want, waving away the waiters (gauchos) who proffer huge cuts of bottom sirloin, lamb, filet mignon, until just the right cut comes by. I’ve also seen a visiting basketball team sitting together at a long table, filling up on the all-you-can-eat Market Table as well as the cuts of meat. Later, I’ve compared notes about the “meat sweats” with a Lyft driver, who said he goes as part of a tradition with his friends once a quarter, leaving happy each time.
For whatever reason you choose, you really can’t go wrong. In DC’s foodie culture of “the next big thing,” Fogo stands as a stalwart of reliable dining for treating yourself. While dinner isn’t a bargain, it’s a fair price for such a huge meal. There are also ways you can stretch your dollar:
- On Wednesdays, South American wines are half off. Half. Off. I recently enjoyed the La Piu Belle from VIK, a partner winery in Argentina. It’s a blend of five different grapes, perfectly setting off the succulent red meats.
- Lunch starts at $15 for the Market Table, which includes “Fresh seasonal salads, exotic vegetables, imported cheeses, smoked salmon, cured meats, Fogo feijoada (traditional black bean stew with sausage) served with rice, fresh orange and farofa (baked yuca flour with bacon), seasonal soup, and more.”
- Happy Hour is from 4:30 – 6:30 and features $4 Brazilian beers and bites, and $6 wines.
So pick your occasion and make a reservation. The entire Fogo team is beyond gracious and will make you feel like you’ve made the trip all the way to Brazil.