surf globally, eat locally
December 2012

MEAT MARKET: Fogo de Chao
Brings an upscale Brazilian steakhouse to Boston
By Scott Kearnan




… plus, three more stops for a Back Bay bachelor party.
Loosen your belt buckle. It’s time.

No, not for that – get your mind out of the gutter, gentlemen. With Thanksgiving upon us, and the winter holidays right behind, ‘tis the season for overeating. It’s time to succumb to food comas so long and deep, those Sugar Plum Fairies will be dancing a full performance of Swan Lake in your head. (While the turkey, casseroles, and copious amounts of wine battle to the death in your stomach.)

But once you’ve had it up to your tonsils with stuffing and corn bread, take heart. Boston just scored the latest outpost of a Southern Brazilian steakhouse that has a much more interesting approach to all-you-can-eat style dining. With its November opening, Fogo de Chao (200 Dartmouth Street; Boston; 617-585-6300; fogodechao.com) takes over the Copley Square location that, until last year, belonged to The Palm steakhouse. As with brands like The Palm and Del Frisco’s (which opened its first Boston location in the Seaport last year) Fogo de Chao takes a fine dining approach to chain restaurants, offering an accessible yet still upscale experience. But whereas those spots take the approach of a traditional American steakhouse, Fogo de Chao is a churrascaria: a Brazilian steakhouse based on the gaucho tradition of roasting meats over pits of open fire.

And basically, if you’re looking to host a wheel-and-deal meeting between bone-crushing, corporate alpha males – or even better, an actually respectable bachelor party – you’ve found a new favorite spot.

Here’s the concept, and it’s a blissfully brainless one that even grunting, monosyllabic cavemen like you and your best buds can comprehend. (We mean that in the best way possible. I love you, man!)

Step one: pull up a seat.

Step two: pay a single price. ($28.50 at lunch, $46.50 at dinner.)

Step three: summon the meat. Every guest gets a colored chip that is green on one side, red on the other. Turn the chip green side up, and skewer-wielding servers will start to descend, each ready to slice you one of the 16 different cuts of meat floating around the dining room. (So, this is what heaven is like.) There’s bacon-wrapped filet mignon, rib eye, chicken, lamb, linguica, and more. Plus sides like crispy hot polenta, caramelized bananas, and pao de queijo, a warm cheese bread. When you need a break, signal so by flipping your chip red side up.

Step four: repeat Step Three. Then repeat it again. Continue until you can no linger see straight, and/or begin to make barnyard noises.

Step five: hit the salad bar. Actually, feel free to insert this anywhere after step two. You’ll need a break from the heavy, savory meats – and besides, this isn’t exactly rabbit food. The massive bar has over 30 selections, including plenty of fresh veggies – from artichoke bottoms to sun-dried tomatoes. But it’s also stocked with many imported cheeses and (you guessed it!) more meat: prosciutto, Italian salami, smoked salmon and more.

Step six: polish off your plate with dessert with one of six desserts, and drink down your last caipirinha.

The restaurant works well for anytime you’re looking for a different kind of dining experience – or just want to feel like you’re single-handedly responsible for masticating Old MacDonald’s entire farm. But if you’re looking for a place to plan a bachelor party, it’s an especially appropriate spot. The massive, 320-seat dining is great for groups, and there’s a handsome, maple- and amber-hued décor. The massive wall of windows overlooks Boston’s Back Bay ‘hood, and the wine list boasts over 200 labels. And while the food is refined the atmosphere is boisterous – this is, after all, still a place where humungous skewers of meat are constantly sliced and diced in front of your slobbering mouth.

Carnivores, you’ve found a perfect soul mate.

Best for a Boys Night Out:
Want a few other stops for a bachelor party – or general gent-friendly shenanigans – that will let you have fun without reducing you to the debauchery of your frat days? Hit up these spots, all within just a few blocks of Fogo de Chao.

Cafeteria
(279A Newbury Street; Boston; 617-537-2233; cafeteriaboston.com)

Before you start churning through your meaty main courses, lubricate your engine with drinks here. The sleek spot is a favorite with a certain subset of the moneyed international set, so you may find yourself rolling your eyes at the occasional cologne-drenched Son of an Oil Baron. But it’s also a favorite among local models, self-professed fashionistas, and other glittery girls. So you may also find yourself ogling your next dinner date. And in November, Cafeteria opened a second, upstairs bar area – so there’s even more room for those beautiful social butterflies to flit.

Cigar Masters
(745 Boylston Street, Boston, 617-266-4400, cigarmasters.com)

After a dinner like that, you’ll feel like a fat cat – so you might as well smoke like one, too. Light up a stogie at one of the only remaining smoking establishments in the city. (And for good reason, but still – it’s good to be bad now and then.) Dimly lit and full of lush leather armchairs that you’ll wish you could strap to your back and haul back to your pad, this is a definitive mancave. Choose a cigar from the walk-in humidor, order up a beer or port wine, kick back with your pals, and pretend you’re finally all those assholes in the corner offices that you secretly hate, when you’re not grinning like an idiot and trying to impress them at company golf outings. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. For a night, anyway.

Storyville
(90 Exeter Street; Boston; 617-236-1134; storyvilleboston.com).

Storyville is named after the Boston jazz club that once stood here – a famous space that hosted legends like Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Duke Ellington. Sadly, we missed that era. But opened just last year, this incarnation of Storyville still packs in dancing crowds with its dim, sexy vibe inspired by New Orleans’ Red Light District. (Think beaucoup fleur-de-lis and a crimson-soaked “Bordello Room.”) Plus, it’s home to Bill Codman (known around town as “English Bill”), who is considered one of Boston’s best mixologists.

Cheers, lads!







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