With this blog, I like to highlight local restaurants or smaller franchises that are unique to Houston. I am breaking that rule for this post, because my experience at the new Fogo de Chao in the Woodlands was too exciting not to share! Fogo de Chao invited all of the members from the Houston Food Bloggers Collective to dinner on a day of our choice at the Woodlands location. It was such a great experience, for the reasons described below.
Location/Setup: Initially, I was reluctant to accept the invitation because the Woodlands is such a long drive. By the time I make it to the Woodlands, I always think might as well keep going to Dallas! I went ahead and said yes though because somehow Fogo de Chao is one celebrated franchise restaurant that I have never experienced! I grabbed my sister and a couple of girlfriends for what literally amounted to a road trip. The new Fogo is located at Hughes Landing a new area of the Woodlands filled with restaurants you have heard of like Del Frisco’s Grille, Local Pour and the Blue Fish. The restaurants all back up to the waterway which I imagine is beautiful in the daylight. As for the restaurant itself, it is gorgeous and grand. All that you would expect from a restaurant located in the Woodlands.
The DRINKS: Fogo De Chao has a dedicated Brazilian inspired cocktail list that is worth a try on your next visit. My sister and friend threw back a couple of Caramelized Pineapple Old Fashion cocktails. I ordered the same, took ONE sip and had to hand it over to my sister. Too strong for my tolerance level, but it was a good cocktail. My sister and friend obviously loved it. I also tried the super fruit lemonade cocktail, this sounded good in theory, but the muddled fruit did not sit well with me. If you like pulpy orange juice then you would probably like this drink. The flavor was great, but the fruit pieces killed it.
To start, we went to the fabulous salad bar. I think I may have over done it here and soon regretted it when the meat portions arrived. The caesar salad, cheese options and salmon had me coming back for seconds. THEN there was this bacon that was coated with brown sugar. I am generally not a fan of salt and sweet combinations, but that was some of the best bacon I have ever had.
After getting our fill of the salad bar, we moved on to the main meat courses. Once we flipped our coasters over to green, the meat just kept coming and coming! The meat is cooked to perfection the typical Brazilian way on the spits and brought out to you by millions of servers who slice the meat right onto your plate. I had a hard time keeping up with everything we feasted on. We tried chicken, bacon wrapped chicken, filet, lamb and countless other things. What I DO remember is the lamb! That was hands down the best dish they offered. The meat portions can be overwhelming though. I should have paced myself, but of course, my eyes were bigger than my stomach. We left SO uncomfortable from overeating. It was so good though!
For sides, our server brought out garlic mashed potatoes, polenta, caramelized bananas and a gluten free cheese bread. the sides have so much competition from the meat, so it is hard for them to stand out. I will say I liked the polenta and the cheese bread, but I could have just eaten the meat by itself and went home content.
After all of that, somehow we managed to order dessert. We were true gluttons that day! We each ordered a different dessert and shared them among the table. All of the desserts were good, but my favorite was the chocolate mousse cake.
Service: We visited Fogo right after thanksgiving during some of their first weeks in business. We felt abandoned by our initial server only to learn that he had delegated our table to a less senior waiter without informing us. All was well though because the newer waiter was great, but I did cut the original waiter a side eye for not letting us know!
Overall: The Woodlands is such a great staycation spot for others in the Houston Metropolitan area. Even though it is a franchise, Fogo De Chao has all the marks of a great spot for a romantic dinner during a staycation in the Woodlands. You will absolutely leave full and get your moneys worth.
ALSO- do not forget to follow me on snapchat -> blckgrlsbrunch. I snap all of my foodie adventures in real time!