Tuesday, June 17

Bar Fogo - Santana Row - San Jose

When pronouncing Fogo de Chao, I can't help but pinch my nose at the Chao to make a "shoun" sound. Fogo de Shoun! This was the same thing I did during my 2 weeks in Brazil - repeat interesting words multiple times in various pronunciations until it sounded authentic enough to my foreign ears. "Ka-sha-sahs" for cachacas and "ga-to" at all the hot boys. In the spirit of the World Cup, I take you back to Brazil with the new Bar Fogo menu at Fogo de Chao in Santana Row. For the commitment phobic foodie who shies away from the heavy protein portions of an all you can eat churrascaria, you can still experience that Brazilian taste with Fogo's new Bar Fogo menu, featuring small bites and delicious cocktails. I was recently invited to a complimentary tasting in which I ordered all but one item on the Bar Fogo menu so I can provide you with thorough coverage.

The bar menu is only available in the bar area which is nice and cozy. I noticed the bar has purse hooks and electrical outlets under the counter. These are important luxuries for smart phone users and their large purse carrying companions.

($6 each) Palma Louca pale pilsner and Xingu dark lager
The men each had very different tastes in beer and both were satisfied with their choices in Brazilian light and dark beers.

($5.25) Virgin Mango Fresco: Mango puree, limes, and basil
($11) The Caipirinha: Silver Cachaca, fresh limes, cane sugar
The Caipirinha has improved much since grand opening when it was too strong and too sour. It is definitely still a strong drink but much better balance and refreshing. I think it's great the bartender accomidated our request to replace sugar with Truvia sweetener for a healthier drink.
My Virgin Mango Fresco was every bit as tropical as it sounds. I loved it. 

($5.25) Virgin Superfruit Lemonade: Strawberries, blueberries, lemons
It drives me crazy when I order a non-alcoholic drink at a bar and they give me juice. Not so at Bar Fogo. They made me a fantastic Virgin Superfruit Lemonade which tasted like my favorite drink flavor combo: sweet, fizzy, fruity.

($14) Charcuterie Board: Manchego, brie, blue cheese, proscuitto, salami, fig, crostini on the side
This was your standard charcuterie board. Nothing outstanding but you also can't go wrong with the standard.

($19) Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail: Malagueta Brazilian cocktail sauce
We all loved the large jumbo shrimp with Brazilian cocktail sauce. This was the first thing I gravitated towards on the menu.

($9) Warm Hearts of Palm and Spinach Dip: Steamed spinach, hearts of palm, crispy crostini
This spinach dip with hearts of palm was a personal favorite. It had a great balance of creamy cheese and the soft texture of hearts of palm where artichokes would normally be. A great Brazilian take on a simple dip.

($7) Polenta fries with grated parmesan and malagueta aoili
At the grand opening dinner, the polenta fries were in large sticks about two finger width size making them heavy to eat. These smaller fries were much more enjoyable and were one of my favorites of the meal.

($9) Picanha Sirloin Sliders with chimichurri aoili
A bit sad to report that these were on the dry side. All the flavors were there and the sauce was good but the meat was dry to me.

($12) Grilled Beef Tenderloin Skewers with chimichurri salsa
This was slightly better than the meat in the beef in the sliders but still on the dry side. The chimichurri salsa was very good.

($10.50) Papaya Cream with Creme de Cassis
The most popular dessert at Fogo deserves its accolades. This share-able cup of papaya blended with ice cream and artfully topped with a drizzle of black currant liquer tastes like an exotic summer. Everyone took a spoonful of the chilled pudding-like dessert, put it in our mouths, and silently nodded towards one another in agreement - that's when you know you have a winner.

($9.50) Tres Leches
I lied, not all of us liked the papaya cream. One of us, namely my husband, does not prefer fruit. He ordered and thoroughly enjoyed this tres leches cake by himself. This house made sponge cake comes sopping wet in various sweet milks, and dissolves on the tongue like a semi-solid. In his words, "one of, if not The Best tres leches cakes" he's ever had.

The drinks at Fogo have mostly impressed me both times. Aside from the too strong and sour caipirinhas from the grand opening, all the drinks were a hit. Along with the great wines we sampled during our last visit, I am very pleased with the drink offerings. Don't be shy about making special requests like replacing the sugar with Truvia, or getting any of your cocktails virgin. They'll happily do it and you will enjoy your drinks.

Dessert has also never done me wrong here. I'm glad to have finally been able to try the signature papaya cream and highly recommend it for everyone. You must let them drizzle the Creme de Cassis on or it just won't be the same. 

The food was mostly good except the slightly dry meats but even then, still had enjoyable flavors. I prefer the Bar Fogo menu over the churrascaria menu because I can never eat my money's worth in roasted meats. With the Bar Fogo menu, I can still get the taste of Brazil, the same accommodating service, with drinks and dessert that never fail to please the palate. We had a great time trying the Bar Fogo menu and I hope you can come down and check it out yourself 

Fogo de Chao on Urbanspoon

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