if you’re looking for a good place to go downtown, or a restaurant for special occasions, Fogo de Chao is a great option. it’s a gaucho-style Brazilian steakhouse,. the last time I confirmed, the only item containing gluten are the bread and/or croutons on the salad bar. the cheese bread at the table and everything else is gluten free! you should always double-check these things though, just to be sure.
when you arrive, you are seated and they bring you lots of sides~ all of which are gluten free: cheese bread, polenta sticks (which are topped with parmesan but can be made dairy-free upon request), carmelized bananas, and garlic mashed potatoes (also contain dairy).
then you can start making trips to the huge salad bar, filled with tons of different things. there is either bread or croutons (or both) up there, that are NOT gluten-free. also, the tabbouleh has wheat germ in it, so beware of that. if you have a dairy allergy as well, be careful, as there are many cheese items on the salad bar~ and I found that many of the tongs for the veggies had shreds of cheese on them. in fact, I usually don’t like buffets in general because of cross-contamination, so unless I get there early before people have starting eating much out of it, I basically skip it. and don’t fill up too much on the salad, or you won’t have enough room to try many of the steaks and meats! it’s easy to fill your plate without trying.
now for the main event: the meats! (this is the part I affectionately call “the meat buffet”.) you should again, confirm which meats are safe, in case of any changes, but the chicken legs are soaked in beer, so don’t eat those. and for those with dairy allergies, there is a parmesan pork that you’d need to avoid. but other than that, all of the meats are gluten free!! and there are tons of different kinds! they have all sorts of cuts of steak~ and while my favorite steak is usually the filet mignon, I think my favorite here was the top sirloin (Picanha). they also have lamb, chicken, pork ribs, pork loin, sausage, etc.
they give you a little guide to each of the meats, so you can plan ahead on what you’d like to try, or so when they come around you know if it’s something you’d like (you can also ask them when they come, but it’s nice to be able to see what’s what).
so they have tons of servers carrying these skewers, each with one type of meat on them. each diner has a coaster with red on one side and green on the other. when you want them to stop by with their meats skewers, you signal them by leaving the green side up. if you have plenty at the moment, turn it to the red side up. you can flip it back and forth as desired. the outer edges of the meats are more well-done, so you can have a say in how well done you want your slice to be, and then they shave off a slice of the meat for you to put on your plate.
it’s an (upscale) chain, so there are other locations in the US and Brazil that you can look for when traveling. it’s a bit pricey (flat fee of just under $50 per person, and drinks are not included). but if you can go there for lunchtime, it costs about half as much. if you’re going out for a special occasion, it’s great food, and is really nice to be able to eat virtually everything there, with very little chance of cross-contamination. and it’s definitely tasty, definitely filling! if it weren’t for the cost, I wouldn’t be able to get enough of Brazilian steakhouses like these. love them.