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Denver’s “LoDo”
Green or Red?

Thought you knew all about meat? Well, think again. Each state has its own unique preference of flavors, cuts, and even ambiance. You can find traditional steakhouses practically everywhere – but the manner of cooking makes or breaks the success of each. Many claim to have the best steaks or the best service but Colorado evens out the game for them. Colorado is famous for their cowboy heritage along with their passion for cooking on the open range. Nothing beats the old timers cooking style. However, here in Denver, they have their very own Fogo de Chão, an upscale Brazilian buffet style food chain that has true-blood cowboy heritage ambiance with some of the best meats around. This restaurant has dedicated its existence to perfecting the art of steak, everything meat, and most particularly beef.

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Located in Denver’s Lower Downtown or what locals used to say ‘LoDo’, where residents fought for the city’s preservation. Denverites really made an effort to preserve many of its architectural structures and to maintain the area’s rich historical value. For forty years, LoDo remains intact and considered as the largest most preserved Victorian brick commercial buildings. Buzzing with an entertainment district, historical buildings, and shopping strip, LoDo is one of the best places to visit in Denver.

Unlike other traditional steakhouses, Fogo de Chão doesn’t have that dark, heavy, and masculinity ambiance. Instead, the restaurant has a distinct lightness to the room, adorned by their Gauchos servers dressed in a knotted kerchief with pleated pants tucked neatly into knee-high boots. As they dressed to impress customers, they also make a statement; Fogo de Chão is one big carnivore place. This makes Fogo de Chão famous as a night out destination in Denver. Forgoing portion control, customers will be served the best quality of beef with a portion of pork, chicken, and lamb – a big nod for an authentic Brazilian-style steakhouse.

Fogo de Chão offers all kinds of meat cooked on the open range carved tableside and balances it with an extensive salad bar. There is no menu on this restaurant, as soon as servers seat their customers, they hand in a coaster and explain their simple drill. Green side on the coaster means ‘hand me those meats’, red side means ‘stop for now’.  To ease out on the meat, they have this huge salad bar filled with fresh and marinated vegetables offering some kind of a breather in the next round.

Green or Red

Waving the green side up, waiters will be more than happy to serve customers with long skewers of grilled and other roasted meats. They even ask for a certain doneness of their steak then carve off slices. It all happens in a daze-like dream where customers’ plate will be filled with delightful servings of different meat. Putting up the red side up means either your full or getting ready for another batch of their tasty grilled meats.

Don’t get surprised if bacon-wrapped chicken breasts, pork chops, and steak are seasoned with only salt and pepper.  They are not scrimping on the flavors; Fogo de Chão wanted the real flavors of the meat to be the star, no fancy seasoning or whatsoever. It’s the real meaty goodness cooked in an open-grilled ranch for the best tasting meat in the entire state. This simple set up paired with a homey feeling of comfort food play a critical part in the success of Fogo de Chão.

For those who really love their meat, the restaurant hands over a card showing 15 different cuts of it. They charge a fixed price for this unique dining experience. It’s a great way to master the various beef cuts like the filet mignon cut that is tender and succulent. For a deeper beef flavor there’s ‘fraldinha’ cut from the bottom sirloin, ‘picanha’ cut in the prime center of the sirloin, and the ever popular ‘ancho’ cut showcases the signature marbling of the rib-eye. Customers can also order lamb that goes as a whole leg or chops. Available pork cuts include tenderloin, and ribs. Their robust sausage originated in Portugal called linguiça are a must try.

Every serving comes with squares of griddled polenta with sprinkles of Parmesan cheese, roasted caramelize bananas, and the all-time favorite –mashed potatoes. Going in for a quiet breakfast is ideal for those people avoiding a large crowd. But with this kind of dining, it calls for beers over a tableful of loved ones raving about how meat can be this good.

It’s yet another one of the kinds of things Colorado has to offer that makes showing off your pride for the state that much easier.