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Fogo de Chão Opens Thursday

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Just what can you expect from Fogo de Chão, the South Brazilian steakhouse chain opening in LoDo tomorrow? Meat, meat, and—salad. Yes, the churrascaria (a restaurant in the gaucho tradition of roasting meat over an open fire) has a serious salad bar.

At an impressive 30 items—including smoked salmon and hearts of palm, tabbouleh and prosciutto—this salad-eating experience reflects Brazil’s melting pot of German, Spanish, Middle Eastern, and Italian heritage.

And, of course, Fogo carries out Brazil’s tradition of serving meat—beef, lamb, etc.— tableside from roasting skewers. With 15 different cuts circling the room (plus sides like crispy polenta, caramelized bananas, and heavenly cheese puffs) the choices can be overwhelming.

I recommend starting with the picanha (sirloin), which is also executive chef and general manager Nelson Piccini’s top choice. The beef, skewered in a beautiful half-moon shape, arrives sizzling hot and seasoned with sea salt. Afterward, hit up the succulent rib-eye (beef ancho), and so on.

The key to Fogo is controlling the flow of food. Each diner has a coaster-size card that’s red on one side and green on the other. Flip the card from red (no, thank you) to green (yes, please) to signal to the gaucho chefs whether or not you’d like more.

The menu is prix-fixe ($38.50 dinner, $19.50 salad bar only), which can translate into excellent values for big eaters. Fogo will also open for lunch ($24.50, $19.50 salad bar only) on August 3. Whenever you dine, one thing is certain: No one is going home hungry.

1315 Wynkoop St., 303-623-9600

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