For all the gluten-free foodies out there, welcome to the Brazilian Steakhouse.
This wildly well-received concept in Brazilian gourmet dining comes in the form of two trendy franchises: Fogo de Chão and Texas de Brazil. Both restaurants have locations throughout the US – so, if you’re lucky, chances are you just might have one, or both, in your area. If not, new locations of are popping up at record speed due to the popularity of the restaurants. Currently Fogo de Chão has 21 locations in the U.S. and eight in Brazil, with plans to open in New York City and São Paulo, Brazil this year, and San Jose in 2014; while Texas de Brazil has 25 domestic locations and three international locations, with an additional 12 to15 new restaurants opening by the end of 2014
Both a meat-lovers paradise, as well as a favorite for vegan (yes, we said vegan at the steakhouse!) and gluten-free eaters, Brazilian steakhouses are the perfect choice to appeal to everyone’s taste buds! With a majority of the options gluten-free, guests are treated to an array of meats prepared Gaucho-style.
“We have 15 delicious gluten free meats, including our traditional Brazilian Picanha, along with our tender Filet Mignon and Lamb Chops imported from New Zealand,” says Andy Feldmann, Director of Marketing for Fogo de Chão. “The perfectly grilled meats are sliced from roasting skewers and carved tableside by Brazilian-trained churrasqueiros – or gaucho chefs.” Feldman notes that the only non-gluten-free meat is the Frango (chicken legs) because of its marinade; however, a gluten-free marinade will happily be prepared upon request.
Similarly, Texas de Brazil meats are passed by the Gauchos and all selections are gluten-free.
From steak, lamb, chicken, ribs, and more – all served up in a variety of choices, one could easily fill up on the mouthwatering entrées. But wait…there’s more…and we mean plenty more! A stuffed salad bar offers multiple choices of fresh and grilled vegetables, salads, cheeses, soups, and additional hot foods.
“The specialty of our Brazilian-inspired restaurant is our slow-roasted and perfectly seasoned cuts of beef, lamb, pork chicken and Brazilian sausage, which are all gluten-free,” says Hannah Thompson, Advertising Manager for Texas de Brazil. “We also feature a salad area that is 80 percent gluten-free. Some of the favorites include the feijoada (black beans with pork & beef), grape gorgonzola salad, shrimp salad, steamed asparagus, and the traditional hearts of palm.”
Fogo de Chão also features a huge variety of specialty foods.
“Our unlimited gourmet salad bar features a wide assortment of gluten-free options, including our refreshing shrimp and mango salad, imported cheeses, smoked salmon, jumbo asparagus, and seasonal vegetables and dressings,” says Feldmann.
Guests will also feast on sides personally brought to the table – at no extra charge – including grilled bananas and best of all, Pão de Queijo – Brazilian cheese bread. And yes, this absolutely wonderful little delicacy is indeed gluten-free at both restaurants. The warm and soft cheese bread rolls are – in itself – worth the trip and a definite treat for those avoiding gluten.
Says Thompson, “Our renown Pao de Queijo is made with yuca flour and is 100 percent gluten-free. The other two side-items brought to the table, garlic mashed potatoes and sweet fried bananas, are also gluten-free.”
Feldmann adds, “Our four side dishes that are continuously served throughout the meat course are gluten-free. These are Pão de Queijo, caramelized bananas, garlic mashed potatoes, and crispy polenta.”
And who could go home without dessert…both restaurants have made a point to satisfy the gluten-free sweet tooth.
”We have a refreshing Brazilian favorite called Papaya Cream,” explains Feldmann, “which is made using imported Brazilian Papayas that is blended with gourmet ice cream. We also feature three additional gluten-free options, including an assortment of fresh, sweet fruit.”
For something sweet, Thompson notes, “Our house-made desserts are the best options and include our flan, crème Brule, and our all-time-favorite, the papaya cream.”
To ensure the safety of the guests and their food allergies, the reservationists at Fogo de Chão ensure guests’ dietary restrictions are noted in the reservation and that information is communicated to everyone on staff, prior to their arrival. The manager will also take these guests through the menu and describe the numerous gluten-free dishes that Fogo has to offer.
Explains Feldmann, “We ensure that the proper choices are offered that will allow our guests to be comfortable and satisfied with their food selections and their experience. Fogo de Chão puts each guest in control of their own dining experience, and the Fogo staff is skilled and experienced at accommodating to each guest’s preferences.”
Similarly, if Texas de Brazil knows in advance that the guest has an allergy to gluten, the hostess will include this in the reservation notes so the server and managers will know upon the guest’s arrival. A manager or the chef can also do a walk-through of the menu and salad bar items to note gluten-free options.
Overall, both restaurants have seen an increase in food allergy restrictions, especially those with a gluten-intolerance, making it a priority to offer the best of the Brazilian menu to accommodate their gluten-free guests.
“In the past year, the number of guests interested in gluten-free selections has certainly increased,” continues Thompson. “Fortunately, our diverse menu is predominantly gluten-free and provides several options for these diners.”
Adds Feldmann, “In today’s world, more and more guests have dietary restrictions and preferences and are making conscious decisions to eat fresh, healthy foods. We are pleased to offer an assortment of food items that meet our guests’ dietary needs, while still providing an authentic and satisfying Brazilian Steakhouse experience.”
Make your own Brazilian Cheese Bread at home!
Recipe compliments of Fogo de Chão
- 1 1/2 cups of parmesan cheese
- 1 1/2 cups of corn oil
- 1 cup whole eggs
- 1 1/4 cups of manioc (yucca) starch
- 1 1/4 cups of sour manioc (yucca) starch
- 1 cup of 2% milk
- Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer.
- Spray cupcake tray with vegetable oil. Pour mix into cup tray filling each to the top.
- Place it in oven 350 degrees for 15 minutes, until light brown.
- The bread should be baked and served immediately, so you can truly enjoy its full flavor.
- SERVE and ENJOY!!!
History of Fogo de Chão
The story of Fogo de Chão began in the mountainous countryside of Rio Grande do Sul in Southern Brazil, where its founders were born. Growing up, the brothers were immersed in the centuries-old Gaucho culture, a rich blend of traditions from European immigrants and Brazilian natives. An important element of this culture is churrasco, the Gaucho way of roasting meats over pits of open fire for delicious barbecues.
In 1975, the brothers left their homes in the heart of the hill country and went to Rio and São Paulo. There, they worked their way up starting first as waiters, then as assistant churrasqueiros, and finally as churrasqueiro chefs, all the while developing the Fogo de Chão concept. In 1979, the first Fogo de Chão opened its doors in Porto Alegre, combining the best of the centuries-old culinary tradition of churrasco with a focus on exceptional customer service. In 1986, encouraged by the success of their restaurant and frequent requests from out-of-state customers, Fogo expanded their business to São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city. By 1987, the restaurant had established a respected reputation in the city’s culinary scene and opened its second location in São Paulo. In 1997, in response to the continuous requests of their loyal American customers, Fogo exported their concept to North America, opening the doors of the first U.S. restaurant in Dallas, Texas.
History of Texas de Brazil
Our story begins in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Living the cattle rancher’s life and feasting on the traditional rodizio style native to this region, one of the partners had a vision of bringing this culture north to the United States. The unique concept offers diners, a parade of meats, and an extravagant seasonal salad area. After years of hoping and dreaming, this rodizio vision became a reality. The destination of choice was no other than the cattleman’s land…Texas. Settling in Texas, it was apt that this unique style brought from Brazil be combined with the hospitality that is indigenous to the Lone Star State. Combining the culture and feast of Brazil with the service and class of the states, Texas de Brazil emerged. The first location opened its doors in Addison, Texas in 1998. Texas de Brazil is family owned and operated and continues to expand both domestically and internationally to bring the Brazilian Steakhouse dining experience to new and exciting geographical locations.
BRING THE TASTE OF BRAZIL HOME
Pick up these great tasting gluten-free goodies to add some Brazilian flavor to your next meal!
Naturally gluten-free, made with 100 percent natural ingredients and ready to bake, Brazi Bites Cheese Bread Snacks (aka Brazilian cheese bread and pão de queijo) go straight from the freezer to the oven and are ready to enjoy in just 20 minutes.
With a crispy crust and fluffy center they are great for parties, family gatherings, game day, or just as part of an everyday meal. Try them on their own or paired with your favorite meats, cheeses, soups and spreads. Taste just like the cheese bread served at your favorite Brazilian Steakhouse. Flavors include: Original, Bacon, and Fire-Roasted Jalapeños.
Available at Whole Foods and other natural food stores and at www. BraziBites.com
In 1999, the owners of Chebe decided to bring to the U.S. the great tasting bread they enjoyed while living in Brazil. Naturally gluten free, they received loads of mail from gluten-intolerant customers. Offering dry mixes and frozen breads, Chebe proves that gluten free can taste great. Restaurant-style quality, but in the comfort of your own home!
Flavors include Original, Focaccia, and Garlic-Onion Breadstick. Chebe also offers a pizza crust mix, an all-purpose bread mix, and a sweet and tasty cinnamon roll mix.
$3.99, available nationwide at Whole Foods and other natural grocery stores
Multi-case packs also available at www.chebe.com, www.amazon.com, www.walmart.com
Popsalot Brazilian Samba tempts your taste buds with the bold flavor of premium roasted cashews, suspended in shimmering, made-from-scratch caramel. To lavish you with the deluxe treatment from the inside out, the recipe for Brazilian Samba begins by infusing small batches of slow-simmered Clandestine Caramel with freshly house-blended cashew butter. Then generous scoops of whole roasted cashews are added, letting the oven coax out deep, distinct flavor and a signature golden crunch. A true delight in gourmet popcorn!
$3.99 for a 5-ounce bag at select Whole Foods in Southern California
Available at www.popsalot.com
*12-pouch cases, 1-gallon, 2-gallon, and 6-gallon sizes also available