We tried Fogo de Chao when they first opened in Baltimore, and recently dined there again to celebrate a friend's birthday. I was a little surprised at some of the changes that have been made to the operation. There is a lovely bar in the waiting area in the lobby, and I advise everyone to start there with a drink as you wait for your buzzer (really?) to go off. Even if it is a short wait, it can give you an early start to exploring their large and excellent wine list. You can begin with the salad bar, which is very nice and has many good selections, but I remember when they first opened that it was much larger, with enough eclectic cheeses to open up a shop. There used to be so many selections there that you could fill up entirely and ignore the meat altogether. I guess they decided to cut back on that to save expenses, and after all, the meat really is the star, although with the long line snaking around tables to get to the salad bar you might think otherwise. There is not an assigned waiter, as the "Gaucho System" they use makes every server your waiter. The system could use some refinement as it took me quite a while to flag someone down to order a bottle of wine for the table. When we flipped our cards to green, we were instantly beset by gauchos offering many different cuts of meat: tender garlic steak, sirloin, bacon-wrapped chicken and beef, sausages, ribs, a delectable house special, and several others I can't remember. It is easy to stuff yourselves, even pacing yourself with a judicious amount of flipping your card to red and back, but we somehow left room for dessert. My chocolate mousse cake was just as creamy and sweet as it sounds. You certainly get what you pay for there, but I wish the experience was as great as the food.
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