An El Segundo branch of this popular churrascaria opened in late May on Rosecrans Avenue.
By Jenifer Antonelli
There’s a new dining experience in town: the Churrasco Experience at Fogo de Chão. Unlike a typical steakhouse, at which diners order one cut of beef and some à la carte side dishes, this Brazilian steakhouse offers continuous table-side service of fire-roasted meats and a seemingly endless Market Table for guests to enjoy. Fogo’s new location in El Segundo is located at 2121 Rosecrans Avenue and is open for lunch from 11am to 2pm and for dinner until 9pm. A weekend brunch from 11am-2pm features an omelet bar, freshly made waffles, potato hash, and fruit.
We at The Scene recently checked out Fogo de Chão’s El Segundo location and started our meal with the bountiful offerings of the Market Table (pictured further down the page)—a huge charcuterie-style spread full of delicious imported cheeses, cured meats, salads, marinated artichoke hearts, mushrooms, olives, grilled vegetables, and fresh tropical fruits. Filling up at the Market Table is entirely possible—and visitors can do that for just $15 at lunchtime on weekdays. We visited Fogo for dinner and ordered the full churrasco experience, so once we turned our little “medallion” coasters set on the table to the green side, the roaming servers offering sliced grilled meats flocked to our table, presenting perfectly cooked cuts of steak, lamb, pork, and chicken. These were sliced tableside shortly after being removed from their open-flame grill and rotisserie. If you love variety and want to try different cuts of meat like I do, this experience is for you.
Ashley Retzloff, the friendly and knowledgeable general manager at the El Segundo location, shared the history and traditions of the restaurant with us. Ashley described the appeal of the churrascaria this way: “You can dine at a traditional American steakhouse and keep eating the same cut of meat bite after bite. Or, you can experience up to 16 different cuts and flavors during one dinner at a churrascaria.” I did the latter, sampling the Picanha (prime part of the top sirloin), Cordeiro (lamb chops), and Medalhôes com Bacon (bacon-wrapped chicken). Our table also shared side dishes of warm pão de queijo (gluten-free cheese bread), crispy polenta, mashed potatoes, and caramelized bananas.
Potential diners, be warned: you must come here hungry. There are so many delectable options that it will pain you to limit yourself to just one Market Table trip or turn away your smiling server (like ours, pictured up top) when he stops by your table with yet another offer of rosy-red steak because you are simply too full to eat any more. Alas, we had to do just that—but for the sake of thorough community journalism, we forged on to try some desserts for this story. We sampled the açai cheesecake (pictured), the papaya cream with crème de cassis (pictured), and the tres leches cake. The generous serving of cheesecake with açai compote, fresh berries, and whipped cream was my personal favorite, but the tres leches proved popular with my dining companions. And Maureen in particular enjoyed the cool, creamy sweetness of the papaya cream. Although you will be pleasantly overwhelmed with savory options throughout your meal, please do save room for dessert—you will not be disappointed.
The atmosphere in Fogo’s expansive dining room is upbeat and inviting. Sleek, modern chandeliers shine overhead, and tasteful linen tablecloths and napkins adorn the dozens of tables. Plenty of outdoor dining options are available for those preferring to dine al fresco on one of the patios. We had an early dinner in the middle of the week and saw that tables fill up quickly, so be sure to make reservations in advance. Fogo de Chão offers some amazing “all-day happy hour” specials, with $9 South American cocktails, $7 South American wines, and $5 beers. Their original and “passionate” (with passion fruit) caipirinhas were made with fresh, pulpy lime juice and were very refreshing. In addition to the Churrasco Experience, diners may also order “Indulgent Cuts” for the table to share, cauliflower steaks for vegetarian friends, and plenty of delicious seafood options, including a massive chilled seafood tower. For those planning a special event, Fogo de Chão offers a private dining room that seats up to 50 people. The entire restaurant can be rented out for up to 300 guests as well. Those wishing to dine at home can pick up raw or cooked butcher-style meats from the in-person or online butcher shop, and the eatery offers catering options as well.
If you attended this year’s Ed! Gala benefiting the El Segundo Ed! Foundation, you may recall Fogo de Chão as a sponsor. General Manager Ashley says her restaurant is happy to be part of our community and, as proof, donated a portion of Fogo El Segundo’s first week of sales to the Ed! Foundation.
I know my husband and daughter will love the Churrasco experience as much as I did, so I’ll be making a reservation to come back soon, so we all can enjoy the food together. Fogo’s valet parking area was still under construction as of this writing (in mid-June), so you may want to allow a little extra time to park in the parking structure, which can be accessed from Apollo and Nash streets. To check out Fogo’s menu or view a short video of Churrasco history, visit fogodechao.com or call 424-397-1660 for more information.
Jen Antonelli owns Vino & Viand Personal Chef Services and writes about food for The Scene.
This story appears in the July 2022 issue of The El Segundo Scene.