Not a lot of ideas dreamed up on a first date come to fruition. But for Daniela and Brad, their first date in a Sao Paulo pizzeria grew into more than just a romance. With every successive date, their wouldn't-it-be-nice dream of opening a Brazilian-style pizzeria grew too shape. Not too long after, they decided to use the recipes handed down from their Italian ancestors to create their pizzeria, Fogo 2 Go.
In their cozy store-front—taken up by a main counter and an enormous brick oven—they bake crispy, Italian pizzas paired with unique Brazilian influences. Their pies come layered with everything from classic Italian sausages to more unique brie margherita and shrimp scampi toppings. True to the idea's Brazilian roots, they also cook up treats such as coxinha—an empanada filled with seasoned chicken and mashed potatoes—as well as desserts such as flan and Nutella & Banana pizza.
Aside from the Brazilian-Italian comestibles, Fogo's crown jewel is the brick-fired, charbroiled whole, half, or quarter chicken. Thanks to the intensity of the oven's heat and the incantations of the bistro's house shaman, the chicken quick-cooks, leaving a bacon-crisp skin and sealing in juices. What they never decided in their dream was the type of beverages to serve, so the pair let customers make that choice themselves with their BYOB policy. Fogo 2 Go even satisfies late-night hungers by staying open until 3 a.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.
Inspired by the traditional eateries of southern Brazil, Al Primo Canto serves rotisserie-roasted meats and eats in a warm, inviting setting. Opt for a family-style meal of multiple courses ($30 per person), or select from an à la carte menu. Preheat your appetite with a classic Brazilian palate-tickler such as caponatto de beringela, a dish of roasted eggplant with tahini paste ($6). Then, move to a main course of veggie-friendly pasta such as homemade gnocchi caprese with tomato, basil, and fresh mozzarella ($13) or slow-roasted, mouth-watering meats made in Al Primo Canto's brick-lined charcoal rotisserie, a Brazilian import. Entrees from this alchemical producer of food-gold include the restaurant's signature galeto al primo canto, a young chicken marinated in white wine, fresh garlic, and sage, rotisserie-roasted over natural wood charcoal ($16). Silence any last hunger pangs with desserts such as the Romeo e Julieta, a tragically tasty warm guava cake with vanilla mascarpone sauce ($5).
Texas de Brazil blends the steak-centric cuisine of Texas with the traditional churrasco method of slow-roasting meat over an open flame grill to form a luscious meaty mélange. The full dinner ($39.99) marches out a cavalcade of choice cuts, allowing diners to welcome continuous windfalls of flavorful proteins. Brandish your table's provided card, green on one side, red on the other, and it will function as a meat traffic light that summons servers to either send stacks of seasoned beef, pork, or lamb skewers or halt plate traffic like a decorated culinary crossing guard. Or feel free to substitute greens for the grill by stepping into the sprawling salad-bar conga line ($24.99), two-stepping through toothsome goodies such as imported cheeses, steamed asparagus, and dozens of other hors d'oeuvres.
Rather than stay cooped up the kitchen, Brazzaz's gaucho chefs make forays into the dining area to carve portions of their 18 churrascaria-style, fire-roasted meats for guests. As customers lounge beneath geometric pendant lamps, they can take their pick of Brazilian bites, from succulent slices of tenderloin medallions wrapped in bacon to whole legs of lamb marinated in a secret blend of ingredients. In addition to devouring the all-you-can-eat meats, diners can pair their entrees with selections from the gourmet salad and sides bar, which stocks more than 60 items of seafood, imported cheese, cured meat, and fresh-cut vegetables. After dinner, sweet teeth sink into freshly crafted desserts, which run the gamut from Brazilian flan to chocolate mousse topped with homemade whipped cream. Throughout each feast, bartenders help wash down bites by whipping up cocktails or pouring selections from a sommelier-selected, 150-item wine list, which focuses on vineyards in the Americas from California to the Little California districts in major cities.
Theo’s Steaks & Seafood showcases fresh fish flown in daily and premium meats aged for up to 20 days that are hand-cut on the premises. The menu’s newly plucked fruits of the sea include a New Zealand orange roughy topped with lemon butter and crabmeat ($16.95), and a medley of shrimp and scallops tossed with fettuccine and drizzled in the kitchen’s creamy homemade alfredo sauce ($18.95). An 18-ounce bone-in rib eye piggybacks tender texture on top of rich flavor and sports both a signature marbling and a rakishly tilted fedora ($26.95). Among the eatery’s Pavlovian-pooch-shaming proteins, a pair of thick, center-cut pork chops arrives bearing hickory sauce and oozing succulence ($16.95). Customers can dine inside among cushioned chairs and colorful wall murals, or on the restaurant's outdoor patio during warmer months. All entrees come with complimentary fresh-baked bread and cheese spread, and a rhyming dictionary to assist diners with the composition of paeans to the chef.
Venice Italian & Steakhouse’s traditional Italian dishes and upscale ambience conjure the glamour of old Chicago. The extensive dinner menu spotlights steaks, including an 18-ounce prime rib eye ($32) or a 20-ounce prime porterhouse ($38). A selection of seafood dishes create succulent symphonies with a garden’s worth of vegetables, such as the pappardelle shrimp packed with portobello, cremini, and porcini mushrooms ($17), and the grilled salmon fillet flanked by zucchini ribbons and herb-roasted potatoes in a lemon-butter sauce ($22). Ziti al vodka cradles grilled chicken, peas, and sun-dried tomatoes in a creamy nest of tubular noodles ($16). Other entree options feature chicken, lobster, veal, and barbecued pork.