Carrabba's Contest!

Carrabba's is holding a contest to name a wine. Sounds fun! Submit your ideas at their website - http://www.carrabbas.com/. People actually win these things, you know. I won a trip to Florida a few years ago in a seafood contest. Details below...

Uncork your Creativity Contest

Carrabba’s Italian Grill invites consumers to help name a new, Carrabba’s-exclusive, limited-edition baby Super Tuscan wine debuting this fall from Ruffino. This is a fun opportunity for one winner to receive a $1,500 epicurean prize package including:

A case of the exclusive Ruffino wine
A catered 2008 holiday celebration for 12
A year’s worth of Carrabba’s dinners in 2009

Entries can be submitted online at www.Carrabbas.com until July 31, 2008.

Fogo de Chao vs. Fire of Brazil - Churrascaria Throwdown!

What did you order? How was your food?

Both Fogo de Chao and Fire of Brazil are Brazilian steakhouses called “churrascarias” with prix fixe menus. For a set price, you have unlimited access to the salad bar, unlimited sides, and unlimited meat. Both restaurants provide you with a red light/green light device, which you display according to whether or not you would like the gauchos to bring you more meat. We went to Fogo de Chao in Buckhead, and Fire of Brazil by Perimeter Mall. Now, I hate to give a negative review, and I will let you know if somehow I change my mind, but after dining at both restaurants, I have to say that Fogo de Chao is much better than Fire of Brazil. Maybe other locations are different, though.

The salad bar at Fogo de Chao is wonderful and impeccably presented with smoked salmon, fresh buffalo mozzarella, and various gourmet salad ingredients. I especially enjoyed the pesto vinaigrette. The Fire of Brazil salad bar was similar, but we noticed that the asparagus appeared to be a bit brown, and it did not look as neat and fresh as Fogo's.

The meat menu is very similar at both restaurants. Sides at Fogo are much better – both have delicious cheese rolls, but Fogo’s warm polenta, cheese-topped mashed potatoes, and most of all fried bananas – beat Fire of Brazil’s average beans, yucca and rice. The yucca was interesting, though. We had a wonderful drink at Fogo that was like a Brazilian mojito. It was called a “caipirinha.” Verrry strong, but delicious!

Describe your impressions of the service. Was anything exceptionally good (or bad) about the quality of service you received?

Fogo de Chao’s service is perfect! It seems that the service is choreographed by a coach, because there are never any lapses where you are thirsty or lacking sides or meat.

On the other hand… we were disappointed with Fire of Brazil’s service. We arrived about an hour before they closed, and there were several other couples and one very large party of about 12. The other couples filtered out, and soon it was just us and the large party. Drinks were not refilled consistently, but the worst part was that our green lights were displayed, and the meat stopped coming! Our server did not come over for about ten minutes, and when she did we requested the specific meats we wanted, but then it took about 15 to 20 minutes to get them.

I guess they ran out of meat and just figured we were done since the large party was done. There were at least 30 minutes until close at this point. Well, that is not the way churrascarias work! Also, several servers were just standing around near the kitchen entrance gabbing. Our experience started out well, but then it just went downhill.

What do you think of the décor and atmosphere?

Fire of Brazil does have a nice atmosphere. There is an stone fire pit in the center which gives off a nice glow, and the décor is charming. Still, Fogo de Chao’s décor is top notch. It is on a higher level of dining, even though the price is about the same!

Do you consider this a good value for the money you spent? If no, why not?

Fogo de Chao – yes, definitely! We go back there at least once a year.
Fire of Brazil – no, definitely not. I have to be honest - we will not be back, and I don’t recommend it.

On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best), how would you rate this restaurant compared to the other restaurants you visit on a regular basis.

Fogo de Chao – 10 for everything.
Fire of Brazil – 4 for food, 3 for service.

This restaurant is best for...

Fogo de Chao – great for special occasions, nice dinners, and especially meat lovers! It’s Disneyworld for carnivores – Meatworld!

Fogo de Chao on Urbanspoon

Fire of Brazil on Urbanspoon