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Restaurants & Bars 7

Fogo de Chao vs Sal y Carvao

N Tocus | Apr 23, 200511:57 AM

On 4-22 I finally got to Sal y Carvao's new location at 739 N Clark so for those who may be curious, as I was, I offer a comparison of Sal with Fogo. The space is vast and lofty. Lunch service is 11:20-2; I was there from 1-2 and the place was 80-90% empty. Servers outnumbered customers. Service was prompt and eager but could hardly have been otherwise, since teeming servers standing around may have been bored and looking for something to do. The salad bar has the same ingredients as at Fogo but somehow lacks its style and pizazz. Unlike the one at Fogo, it has a hot area with rice, black beans, and the grainy Brazilian starch that comes with feijoada, sorry I forgot what it's called. The meat: more cuts than at Fogo's lunch service but, I thought, less flavor. In none of the meat did I taste that lovely smokiness that Fogo does so well. But more was offered: both whole beef tenderloin and bits of it grilled in bacon; whole pork loin; leg of lamb as well as little bitty chops; chicken legs as well as breast in bacon; linguica; garlic beef; top and bottom sirloin; and several other other beef cuts. All were tender and piping hot. In addition to the same sides (mashed potato, fried plantain, fried polenta) there were the beans and rice on the salad bar. I didn't see the wine list; papaya cream (@ $7.50)was being pushed for dessert. My summary would be that Sal offers more food but that the food's not as good as at Fogo.

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