First Look: Chama Gaucha Brazilian Steakhouse, Buckhead

Bacon-wrapped filet mignon and chicken breast at Chama Gaucha in Buckhead. Contributed by Chama Gaucha

Bacon-wrapped filet mignon and chicken breast at Chama Gaucha in Buckhead. Contributed by Chama Gaucha


Lunch: 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. Dinner: 5-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 5-11 p.m. Friday; 4-11 p.m. Saturday; 1-9 p.m. Sunday.

Lunch: $26.50/ $19.50 salad bar only. Dinner: $41.50/$24.50 salad bar only.

3365 Piedmont Road N.E., Suite 1350. 404-842-0011,

The newest location of Houston-based Chama Gaucha Brazilian Steakhouse opened last week in the Buckhead space most recently occupied by the Modern. Much like nearby Fogo de Chão, the churrascaria-style experience features a self-serve salad bar and a nonstop parade of fire-roasted proteins, served tableside by roving bands of “gauchos.”

The look: The buildout by Atlanta's Restaurants Consulting Group mixes Brazilian and American steakhouse elements in an atmosphere that's upscale but far from formal. The sprawling dining room, bar and patio are situated on multiple levels that flow from indoor to outdoor seating areas with sliding glass doors and windows that reveal flickering fire pits.

The scene: One recent weeknight, the bar was buzzing with small groups grabbing drinks and snacks after work. As dinner service moved into full swing, friendly servers scurried between tables and diners navigated around the salad bar, creating a swirl of activity somewhere between attentive fine dining and a cafeteria line.

The food: The all-you-can-eat menu ($26.50 lunch/$41.50 dinner) begins with a basket of warm Brazilian cheese puffs. Proceed to sample from some 30 antipasti items, including cheese, charcuterie, vegetables and salads, before deciding to turn the disk on your table from red to green. That move releases the gauchos, who will immediately appear with everything from slices of prime sirloin, filet mignon and ribeye to lamb chops, pork ribs and chicken legs. Side dishes, such as garlic mashed potatoes, fried polenta, and sautéed shitake mushrooms, will surface throughout the meal.

The drinks: On the beverage menu, find around 18 wines by the glass ($7-$14), plus a concise draft beer list with local selections from Sweetwater and Wild Heaven. Signature drinks include the Green Tea Martini with citrus vodka and Cointreau, and red or white Chama Sangria, mixed to order with seasonal fruit.

The extras: An a la carte menu featuring selections from the full menu and salad bar, along with appetizers such as a charcuterie and cheese plate ($13) and grilled shrimp ($11), is available at the bar and on the patio.