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Best of Chicago 2009

Best Buffet

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The Reader's Choice: Fogo de Chao

Rooted in the gaucho tradition, this gonzo meat circus brings the primordial experience of cooking animals on sticks over fire to the urban jungle that is River North. Accordingly, many patrons work themselves into a macho carnivorous frenzy, ignoring or dismissing what is surely one of the greatest salad bars in the universe, piled high with vegetables, cheeses, olives, salami, and smoked salmon. The meat portion of the meal is where the buffet goes 3-D—it's still all you can eat of whatever you'd like, but it's delivered to your table by an army of impeccable waiters in gaucho pants. This bounty is further supplemented by never-ending refills on mashed potatoes, fried polenta sticks, roasted bananas, and cheese puff pastries. Can't swing the high price tag? Go for lunch, when the whole shebang's $32.50. Then take the afternoon off.  661 N. LaSalle, 312-932-9330, fogodechao.com. —Kristina Meyer

&Our readers' choice: Red Apple

 3123 N Milwaukee, 773-588-5781, redapplebuffet.com.

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