Fuego Coastal Mexican Eatery
Third time is the charm for me and Fuego Coastal Mexican Eatery in midtown Mobile. Prior to this latest visit, I've been to Fuego twice before - for lunch and dinner - and was not impressed. About a year and half later, I came back and am absolutely delighted. I don't know if there's a new chef heading up the kitchen but there was a definitely positive swing on what was on my plate.
|Los Cabos Seared Ahi $12|
My brother and I started off our meal with the seared tuna as an appetizer. It's red chile marinaded tuna (about 4 oz) seared and served with a raspberry chile sauce. I loved it. The tuna practically melted in your mouth. The charred red chile rub gave it a wonderful smoky flavor. I thought the sauce had more of an Asian flair to it than Mexican though. It reminds me a lot of the sweet chili sauce my mom makes for eggrolls. But let me tell you, it did pack some heat. I can definitely taste those ribbons of srichacha. There was also a lot of it. You can drown your tuna in it and there would still be plenty to go around. The tuna is serve sort of stacked on the side of some slaw. I did not like that slaw at all. There was this bitter taste that I just did not care for.
As with most Mexican eateries, Fuego serves up chips and salsa to start off the meal. One look and you can tell it's not your average salsa. The recipe is simple enough. Your average salsa components - tomato, onions, some peppers - but they're fire roasted instead of pulverized raw. The mix gets a bit of lime juice and it flies out of the kitchen with a basket of freshly fried tortilla chips. I like the freshness of citrus but find the flavors of the vegetables are rather muddled. Instead of tasting onions and pepper, I get more of the roasted flavor.
|Lunch combo - pork tamale, fuego roll plus rice and beans $8|
During my prior visits, I tried out some of the house specialties and were not overly impressed. This time, I wanted to play it relative safe. Plus, I knew I was going to swipe a bite or two of my brother's meal so I didn't want to get anything big. I decided to go with the two item combo on the lunch menu. Among the choices are tacos, enchildas, pork tamales,chile relleno and fuego rolls. I got the fuego roll and the pork tamale. For 8 bucks, you can't beat this plate of food. Aside from your two main items, you also get a serving of black or pinto beans, spanish rice and this little scoop of cornbread pudding. Cutting into my tamale, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of pork inside. I also love the green chile sauce on top and the sprinkle of cheese was just enough. It gave the tamale a bit of richness but let the flavor shine through. The fuego roll is basically a flauta. It's filled with a creamy chicken that's a bit sweet. I love that the roll isn't fried super crispy. It still have that little give but has the crunch you want to counteract the creamy. I would normally not even mention the rice and beans but these were pretty spectacular. This is how it should be. The sides should compliment and be just as enjoyable as the stars of the plate not merely a space saver. The beans are hearty and flavorful. My brother said it was nearly like a meatless chili. The Spanish rice was equally delicious. I recommend you save the little scoop of cornbread pudding for last; after all you want the last thing you eat to be the best. It's like dessert in a cornbread form and is simply delicious.
|Baja Fish (tilapia) Tacos $13|
Since I covered about two-thirds of my brother's plate already, this one will focus solely on the baja tacos. I had three bites which amounted to about half a taco. I enjoyed the flavors, The tacos comes topped with a jicama slaw, cilantro aioli and pico de gallo. The slaw that I didn't like in the appetizer worked great here. It gave it a bit of crunch and I didn't taste as much of the bitterness. My brother squeezed a bit of lime over the top and it brought out an extra freshness to the pico. I enjoyed my three bites very much. However as the tacos sit there and the juices kind of run out, the corn tortillas starts to fall apart. I think my brother should have dived into the tacos and then ate his sides last.
I absolutely love the decor at Fuego. Think Mexican Cantina with plenty of golds, oranges with splashes of red and iron accents. The dining room is huge that's split down the middle with a more private dining area on one side and a larger open area on the other with a bar. It kind of look like a converted warehouse with super high ceilings. The problem with that is when it gets busy, it gets loud. The voices reverberates and it's hard to hear your dining companions.
Fuego has a great website with menus and news. To check it out, click here.