Note: Since this review, Fuego has closed. Jake's on Camp Bowie is now in its place.
The best thing about hole in the walls is the low key, local nature of the restaurants. Local cooks who grew up in the area and know the area and their customers like their own family.
Fuego is this type of place. Except current owner, Efrain Benitez is from Mexico and until this year, has lived in Chicago. So its similar, but not at all. According to the Fuego website, however, Efrain moved his family here after purchaing Duce from Chef Tim Love and renaming it Fuego. So we've got him now.
Fuego is the uspcale restaurant that is otherwise known as the reincarnation of Duce. Duce was Chef Tim Love's attempt to conquer the wild west (side of Fort Worth). As my loyal readers know, I have the utmost respect for Iron Chef Tim Love, so I will assume the problems he had with Duce were based on all of you and not him. Fuego and Duce are both the type of restaurant that many people assume only "those" people go to. You know what I mean. People that pay a lot for food and like to sip obscure drinks and airily laugh about the plights of the upper middle class' attempt to afford real luxury vehicles. Or $30,000 millionaires. Well hold on to your seats for a shock.
Fuego is right on Camp Bowie between the Lunch Box and Baker Brothers. The entrance is fairly unassuming, but remember what they say about unassuming - don't make a nass out of yourself, go in. Inside, the restaurant has a clean modern appearance and seems like the place to be on weekend evenings. In the back of the inside portion, there is a lounge type area with lots of casual seating and a fireplace that looks out to the patio. Thats right, the patio. There's an outdoor patio with a cover, heaters and fans. It looks like it could be used most of the year around.
But the best part is actually the food. Lunch time permits the cheaper of us to enjoy fine dining at a discount. I had the West Side Chicken which is two pieces of pan fried chicken on top of a mixed weed salad and feta cheese. Although this sounds insubstantial and similar to something one of "those" people would eat. I assure you that you are wrong. I'm not one of "those" people and its actually a ridiculous amount of food. The weed salad has a light dressing and is plenty of food for a side to the chicken. The chicken was perfectly cooked and had a great flavor that reminded me of that time I ate at that Mexican Chef's place in Chicago....wait....
Chef Benitez describes his food as Continental Cuisine with a Mediterranean flair. For those of you that remember my penchant for apple-tinis, you can guess that flair goes a long way with me. He spells flair as "flare" though. Which is probably a play on Fuego. So, before making a joke about people who are flaring or otherwise on fire, I'll move on.
Did you get the subtle joke above?
Anyways, the food here is delicious and at lunch is fairly affordable. Not, one option a day, dirty table hole in the wall. But really good food from a high quality chef, with substantial portions cheap. If you are looking for a place that has great food, with a wide variety of options and need to impress the lady of your life, this would be a good place to go. If you have a friend that owes you lunch, this is a good place to go. However, if you're one of "those" type of people, don't go here. You wont like it. You should go to Dallas. Seriously. Leave.
Check out Fuego. This is a great place for Fort Worth and we need to let Chef Benitez know we want more of his kind here (chefs, that is). Go at lunch for a substantially cheaper menu. I'll put his website up on the side. Over there - - - ->