Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Salsa Fuego

I know you've all been waiting patiently so here's the review to refresh your food lust.

Recently I mentioned a restaurant that may challenge Paco & John in the fancy-but-cheap Mexican food genre.  You'll need to keep reading and then make a visit to confirm, but I think you'll agree with me:  this place is fo' realz, yo.

Located on the north side of the traffic circle at 183/377, an old building that probably served chicken or something similar, then became a taqueria, has been transformed.  It still looks like an old place that used to sell chicken or something similar and then became a taqueria, but its no longer that taqueria.  Master Chef Carlos (I think that's his name) serves up high quality Mexican dishes with style and fantastic flavor.  Plus its all affordable enough to treat your friends.

I'm going to give you loyal readers a hint - suggest this place to your friends for lunch, and assuming they're people you should be friends with, they will reward you with praise and giggles.  And for the new crop of TCU students who've found this blog - you will attract whichever gender you're seeking by taking them to this place.  Now, obviously y'all are emailing your friends telling them to plan on going today, but wait.  There are only eight tables inside and since the Chef's son has gone back to school, service is catching up to the new short-shifting.  If you plan on going, go early because there is almost always a crowd.  You'll understand why after your meal.

Somehow, the Chef has made a menu which is broader and more ambitious than places twice its size.  There are tacos, enchiladas, burritos, quesadillas, burrito bowls, rellenos, pasta dishes, tortas and even hamburgers.  I have tried everything but the burrito bowls, quesadillas and pasta dishes.  Here is my ranking in order of my desire to bathe in the food for life:  enchiladas, burritos, hamburgers, rellenos, tacos, and tortas (the bread would be scratchy).

For most dishes, you can pick your meat, sauce and sides.  Like many taquerias there  are different preparations and types of meats, but unlike most taquerias, these are uniquely flavored meats and not just different cuts.  They have a chipotle bbq chicken, carne asada, pork carnitas, honey chipotle shrimp, fuego roasted chicken and pixie flavored goat (still reading?  good).  The sauces are homemade and include New Mexico red chile, sour cream, green chile cream, jalapeno cream, poblano cream and chipotle cream.  I'm giving you the detailed list because I know its going to make you hungry.

The sides include poblano rice, green rice, refried beans, charro beans, and black beans.  But we'll get to that later.

My stand-by and favorite dish so far, is the enchilada plate with the fuego chicken and green chile cream.  The chicken is roasted with peppers, then chopped and rolled up in a tortilla.  Cover that with a deliciously light but flavorful green chile cream and you've basically tasted the food equivalent of [insert something more awesome than Steve McQueen fighting a liger].  I get it with the green rice which I believe is white rice mixed with a cilantro oil.  I also generally go for black beans, but the refried are also terrific.  No word yet on the charro beans.

Another stand out that has brought numerous people back to Salsa Fuego and even made Sarah Palin's cousin a repeat visitor, is the chipotle bbq chicken burrito.   When you think chipotle bbq, if you think McDonalds, Wendy's, etc, you need to start reading this blog more.  But you also need to order this item.  Imagine a dish that actually comes through with the descriptive name.  The chicken has an actual depth of chipotle flavor and bbq - its not just a sauce on the meat.  And you can have it served a number of ways, but try it in the burrito with rice and beans.  When you order this burrito, you'll be asked if you want it smothered.  If you don't order it smothered, leave the restaurant and never eat in public again.  You will have shamed me and most of your dining compadres.  When the burrito is smothered, its placed on a plate of queso and topped with sauces so delicious you'll leave your spouse for one more taste.  Only North Koreans and Iowans could dislike that.

Everything else I've had is terrific but instead of actually working at this blogging thing, I'm going to stop typing and recommend you go, now, to try the concoctions that have brought me back over a dozen times in the last month.  I have not taken a person here who didn't love it.  If I had, that person would be dead to me.  I recommend you take the same approach.

Try out Salsa Fuego and let me know what you think.  As an additional inducement, the restaurant is BYOB.

On a fun note - I've received numerous suggestions regarding your boredom with me and the possibility of a guest writer.  Well, good news - Todd Palin has written a review of Salsa Fuego which will be posted in a few days.

Its located at 3520 Alta Mere, on the north side of the traffic circle.

Salsa Fuego Fresh Tex Mex on Urbanspoon

38 comments:

Michael Bourgon said...

Yes. Yes yes yes. This is easily my fave Mex (tex or otherwise) in town, doubly so now that San Antonio Taqueria is gone (sniff sniff)

The tortas are even better than Esperanza's, the Red Chile sauce reminds me of home, and the onion rings (yes, onion rings) are flipping amazing. (Seriously - they're light like shoestring and dangerously addictive).

I'll definitely try the chicken bbq chipotle thing - I've been working my way through the menu and have one sauce left on the Enchiladas.

Oh, and get the Salsa Diablo with your chips. Awesome stuff.

Dan said...

What did you think of the guacamole burger? Everyone who's ever mentioned Salsa Fuego to me talked about that, to the point where I was expecting a Mexican-style burger joint when I walked in.

(Tangent: You should give Tortas La Hechizera a try. Excellent, authentic Mexican food ... but not a taco or burrito in sight. We forget that Mexico has more than one kind of restaurant.)

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

Dan, I knew I left something out. The guacamole burger is terrific. It's got roasted jalapenos, fresh jalapenos, cheese and delicious guacamole. About a 1/3 of the business at Salsa Fuego is from burgers because they're that good.

Thanks for the recommendation, I'll check it out.

Michael, you wont regret trying the burrito at least once. I'll try the Salsa Diablo (as will the billions of readers hear) next time I'm in - thanks.

Taco This said...

Thanks for the review. I've passed by this place many times and always wondered about it. It just LOOKS good on the outside.

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

Taco This, you've got to give it a try. I was told that one hurdle Salsa Fuego had was that people thought it was the old taqueria with a new sign.

Lets hear what you think about it after going.

KimberlyDi said...

My husband and I tried Salsa Fuego today. I was thrilled with the BBQ Chicken Burrito and the onion rings (they rank next to Benbrook Grill onion rings). Husband had the 3-taco plate but was more impressed with the sides than the tacos. He should have been more adventurous.

This is now a new favorite of ours and I told the lady at the register that Fort Worth Whole in the Wall website was the reason for us trying them out. She said she had never heard of FWHITH. LOL

THANK YOU!

KimberlyDi said...

Whole = Hole

LOL - At least I said it correctly.

Anonymous said...

Are comparing North Koreans and Iowans? I don't understand that comment.

Go Hawks.

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

Anonymous, nobody who supports the Hawks would get it.

KimberlyDi, that doesn't surprise me. They would have to be one of the ten of you who read this thing to know about it.

Thanks for the mention though.

Anonymous said...

Just so you know, the quesadillas are also excellent. I recommend the carnitas quesadillas.

Alejandra said...

Salsa Fuego is good stuff!! I was very impressed with the owner and food! He came out and gave some recommendations. I had the three cheese enchiladas with chipotle cream sauce, green rice and refried beans. Oh, and a tasty fish taco. I hope to work my way through the menu. Mmmm.

Louanne said...

this sounds awesome! thanks

KimberlyDi said...

They know about this site now. The owner's wife said that business has picked up since your review and the review in the paper.

The Hubs tried the bacon swiss mushroom hamburger and it was great. The buns were almost sweet. My tastebuds were happy.

I brought back the ala carte fish tacos for a co-worker. She made happy noises the whole time she was eating them. :)

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

Louanne, have you been yet? Share what you liked.

KimberlyDi, thanks for the update on their busienss. They deserve to keep busy with the quality and flavor they're putting out.

Thanks for commenting and reading!

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

Alejandra, I may have to check out the cheese enchilada combo you mentioned. Apparently the fuego chicken with poblano cream sauce is also good.

Brande said...

I am so thrilled you posted about this place. We went to try it the day you posted your review, and we all loved it. We've eaten there twice this week already. You are so right if you don't get it smothered why bother. I had the Chipotle BBQ chicken burrito smothered. Now I always look at the other stuff on the menu which all looks delicious, but have been unable to try it because I love the burrito so much I can't get anything else. My friend had the Sloppy Jose which looked really good, and must have been because he ate the whole thing and didn't give me a bite.

Michael Bourgon said...

Okay, I got it. smothered and all. Wow. Awesome. Much better than I ever would have imagined, and the "smothered" was amazing. Wife got desebrada chimichanga, and it was super.

tdecast said...

i have been twice now, got the carnitas burrito the first time and the BBQ chicken burrito the second. I got it smothered minus the queso plus fresh jalapenos and diablo sauce (i like spicy food).
best burrito i have ever had. i love how they use a bit of olive oil and this green sauce on top(looks like pesto, i forgot what they said it was) but it definitley added a different flavor i wasn't expecting but loved.

i liked their salsa too and the lady said they are working with a bottling company so they can sell it too.

thanks for posting this, i've passed by millions of times but was always skeptical.

love the site too, my friends and i formed a lunch club and only go to places you have reveiwed.

KimberlyDi said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the recommendation. Fuego Chicken Enchiladas with green chili cream sauce is muy delicious.

I have a printed out menu with everything highlighted that I have tried. I have a long ways to go!

Ashley said...

Thanks for the review. I wasn't sure about this place but I will give it a try.

Have you tried Tortas La Hechizera around the corner on Highway 80? It is good.

Louanne said...

Okay we went last weekend. I got the chicken enchilada's with sour cream sauce and poblano rice. YUM!

My DH got the fuego chicken burrito smothered and said it was great.

His favorite part was their salsa. He thought it was different than any other mexican place we have ever been too.

I thought the queso was just so-so. Compared to how top notch the rest of the food was, it surprised me.

I talked to the owner to ask him what he called his stuff since it certainly wasn't Tex- mex. He said it was a fusion of authentic mexican, New Mexican and tex-mex.

I just say YUM!

Louanne said...

Man - I typed up a long post about this place and it didn't save it. I will try again tomorrow. It was great though!

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

Tdecast - glad you found the blog. Let me know if you find any special items at the restaurants I've already reviewed. It's tough to go back to all the places so a reminder would help me.

Louanne, you're going to have to type it again - your fans are waiting.

Michael, a burrito in queso, covered in great sauces can't be a bad call.

KimberlyDi, sounds like you're going to be paying for a future expansion of the restaurant with all of your trips.

Thanks to everybody else for reading.

MMG said...

Thank you for the review. It was all that I had hoped for and more. Now, where is the Todd Palin review as promised?

ruth ann said...

the burgers here are amazing. amazing.AMAZING.

Anonymous said...

We really loved the food. I had the shrimp tacos which were spicy, sweet, and just plain delicious. My only negative input would be that we were seated by the kitchen. Did'nt care much for the cramped sitting area, but once the food arrived you forget about all that. Sit in a booth if you go, that way you will not be near the kitchen or too close to others sitting at tables. Awesome service. Food is incredible!

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

Anonymous, I agree on the table spacing and location to the kitchen. I've even had a dispute with one particularly rude waiter there who always tries to sit me over there. The food is awesome though which is why we all return...constantly.

jamie said...

First time I went by there & requested a to-go menu, I was very rudely told by the woman at the drive-thru that they didn't have any. The second time I was going to order some food through the drive-thru & before I could even get a word in I was informed once again very rudely that if we didn't call ahead & order, it was going to be at least 40 minutes before we got our food. I stopped by there a third time (third time's the charm, right?) and went inside to see about a to-go menu. As soon as I walked in, I noticed that the restaurant was not clean, and there were "workers" that were lounging around & laying in the booths playing on their phones. After attempting (and failing) to get an answer about to go menus, a person that appeared to be in charge came to the front. He then informed us that we would have to go online to get a to-go menu. He was not helpful at all, and was borderline rude. These 3 experiences have made me not even want to try their food. 3 strikes, they're out. I'll be going to Paco & John's from now on.

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

Jamie, I can sympathize with you. It seems the new wait staff (which has improved service times) isn't as friendly as folksy as the original staff. Hopefully, Carlos reads this blog daily and will straighten them up a bit.

Anonymous said...

Here at Salsa Fuego we strive to provide fresh quality food, and excellent service. As many of our valued guests have expressed their discontent, I wish to extend our most sincere apology to any and all who haven't received anything but. Our increased business volume is not a valid excuse for poor service, I want to invite all who wish to come by and try our new menu and visit with me about your experiences.

Sincerely:
Chef Carlos

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

Chef,

Thank you for reading and commenting. For anybody who's had a problem, go back and give Carlos another shot.

Growing pains can be tough so I'm glad to see you guys are getting over them.

Anonymous said...

Ate here yesterday and the service was horrible. Some lady came out of the kitchen and gave me the death stare because I ordered beans and didnt get them w/ my food. Food was awesome, service sucked. No going back. Such a shame cause good food, but wont be treated like that

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

Anonymous,

I've heard this same complaint a few times before. Carlos has grown like crazy and with that comes some new staff. He's posted here before and is constantly working to ensure great service. Sorry for the bad experience but I hope that you wont let one waiter ruin a life's worth of great Mexican food. WWYSD? What Would Wour Stomach Do? Would it agree with this decision? I think not.

Thanks for commenting
-FWHITW

Tina said...

So, I'm late to join this train...but we're having dinner here now! Not sure how I even missed this place, as this is our neck of the woods I had a chicken chimichanga...very good! Not sure I'd really call it a chimi but it was deep fried and most of the contents were scrumptious. My only complaint was there was an excess of refried beans.

Hubby had the chicken fried ribeye. Chef assured him it wouldn't be pink at all...it was. However, chef was quick to apologize and prepare the next one as desired. I sampled it...it was fantastic, too!

I wanted to order everything on this menu! We had a side of queso and I easily could have made a meal from dipping the chips in the queso then the smoky salsa! The 6 year old had a kid's cheese nachos...they were just OK, but he's a little plain like that.

I'll come back, for sure!

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

Tina, I appreciate you doing some live posting from one of my favorite restaurants in town. But, your husband wanted a ribeye without any pink? I nearly broke up with my now wife, then girlfriend for ordering a steak medium-well. If you need a good attorney, please let me know.

In all seriousness, I'm glad you enjoyed the restaurant. Try the tamales or the great enchiladas next time - they're some of my favorites.

Anonymous said...

Good food, horrible service!!!!! We won't go back.

craig said...

Disappointed after reading Tex Monthly review. Very bland Ceviche
and Tuna. Wifes burger was best thing
by far. Drove hour and half.
Not again.

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

Craig, where did you come from that it took 1.5 hours? The burgers there are amazing and the enchiladas are great ss well.

I've never had the ceviche or tuna so at least now I know not to get it. Luckily its only a ten minute drive for me if the food is bad.

Anonymous - don't let bad service turn you away. Think about places like Wendy's. The service always sucks there yet people return. If you're going to get bad service, it might as well be at a place with good food.