Fuego Coastal Mexican Eatery on Old Shell Road in Mobile, AL has just introduced an updated menu. This news was cause for excitement in my household. Owner Mike Perez has a passion for great food. Spend some time with him and you’ll see. His smile widens and his eyes sparkle when he speaks of his quest for the very best recipes and ingredients. This is a rare quality — especially here in Mobile. Sadly, I have sensed a great deal of apathy among many local restaurant owners and cooks. Are they just in a rut? Have they lost their mojo? Or is it all about making a buck? I can’t really say. But I can say with 100% certainty that Mike and his chef Chris Beichler do not fall into this category. Just look at the menu (above and below) — this is not your run of the mill, Americanized Mexican restaurant.
Get a close gander at the new menu seen above. This is some pretty challenging stuff — especially for Mobile. A lot of these ingredients are not easily sourced in this part of the world. It is obvious that Mike Perez is not a man who always seeks the path of least resistance. He knows his food costs may creep higher, but he cares about pushing the culinary envelope and offering his customers the most authentic dining experience possible.
Part of the new strategy at Fuego is their focus on homemade soups. The weather is finally starting to cool down here on the Gulf Coast, so this change is right on time in my book. I had not tried Fuego’s Tortilla Soup before — and I was not disappointed. It was unlike any Tortilla Soup that has danced across my palate before. A rich, tomato based concoction thickened with whizzed up corn tortillas and spiced with fresh peppers. It had a thick, chili-like consistency and was topped off with chopped avocado, crispy tortilla strips, and crumbled queso fresco. In one word: satisfying. I also sampled the soup of the day, which Mike simply called a “caldo” (Spanish for soup). I called it Mom’s chicken soup on steriods. My bowl was absolutely overflowing with fresh veggies (yellow squash, carrots, etc.) and meaty strips of chicken (mostly dark, flavorful thigh meat). I even found a snapped off stub of corn on the cob and a few dark green chunks of Poblano chile. It’s a substantial blend – not too spicy and a quite fitting call on a crisp Fall day.
The housemade salsa (above) hasn’t changed at Fuego. And that is a good thing.
The featured ceviche at Fuego this past Friday afternoon was called the “Seven Seas Ceviche.” It is aptly named, for sure. It is packed with fresh, delicious local seafood. Shrimp, calamari, crab, chunks of Mahi Mahi — quality stuff. And they surely don’t skimp on these treats from the deep. You’d think they’d charge about $20 for such a bountiful chalice of King Neptune’s bounty. Happily, the daily ceviche offering will range between $10-$12. As an appetizer, it’s enough for 2-3 people. Or you can order it for your meal and keep your dining partners at arms length. I suggest the latter — it’s that good.
The Seven Seas Ceviche at Fuego is finished with onion, cilantro, fresh lime juice and two generous slices of newly skinned avocado. The creamy texture and flavor of the avocado is an ideal foil for the tart, tangy citrus-soaked seafood. Fuego recognizes this and provides just the right amount of the green stuff.
Fuego Coastal Mexican Eatery is hotter than ever and their attention to detail is even more obvious than before. If you haven’t tried them, you should really go today. Sure, the food is outstanding and consistently so. Yet it’s the great people and their passion for authentic, adventurous cuisine that makes this place truly special. We are lucky they are here in Mobile — so let’s do our part keep them here!
Fuego – 2066 Old Shell Rd, Mobile, AL; 251 378-8621