Fuego 505 a unique addition to ABQ's bar food scene - Albuquerque Journal

Fuego 505 a unique addition to ABQ’s bar food scene

Meats from the rotisserie grill include duck, pork loin and rabbit rattlesnake sausage. (Richard S. Dargan/For the Journal)

In the old days, creating a bar menu was as easy as dumping a bag of pretzels into a bowl.

Not so today. Bar patrons expect hot food made in a kitchen, and if there’s no kitchen, then there should be at least one food truck outside. No matter if the setting is a swanky rooftop patio, an industrial-style brewpub or a pool hall – the customers want good food with their drinks.

The owners of Fuego 505, a new bar/restaurant on the West Side, understand this.

They built their place around the food; specifically, a selection of meats cooked on skewers over a rotisserie grill. Options reveal an adventurous streak. Alongside the usual chicken, steak and shrimp, you’ll find sausages made from elk, wild boar, and rabbit and rattlesnake. The food is backed up with a full bar featuring an impressive array of local beers on tap.

Fuego 505’s ownership group of Matt Jones, Matthew Barela, Raul Maestas and Ted Sandoval brings considerable experience to the new endeavor. Chef Maestas runs Ohana Hut, the Hawaiian-Japanese fusion restaurant inside Marble Brewery’s West Side taproom, and co-owns the StreetFoodBlvd food truck with Sandoval. Barela used to manage Sidelines Sports Bar & Grill.

Fuego 505 sits on the end of one of the myriad brick- and stucco-faced buildings that make up McMahon Marketplace at the southeast corner of McMahon and Unser. My friend and lunch companion who lives nearby recalled a time when the lot was a dusty, weed-choked patch where rabbits roamed. Over the last decade, it’s been transformed into a sprawling complex made up of familiar chains like McDonald’s and Starbucks with a few local businesses sprinkled in.

Fuego 505’s Borracho Barrio Tacos are filled with braised beef and cheese, and comes with red chile consomme. (Richard S. Dargan/For the Journal)

Fuego 505 is dominated inside by a U-shaped bar that wraps around a display of bottles of booze and a kitchen in the back. Numerous TV screens hang above, all tuned in to sporting events, and high-top tables are scattered around the perimeter. The place was drowsy during a recent weekday lunch.

The menu, presented on an embossed sheet of paper, has food on one side, drinks on the other. Food choices are divided into tacos, skewers, a few salads and some side dishes.

The taco menu samples from Asian, Mexican and New Mexican cuisine. At $5 to $6 each, they’re on the pricey side.

The Borracho Barrio Tacos, served three to a plate ($14), were reminiscent of the birria tacos that are all the rage today. The tortillas, reddened from a dip in consommé and charred from the grill, were filled to bursting with moist, shredded braised beef and cheese. The accompanying cup of red chile consommé was thick, smooth and smoky.

Also terrific were the Carnitas Tacos ($5 each), served open-faced and topped with guacamole, salsa, shredded cheese and queso fresco. The shredded pork was succulent and fragrant with cumin.

The prospect of rotisserie-cooked meat on skewers made me think of Brazilian steakhouses like Tucanos or Fogo de Chão, where servers brings skewers to your table and slice off pieces of meat. Fuego 505 does it differently. You choose from an assortment of proteins and sides, and when the food is ready, a server comes out and offloads the contents of the skewers onto your plate.

There are four skewer choices ranging from $18 to $34. I ordered the Rabbit Rattlesnake Sausage, Duck, Pork Loin combination ($26), which comes with two sides. The sausage, while missing any sear on its skin, was juicy and well-seasoned and not gamey at all.

The hunk of duck breast was cooked rare, as it’s supposed to be. It was juicy and held some citrus tang from the orange-soy sauce marinade. The pork loin was cooked through but still carried a little juice in it along with a hint of the sweet and spicy mango-jalapeño glaze.

Carnitas Tacos topped with guacamole, salsa and queso fresco. (Richard S. Dargan/For the Journal)

Sides accompanying the skewer were nicely done. The Green Chile Mac & Cheese combined al dente pasta shells with a creamy sauce that had a little snap to it. The Elote was served off the cob in a shallow cup – less messy to eat, and the lime and chili powder cut the creaminess of the mayonnaise cream sauce.

Besides the local beers on tap, the drinks menu features an array of hard seltzers and cocktails like the Fuego Margarita that’s spiced up with muddled jalapeño.

Service was solid and we never waited long. Other than the battered and fried stuff, most of the items are gluten-friendly.

Business was slow while we were there, but the server told us things pick up later when the after-work crowd shows up. She suggested there may be some adjustments in the hours of operation in the future.

Fuego 505’s rotisserie grill makes it a unique addition to the city’s bar food scene. The food makes it a draw even for those who don’t drink alcohol.

Home » Entertainment » Dining Reviews » Fuego 505 a unique addition to ABQ’s bar food scene

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories




Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages

 

Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
1
'It's been a great ride': Longtime Balloon Fiesta executive ...
ABQnews Seeker
Longtime Balloon Fiesta executive director is ... Longtime Balloon Fiesta executive director is retiring
2
California is lone holdout in Colorado River cuts proposal
ABQnews Seeker
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) -- Six Western ... FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) -- Six Western states that rely on water from the Colorado River have agreed on a model to dramatically cut water ...
3
New Mexico faces a budget abyss if oil and ...
ABQnews Seeker
Report predicts $36 billion revenue deficit ... Report predicts $36 billion revenue deficit in 15 years possible
4
Senate panel, on party-line vote, approves bill increasing minimum ...
ABQnews Seeker
A push to increase the minimum ... A push to increase the minimum age to buy certain firearms from 18 to 21 cleared its first Senate hurdle Monday, after a heated ...
5
Bill aimed at bolstering NM's patchwork rural health care ...
ABQnews Seeker
A proposal to tap New Mexico's ... A proposal to tap New Mexico's revenue windfall to bolster health care services in rural parts of the state where residents frequently have to ...
6
New Mexico bill to restrict lobbyist ‘revolving door’ advances
ABQnews Seeker
A proposal moving through the Senate ... A proposal moving through the Senate would prohibit former legislators and appointees working under the governor from returning immediately to the Roundhouse as paid ...
7
New Mexico’s checkerspot butterfly placed on Endangered Species List
ABQnews Seeker
With more Sacramento Mountains checkerspot butterflies ... With more Sacramento Mountains checkerspot butterflies being raised at the ABQ BioPark than found in the wild, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is ...
8
No drama for birthday llama: ABQ llama celebrates 27th ...
ABQnews Seeker
'This llama is bringing everyone together,' ... 'This llama is bringing everyone together,' says family friend
9
Photos: UNM Lobos men's basketball team take on Air ...
ABQnews Seeker