A few years ago, food trucks were exploding in popularity all over town and one I wrote about that was particularly promising was hard to find: Fuego’s, tucked away on Rosedale Highway with picnic tables, tarps for shade and a dedicated customer base that kept the place busy even if you needed the navigation skills of a bloodhound to find the place.
The key to their devotion, I thought, was that so much of the food was house made, including tortillas. That kind of quality is sometimes absent at brick and mortar places.
The good news is they’ve got a second location on Coffee Road just north of Rosedale Highway, near the very crowded In-Shape Gym and Dickey’s Barbecue Pit and though it’s not a big place, it’s got a sports bar atmosphere at prices you usually don’t find with flat screen TVs, 14 beers on tap at a bar with eight seats and booth seats more comfortable than a picnic bench. Food quality was identical.
One oddity. You order at the counter as you enter, but there were no prices on the menu board when we visited. Odd. We were told that would be added after the grand opening.
Over the course of our visits, we had a chance to sample an asada taco ($2.99), a shrimp taco ($2.99), a chicken burrito bowl ($7.51), a Lagunitas IPA draft ($6), a chicken burrito ($8.51) and sopes made with al pastor pork ($4.25). Hard to know where to start, but when you have tacos made with house-made corn tortillas, as my companion did with the asada and shrimp tacos, it’s hard to go wrong. That moist, thick texture, rich with fresh corn notes, is just unbeatable.
The shrimp were grilled, the asada had the simple, genuine quality we remembered from the other location and the simple chopped onion and cilantro topping with radish slices and a lemon wedge on the side made for an excellent treat.
The shrimp had a cabbage garnish and that creamy green salsa that we love that is just perfect with grilled shrimp. The menu calls it cilantro crema, and the kitchen wisely loves to use it on most items. It’s light years ahead of ranch dressing, though with the unnatural affection Bakersfield has for that condiment I may be guilty of blasphemy.
The chicken bowl had the same sauce, perfectly moist rice, chopped tomatoes, some cheese and some pot beans. More beans is the only suggestion I’d have there, but I pretty much say that most of the time.
I’d say the same about the chicken burrito, which was overwhelmed with rice to the exclusion of the other ingredients. Rice burritos are not something I would ever order while sober.
The sopes, on the other hand, are fantastic, made with a corn disc that is firmer and thinner than some I’ve had at other restaurants but the ingredients piled so high (cheese, lettuce, creamy green sauce, pico de gallo) that it was almost a mini salad.
Value alert: At the counter, they have Grubhub delivery coupons for $12 off your first order of $15 or more from Fuego’s if you’re a first time Grubhubber.
When we visited, the ship was a smooth sailing experience but they were only moderately busy and a friend who visited after the place was hammered by a lunch rush had a less peaceful experience, not getting guacamole or pico de gallo on her Cali burrito after waiting half an hour for the food. The staff was able to read her unhappiness and gave her extra tacos as compensation, but be warned that Fuego’s may show some of that typical new restaurant behavior.