That little spot at 4 North First Street (next to Nicola’s) has seen a parade of short-lived ventures – most of which barely lasted a year. I suspect things might be different with Rob Cruz and Phillip Hollar’s Fuego To Go. And for several reasons: First, the food is actually good, and is served up with a smile (another thing lacking with some of the previous tenants). Second, they will be open until 3 a.m. in season. Industry people are going to love this. And third – and this is a big deal – they deliver. Yes, there’s a minimum and a fee, but it’s small compared to wrestling the in-season downtown traffic.
“Taco delivery” you ask? “Won’t things arrive soggy and wet?” Actually, no. New Jersey’s Phillip Hollar and Delaware’s Roberto Cruz (two pretty funny guys, by the way) have figured out how to deliver the inherently delicate taco in DIY form: In other words, you assemble the taco from a little kit of cool and crispy and/or hot and savory ingredients – none of which touch one another until you build it your way. I ordered a bunch of carryout last night and was impressed at how each little kit arrived – each one marked with what it was on the menu, and outfitted with all the promised sauces, proteins, toppings, etc.
Listen to Rob Cruz tell me all about Fuego To Go on Sip & Bite with the Rehoboth Foodie on Delaware 105.9 FM.
One of my favorites is the Gore Bay Bay. Named after a friend of theirs. The star of the GBB show is the Korean BBQ steak. One of my gripes about spiced meats served in a Mexican style is that many cooks overload with one or the other spice. That is not the case at Fuego To Go. The beef had a bright taste all its own – it was hard to pick out any one ingredient. I found myself picking out pieces of the steak and nibbling them as I was building the tacos for my (unsuspecting) guests. No one saw me, so all is well. A generous sprinkle of sesame seeds, a whisper of lime and a few springs of cilantro added a fresh and nutty dimension to the steak, enhanced with crunchy slaw (packaged separately), cilantro lime cream, and their spicy Fuego Sauce (basically a spicy mayo) – again, all packaged separately. I suggest that this dish be your intro to Fuego To Go when you visit.
By the way, don’t be put off by the prices! Each “taco” on the menu arrives with 3-4 corn or flour tortillas (your choice) warmly wrapped in foil so each single item yields around 3 VERY generous tacos. I fed 4 people last night, and we were all stuffed from the two tacos, the guac and the rice bowl I ordered. And I had food left over.
Gore Bay Bay1/7 Fuego To Go2/7 Fuego To Go3/7 Cool ‘n’ Fresh Guac4/7 The Prime Minister5/7 Rice Bowl with the shredded BBQ pork6/7 Fuego To Go7/7
Another taco (there are 20, by the way – count ’em: twenty) that Phillip gently persuaded me to order is The Prime Minister. Rib eye steak is roasted, spiced and sliced fajita-style. Slightly charred edges added a great taste to the steak, enhanced by a sort of Thai-style mango habanero BBQ sauce (quite good), that crunchy slaw and a surprisingly brisk pineapple pico de gallo. This is another must-get. If these guys can keep up this level of quality as they get into the busy summer months, this place will be a hit.
Any taco can be ordered as a rice bowl. There are two styles of rice, both of which are rich in taste. I like the Cilantro Lime White Rice, but one of the tacos came with a side of the Puerto Rican Yellow Rice and that was good too. The bowls arrive with the Fuego Sauce pre-applied, but you can ask for it on the side if you live in fear of sauces.
Last and certainly not least I have to tell you about the guacamole. That stuff is so delicate, and cannot sit out for even a few minutes without doing what avocados do (they turn brown). Cooks know how to stop that from happening, and I wanted to see how Rob and Phillip handled that problem with something that would have to stand the test of delivery. Well, they aced it: The top of the guac was covered in thin slices of fresh lime. BINGO! That keeps the guac fresh and bright green, and adds a great taste to boot. So order guac without trepidation, my friends, these guys are on it. Again – I hope that attention to detail lasts when all you-know-what breaks loose in a couple of months. HINT, HINT, Rob & Phil!
There are nachos, cute little “Party Bites” (beef or chicken tortilla cups with taco fixins’) and sides like corn, plantains and even the African/Puerto Rican favorite Mofongo. All whipped up with the Fuego To Go touch of flavorful sauces and Latin veggies. By the way, for the spice wimps out there, they will happily make any of their dishes mild for you. And for my vegetarian friends, there are several flavorful tacos (the Psilocybin looks particularly tempting) and a number of sides that eschew meat.
The even bigger news is that they plan to be open until 3am in season – and that includes delivery! A minimum order applies to delivery, of course, and there is a nominal delivery charge. There are pics of their food and their crew in the gallery. Enjoy. I am definitely going back and will add photos as I go.
Hours at present are Friday and Saturday 11am-3am, Sunday closed, Monday thru Thursday 11am-2am until mid-May. Then, Mid-May ’til mid-September seven days a week 10am-3am. Game On, boys!
Call them at 301-227-TACO (8226) or 302-227-HEAT (4328).