The opening comes less than five months following the closure of the space’s previous occupant, Market Tavern, which replaced the former Harry’s Tap Room. Much of the expansive space looks as it did as Market Tavern — the bar area, the lighting, the staircase and the upstairs dining area are all largely the same, though with more mirrors, white paint and white furnishings to brighten up the one-time steakhouse.
The menu — created by Chef Alfredo Solis, a native of Mexico — is anchored by a selection of small, soft corn tacos with various fillings, from pork to shrimp to chorizo to beef tongue, priced at $7 for two. Those hoping for burritos will have to go down the street to Baja Fresh; they’re not to be found on the menu.
The list of appetizers includes Dos Equis beer steamed mussels, duck flautas, crabmeat quesadillas and a tilapia-based ceviche.
House specialty entrees include carne asada (grilled skirt steak, nopales salad, spring onions) for $23, carnitas (copper pot slow fried pork, housemade corn tortillas) for $17, huachinango a la Veracruzana (pan seared red snapper, tomato, green olives, capers, jalapenos) for $22 and puerco pibil (grilled pork tenderloin, sour orange, achiote, spicy pickled red onions) for $18.
Many of the dishes live up up to the eatery’s translated name — “fire kitchen.”
“Fuego Cocina y Tequileria will be a temple of traditional Mexican cuisine serving in-your-face-food with authentic, robust, not-for-the-faint-of-heart flavors and textures,” said the restaurant’s press release.
The restaurant can seat up to 150 people inside for dinner, 16 people on the patio (April 1st through October 31st) and 30 people at the downstairs bar — also known as the tequileria. The tequileria stocks more than 100 varieties of tequila, for sipping or use in mixed drinks. Among the mixed drinks are frozen margaritas, which are served especially tart. There’s also a variety of beers on tap, including Shiner, Dos Equis, Modelo, Starr Hill and DC Brau.
Fuego’s happy hour runs from 4:00 to 6:30 p.m. on weekdays and 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. on weekends.
The bar opens at 3:00 p.m. on weekdays, while dinner is offered starting at 5:00 p.m. On weekends, Fuego opens at 5:00 p.m., except for brunch, which runs from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Closing times vary.
The restaurant is owned by Passion Food Hospitality whose other D.C. area restaurants are: DC Coast, Acadiana, Ceiba, Passionfish, District Commons, and Burger Tap and Shake.
See the full press release for the opening of Fuego, after the jump.
Fuego Cocina y Tequileria, literally meaning “fire kitchen and tequila bar,” is the Passion Food Hospitality partners’ – Chef Jeff Tunks, Gus DiMillo, and David Wizenberg’s – newest restaurant venture, opening this fall in the vibrant Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia. Fuego Cocina y Tequileria will be a temple of traditional Mexican cuisine serving in-your-face-food with authentic, robust, not-for-the-faint-of-heart flavors and textures.
Guests will welcome the casual setting that feels as if they’ve stumbled across an old cantina in Mexico City that’s been revived with a modern edge. Like the artisanal cuisine of Mexico, Fuego’s décor further embodies the tradition of hand-craftsmanship. Embossed leathers evoke the floral prints of Old-world Mexico, with inlays of distressed wood and antique mirrors. Woven textiles and splashes of hot colors draw influence from Aztec culture, and jagged tile patterns create movement over the surface of the walls.