Never has there been a more appropriately named restaurant than Fuego, South Florida’s hotter-than-hot barbecue smokehouse whose name means “fire” in Spanish. A popular Aventura eatery where Texas smokehouse meets Latin grill, you know what you are getting the moment you walk into Fuego, where good times and great food continue to roll night after night after night. Both the energy and the noise level are high here but they just add to the party vibe in a space where the light fixtures are made from plumbing fittings, there is artwork depicting most of an elephant head and the decor is a fusion of industrial and steam punk
With four successful eateries to his credit, owner Avi Bitton has his finger on the pulse of the Miami area’s restaurant scene and he flits throughout the room, charming customers and making sure that everything on every plate is just right. Fuego’s very extensive menu is heaven for meat lovers, with an eclectic mix that will satisfy both those who like their eats straightforward and simple as well as those whose palate runs more to the trendy side. Looking for burgers and sliders? There are plenty of those here, but instead of typical burgers adorned with plain old lettuce and tomato, Fuego’s burgers ooze both personality and fillings. The aptly named Godzilla Burger, with fresh roast beef, caramelized onions, poblano peppers, pickles and roasted garlic aioli is indeed mammoth sized, and the restaurant’s namesake burger lives up to its funky reputation, served with roasted tomatoes, crispy pastrami and a sunny side up egg. Check out the tacos, empanadas and marvelous egg rolls on the menu, each of which is available in several varieties, providing new twists on old favorites.
Whoever said that kosher pizza has to be topped with cheese has obviously never been to Fuego. Known by their more upscale name, flatbreads, these gloriously crispy plates have been surfacing recently on kosher restaurant menus and Fuego offers four irresistible varieties with flavors and spices that make your taste buds stand up and say wow. You know that a place like this is going to have a sensational selection of sandwiches, and the combinations, from spicy lamb sausage with chipotle aioli, to aged rib eye steak with sautéed mushrooms and sweet banana peppers, are sure to make your stomach start growling. Fuego also has a great selection of steaks and insanely good ribs (including both monstrous T-rex ribs and juicy veal back ribs) which are slathered with your choice of regular, chipotle or guava barbeque sauces.
There are some truly appealing salads on the menu at Fuego, several chicken entrees and even a few choices of fish for those who are looking for lighter fare or are hoping not to totally sabotage their diets but let’s face it, this is a smokehouse and it is all about bodacious bovines here. I firmly believe that cows die with smiles on their faces when they know they are going to end up at Fuego.
Adding to the festivities is a full bar with a vast wine selection, bottled and draft beers and funner-than-fun cocktails make use of intriguing ingredients like pear puree, jasmine tea, cucumber, angostura, watermelon and sage syrup. Step outside the proverbial box with a martini made of vodka, guava barbeque sauce, white tropics, sage syrup, lime and, I kid you not, house rib rub, or try the bizarrely named but fabulously delicious Jalapeno Business, a mix of tequila, fresh watermelon, lime, jalapeno infused agave and cilantro.
Can a restaurant that is so focused on meat still manage to do justice to dessert? If that place is Fuego the answer is a resounding yes, with fabulous creations made in house by Avi’s talented wife, Luisa. Fuego’s chocolate mousse is literally perfect in every way, hitting dead center on the chocolate spectrum; it is just dark enough to be serious but sweet enough to not be overly intense.
While the food alone at Fuego is good enough to make it worth a trip from anywhere, there is a social aspect here that you just can’t ignore. Whether you choose to sit inside the restaurant and be part of the crowd, or prefer to enjoy a little more privacy and the Florida weather at one of the many tables dotting the plaza outside, Fuego is a happening place, that is perfect for people watching, partying, finding lost friends or playing Jewish geography with the folks at the next table.
Check your diet at the door and bring your appetite. Fuego is truly electric and completely and totally lives up to its name.
* * * * *
3585 NE 207th St., Aventura, Florida
Certified by Kosher Miami