Hours: Lunch, Dinner: seven days
Open Late: Friday & Saturday till 3, other nights till midnight
Chicago location of the former Arlington Heights Mexican restaurant, now closed, with offerings more sophisticated than you might expect from a chain. Moles are a house specialty.
Fuego Mexican Grill & Margarita Lounge announces its presence on Milwaukee Avenue with a giant writhing lizard silhouette, and inside walls are bedecked with assorted Mexibilia. The service has its theatrical aspects too: ceviche and guac carts roam from table to table, and cheerful waitstaff seem to assemble every three minutes or so to sing Happy Birthday to someone. Its a loud, fun atmosphere, lubricated by lengthy cocktail, tequila, and margarita lists--which are eclipsed only by the epic, something-for-everyone dinner menu. It stretches from familiar fajitas, burritos, and taco salads to challenging--e.g., huitlachoche-sauced chicken breast--though its not so daring that the birria is actually made with goat (its lamb). Few kitchens can maintain consistency over such a vast range, so I wasnt too shocked when tilapia fish tacos arrived soft and soggy and lamb taquitos greasy and oversalted. But a red snapper ceviche was bright and fresh, and a pork chop with mole manchamanteles was perfectly cooked even if the sauce was wasnt nearly as nuanced as it should be. Moles--four regular offerings and a weekly special--are something of a specialty here, and diners have the option of dolloping them on any of a number of proteins. In short, it seems possible to make whatever sort of meal you want here, within certain predictable parameters, and you can be assured itll arrive in a large, ostentatious presentation. My suspicion is that someones been studying Chain Restaurant 101.
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