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A Quick Review: Fuego Mundo

A few months back on Twitter, I got a follow notice from someone calling themself "fuegomundo." I looked at their profile and discovered that it was a Sandy Springs restaurant that wasn't opened yet, but was planning for a May/June opening. Normally, I don't follow this sort of thing, but the description of the restaurant as "A new restaurant experience for Atlanta, A Taste of South America! Big - healthy - affordable portions!" intrigued me. I love me some Brazilian steakhouse, but egad, the prices. This sounded different.

So, intrigued, I followed them back.

Over the next few months, they tweeted pictures of the construction, their web site's URL, news about the type of food they were going to serve, etc.

Never intrusive...just enough to keep me curious.

As time went by and it got closer to completion, they began asking for volunteers to be their "guinea pigs" for a pre-opening taste-fest. Not only to give the food a try, but to ease the kitchen and wait staff into things before opening night.

So, let me get this straight: you want volunteers to eat free food and critique it? <raises hand> :)

I was scheduled to go for last Sunday, the 31st of May, at 7 PM.

The restaurant is located in The Prado, which is also home of 5 Seasons Brewing, for those of you who know where that is. Fuego Mundo is across from it. In kind of a strip mall area, but the best news is that covered parking is right behind the restaurant. In fact, they have a door that leads into the restaurant directly from the parking deck.

I was warmly greeted at the door by Todd who directed me to sit at one of the tables in the front of the restaurant and wait until everyone was there, at which point he would go through the procedures for the evening.

Once everyone had arrived (most of them were Twitterers, I believe, although it seemed to me that a great many of them knew each other as well), we were told to pick whatever we wanted from the menu, with the only caveats being no sirloin, no drinks (alcoholic) except sangria, and no desserts. Ouch.

That last one smarted, because I had already decided that come Hell or high water, I was having some mango pie. Alas, it was not to be.

Ah, well.

The menu consists of either a selection from fifteen entrées (several kinds of beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, several kinds of fish, and tofu) and one of three "styles" of sides (The Latin, The American, The Health-Nut) or a selection of several tapas-style dishes.

I got the Honey-Citrus Pepper Salmon and The Latin (rice, black beans, and sweet plantains). (As an aside, The American is grilled corn on the cob and roasted potatoes and The Health-Nut is quinoa, black beans, and baked plantain.)

They cook the fresh food right there in the main part of the restaurant on a wood-fire grill behind panes of glass so you can watch your food being prepared if you want.

To sum it up in just one word, I'd choose "om-nom-nom-alicious." Okay, so it's not a real word and probably counts as four instead of one, but I'm using it anyway. So there.

The salmon was done perfectly. Moist and tender inside, bursting with flavor from the marinade, but not overly flavored, so I could still taste the salmon. But also with a crispy outside where the fire had seared it. Too many restaurants either overcook salmon or smother it with sauce that has such strong flavor that all you taste is the sauce. Not these guys. Alongside the salmon were sautéed mushrooms and onions which were very tasty (but a little cold, which I told them in my evaluation, so I'm certain that's been remedied :).

The rice and black beans were tasty without being overpowering, and complemented the fish nicely.

But the sweet plantains? Heaven. We're talking dessert, here. It was easily my favorite thing I tried. I filled out the evaluation form—being very honest, as instructed—and was preparing to depart.

And then Todd asked if I wanted to also try the beef empanadas.

So, let me get this straight: you want to know if I want more free food? "Yes, please." :)

The empanadas are not wood-fired, but baked. Most empanadas I have tried were deep-fried, and full of grease to prove it. These were light and fluffy, perfectly crispy and tender, and stuffed with a deliciously seasoned, lean (not greasy) ground beef that was spicy enough without being too spicy. And they only got better when I added some of the sauce that came with them. It was kind of like pico de gallo, but spicier and a little sweeter, with more of a vinegar "bite." Heaven.

I asked for my evaluation form back so I could make more notes about the empanadas, since I'd tried them, too. :)

I highly recommend this place. They just opened, today (June 5, 2009), and I regret that I can't go by for dinner tonight, but I'm not feeling well and I don't want that to taint my visit.

The portions are indeed large enough to satisfy your hunger, but you won't be over stuffed. Hence the "healthy" part of the description. I could easily have left after the salmon and sides and been quite content. The empanadas with, say, one more of the tapas-style dishes (I would have probably picked the chicken skewer), would also have made a nice, filling meal. And for about the same price you'd spend at any other restaurant.

I'm determined to try the mango pie. So I guess I'll just have to go back. And back again. Because I'd like to try most everything on the menu to see if the rest is as good as the salmon.

If Todd and the owners of Fuego Mundo are reading this (and they might because I plan to tweet the URL :), I'd like to publicly thank them for the opportunity to "help out" by eating some of their free food. I'd also like to congratulate Todd and the owners on a successful use of Twitter to generate interest in the community. It was nicely done without being too intrusive. Kudos!

Atheists Are People, Too  Antispam  


( 3 hisses — Hiss at me! )
Jun. 6th, 2009 12:37 am (UTC)
Jot down a reminder to take me there if I ever get down to Atlanta.
Jun. 7th, 2009 02:23 am (UTC)
sounds yummy - make sure we go there next time I am in Atlanta.
Jun. 8th, 2009 11:58 am (UTC)
You... you... didn't have the Mango Pah?!
But, it's MANGO!
I want to know how it was. So, your mission, should you accept it, is to get yer ass back there, try the mango pie and report back to me, ASAP.
Go! Go! Slither like the wind!
( 3 hisses — Hiss at me! )

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