Fuego 505, a new rotisserie bar and restaurant that opened in Northwest Albuquerque in August, has brought a unique spot to the neighborhood.
Fuego refers to the fire used to cook the meat and the seasoning for the food. The 505 was added because this new spot is as local as it gets.
The restaurant, located at 5750 McMahon Blvd. NW, is locally owned by a group of four: Chef Raul Maestas; Matt Jones; Matthew Barela, the former general manager of Sidelines Sports Bar & Grill; and Ted Sandoval, who also co-owns food truck StreetFoodBLVD. Maestas also owns Ohana Hut in Marble Brewery.
The place is built around a food menu that is full of unique items, like rabbit rattlesnake sausage and wild boar sausage, but also offers a full bar, which is hard to find in the neighborhood.
“In this area, for a local place, there’s only three places with a full bar,” Barela said. “We highlight our cocktails — we have seasonal, handcrafted cocktails. Right now we have a s’more old fashioned that uses chocolate bitters. We rim the rocks glass with graham cracker, and we flame a marshmallow at the table.”
It’s not just fancy cocktails coming from the U-shaped bar that wraps around a display of bottles of booze and a kitchen in the back and dominates the interior of the building. The bar has more than 30 bourbons and dozens of different vodkas, gins, tequilas and rums. They also serve more than 20 different beers, including several from local breweries.
The star of Fuego 505 is Maestas and the rotisserie grill, though. Barela said there will soon be a GoPro set up in the kitchen, and people will be able to watch Maestas’ magic on the grill in the restaurant and online.
The menu has nachos (with fried egg on top), tacos, salads and skewers featuring different proteins that aren’t offered in most places in the city.
“It’s elevated casual, but what (Maestas) does is the proteins he cooks on the skewer and there are several ways you can have it,” Barela said. “One, you can get a variety of different proteins and chef will plate them for you at the table, which is the part of the dining experience. In addition to that, we have high-end tacos that are made in a different way with with his expertise and talents, including Japanese and some Asian fusion, but definitely embroiled in the Southwest menu item. Like contemporary fried shrimp, tempura fried avocado. We also have a red chile ramen that’s a really good. In addition to that, we use game meats. Our green chile stew features bison and rattlesnake rabbit sausage, which is also available on our skewers. We use wild boar sausage, duck is prevalent and we’ve done even some venison and we will have, like, steak nights, which is developing right now, is like filet night with with New Mexico-raised and processed beef.”
With that many options on the menu, what would Barela recommend if you can only try one item?
“To come back 10 more times,” Barela said. “Honestly, the best-selling item is our Barracho Barrio Tacos. I wouldn’t suggest getting that first, because you may not ever order anything else.”
Fuego 505 is designed to be a spot in the neighborhood where residents can come relax with an upscale drink and eat some high-quality food while watching the game with some friends.
“What we’ve what we tried to focus on is an upscale neighborhood spot; upscale casual is what I call it,” Barela said. “But basically a neighborhood hangout for the Westside, for anybody. We’re not a sports bar; we consider ourselves a restaurant first, but we do have the NFL ticket. So it’s like a one-stop shop for elevated food, elevated cocktails, come watch the game, have conversations and hang out with friends.”