Not a Diamond in the Rough: Fuego

To celebrate Mack’s birthday, Martin and Patti took the lot of us out for dinner at Fuego. Martin had been there for lunch one day, and enjoyed his visit.

Fuego is part of a larger company that includes a lounge, champagne bar, and catering service, under the umbrella of Dining on 50th. I was a little weary of their “international cuisine” tagline, but was willing to see what this Yellowknife restaurant had to offer.

Walking downstairs into the space, I was immediately struck by how busy it was. Though we knew many restaurants in the city are closed for the holiday season, I somehow still didn’t expect a nearly full house. Dimly lit, the decor was simple – red walls, sleek leather chairs, and pictures of a lake sunset encased in false windows.

Mack and me

The dining room was bracketed by a small bar and a stage – Fuego hosts local musicians on a nightly basis. The talented Shea Alain was our entertainer that night, performing acoustic, low-tempo covers of everything from “My Girl” to Fort Minor’s “Where’d You Go”.

Fuego has quite a large menu, and though there was some Latin American influence, it seemed to be put together with a purpose to please – the grilled ostrich seemed out of place. More focus might do it some good. Regardless, everyone was able to find one dish that appealed to them. Most of us also ordered appetizers.

The baked caramelized onion soup ($9) was rich, and packed an unexpected heat. Underneath the melted cheese and bread was a dense web of onions that I struggled to finish. Mack’s jumbo bacon scallop skewer ($15) was beautifully garnished with greens and a star, but was a touch overcooked. He gobbled it up, and said it was still pretty good.

Caramelized Onion Soup

Jumbo Bacon Scallops

My herb chipotle crusted whitefish filet ($26) was a bit disappointing – though the fish was nicely cooked, where I was expecting a hard shell, I was met with more of a pesto-like robe on the fish. Moreover, the beurre blanc was unappetizingly sour, to the point where I could have done without the sauce all together. I loved the balsamic glaze on the sweet potato fries though – the sauce made it more like a treat than a side.

Herb Chipotle Crusted Whitefish

Mack’s grilled arctic char ($34) was more of a success – the caper aioli was the perfect accompaniment. Mack also loved the crispy potato chips on his plate.

Grilled Arctic Char

Everyone else around the table seemed to enjoy their dishes (dishes were definitely over-sauced though), and despite the fact that the entire restaurant was serviced by just a single waitress, the kitchen was speedy and we weren’t left waiting long for our food. It is also worth noting that the restaurant was quite accommodating towards a gluten allergy in our party.

Bison Ribeye with Chimichurri Sauce

Beef Striploin with Brandy Madagascar Sauce

Grilled Seafood Stuffed Salmon Filet with Pesto Sour Cream

It was a nice night overall at Fuego, with wonderful ambiance provided by the live entertainment, and good company. Decent food, but I can’t say I would recommend it as a destination.

4915 50th Street, Yellowknife
(867) 873-3750
Lunch: Monday-Friday 11:30am-2:30pm; Dinner: Monday-Saturday 5-10pm