With a name that translates to "The Fire," El Fuego can be one of two things... a dance club for gay men or a small Mexican restaurant that specializes in "California style" burritos. Luckily for me, it is the latter (although there is nothing wrong with the former). El Fuego is basically a clone of Chipotle and Qdoba... except you get no choices. No choice of black beans or pinto, no choice of if you want corn or salsa, no choice of if you want cheese or guac. Nope, what they say goes. They're like fucking burrito Nazis. That's fine with me, sometimes I don't want to "have it my way." I just want to be told what tastes good and to eat it. But you know what? You should trust these dudes. They really speak Spanish... and they really know their burritos. Way more authentic than the random Asian dude working at the Taco Bell.
Their menu is pretty minimalistic, they do only burritos, bowls, tacos, and quesadillas. Yeah they have chips, but that shouldn't be counted as an entrée... ever. The fillings are pretty standard too... chicken, steak, chopped beef, chorizo, and vegetarian. If you were expecting cow tongue and fancy crap like that, sorry. Like I said, it's kind of like a Chipotle/Qdoba clone.
Except their burritos don't reek of mediocrity (full disclosure: I eat at Chipotle quite a lot and I am perfectly okay with their averageness). El Fuego makes a kick ass burrito that's too legit to quit. First off, at $6.95 it's a little bit more expensive than its franchised brethren, but that's okay... because you're getting a 10" atomic bomb of compressed meat. It's under a dangerous amount of pressure, with a thin layer of flour tortilla just barely holding back rice, beans, and meat from exploding right in your face in a glorious display of fat-based fireworks . This of course is awesome to me. The burritos are all the same... pinto beans, rice, lettuce, but they're remarkably well balanced. I ended up getting the chorizo variant which was rich in fat, subtle in spiciness, and appropriately salty... just enough to make me savor every last drop of my guava flavored Jarritos.
Their tacos aren't too shabby either. I ended up going back on a separate occasion just to try them, and to be honest I'm pretty smitten with their chicken version. The amount of juice the meat contains is actually quite absurd, and they're definitely not lacking in flavor.
Inevitably, I have to ask myself... is El Fuego so good that I'd turn my back on Mr. Memo? No. I'm really lazy. Going to El Fuego involves crossing a bridge! I don't even really know how to swim. It is good enough that I'd make a return visit if I were near Rittenhouse though, if that means anything to you.