By Connor Beach
There’s definitely a spark at East Northport’s newest Tex-Mex restaurant.
Open for just over two months, Del Fuego Tex-Mex Kitchen’s fourth location in Suffolk County is injecting energy and spice into the local community.
The Del Fuego brand first started in 2011 in St. James, and later expanded to Babylon, Patchogue and most recently East Northport.
The restaurant’s warm, welcoming atmosphere is perfect for “small towns with tight-knit communities,” according to Del Fuego’s public relations manager Kelly Black.
Although Del Fuego, meaning “of fire” in Spanish, has four locations, Black said co-owner Joseph DeNicola ensures that the restaurants still have a “family owned” vibe.
With a large bar and an extensive collection of tequila, Black said Del Fuego has become a popular spot for happy hour among East Northport locals.
“The response from the community has been great since we opened the doors for lunch and dinner,” Black said.
In addition to happy hour, Del Fuego’s weeknight specials, including Taco Tuesday, keep the staff busy every day of the week.
“We really get a lively atmosphere here,” Black said.
Del Fuego’s Tex-Mex menu reflects the energy in the building. The menu features a variety of seasonal dishes, as well as some outside the box combinations.
One dish that exemplifies the creativity of the menu is the Lobster Quesadilla ($20) featuring lobster in a chipotle honey butter, roasted corn salsa, scallions and Mexican cheese. The unexpected combination of the richness from the lobster and the traditional southwest flavors works surprisingly well, while the corn salsa add a hint of sweetness and texture.
Another creative dish on Del Fuego’s menu is the BBQ Pork Fried Wontons ($12) featuring slow cooked pulled pork served with pumpkin seeds, mango barbeque sauce and red cabbage slaw. The crunchy wontons and the tang from the sauce combine to give this finger food an addictive quality.
Every Tex-Mex restaurant should have a good Guacamole, and Del Fuego certainly does. The Traditional Guacamole (MP) served with house-made chips includes lime, cilantro, red onion and pico de gallo. The acidity from the lime juice gives the dish a bright, tangy flavor, and the onions and pico de gallo add a nice mix of textures.
Some of the seasonal options at Del Fuego include a selection of Elote, or Mexican street corn. The Elote Verde ($3.75) features roasted Long Island sweet corn rolled in a mild green pepper mayo and cotija cheese served over a charred tomatillo sauce with fresh lime and cilantro. This Mexican street food is fun to eat. The sweetness of the corn and the smokiness of sauce make for a good pair of flavors.
Finally, our foodies couldn’t resist the Taco Trio ($15) with pulled pork, carne asada and chicken. These classic Tex-Mex tacos taste as good as they look, and the trio lets customers try a few of the options from Del Fuego’s menu. The carne asada was the star, but all of the meats were well seasoned. The soft flour tortillas held together nicely and formed a great base for the intense flavors.
With a commitment to fresh, local ingredients and an exciting menu, Del Fuego’s newest location is sure to burn its make into the East Northport restaurant scene.
17 Hewitt Square, East Northport
Prices: Appetizers: $6-$18; Entrees: $11-$24
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.