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cheap, good ethnic food in monmouth county, nj?

  • m

mexican, thai, indian, vietnamese, north african...anything interesting, not franchised and real here? thanks)//molay

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  1. In Freehold, El Meson for Mexican and Aangan for Indian.

    Thai Chili, in Spotswood. http://www.thai-chili.net

    2 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      ummmm. El Meson!!!! How great is that place!!

      1. re: Angelina

        El Meson rocks! I only wish they served margaritas. If they did, I might never leave! :)

    2. Indian --
      I too, like Angaan in Freehold. We always get the buffet. The food is always well-prepared and beautifully seasoned. However, it is not spicy. Even dishes that should be spicy are not spicy. (If you want proper heat in your Indian food, drive north to the Indian shopping district in Iselin.)
      There is also Neelam, in Middletown. Nothing special, but ok for a nearby place.

      Vietnamese --
      You might want to try Saigon in Lincroft, on Newmans Springs Rd. We go there because it's nearby. The pho can be good. I've had some nice appetizers there. I've had much better in the Edison area. They were doing a re-model and I'm not sure if they've re-opened yet.

      Thai ---
      Far East Taste in Eatontown, on Rt 35, is sort of Thai. The owner has his own interpretations of Thai and Malyasian dishes. He also catches the fish for the restaturant. You can get a whole fish. Ask Richard's advice when you order. Much of the menu is standard Chinese restaurant food. I love this place. You have to know what to order. Do a search in Chowhound for more discussion.

      Chinese --
      Matawan, Rt 34, two places: West Lake or Shanghai Bun. West Lake is more of a sit-down restaurant. Shanghai Bun is a little take-out joint that serves soulful soups with homemade noodles. Search this board for lots of discussion on these two places.
      The Asian grocery store on Rt 35 in Middletown sells great barbecue ribs.

      I don't know of any African or Korean restaurants in Monmouth County... I would be so happy to find a Korean place nearby.

      8 Replies
      1. re: val ann c

        thanks so much for your detailed reply. cant wait to check out your suggestions. )//m

        1. re: molay

          Would everyone agree that El Meson is one of the best mexican places around? How's their Mole sauce? I'm a fan of Juanito's in Red Bank soley b/c I love their Mole. I know alot of people who also really enjoy Jose's in Spring Lake Heights for authentic mexican but the mole can't compare. So I've been looking for a new place!

          1. re: stack_c

            The mole that comes closest in delicious-ness to the mole I had in Oaxaca (the land of seven moles) can be found at Mexico Lindo in Brick. Asporto Cafe in Red Bank is impressive for take-out/delivery mole. I find the mole at Juanito's to be acceptable but nothing spectacular. Apalquenos (sp?) in Long Branch was very good. I look forward to trying Jose's and La Chalupa. Haven't been to El Meson in years because it's not as convenient as others.

        2. re: val ann c

          I think going a few miles north on Route 1 is worth the trip for awesome Korean food. I think it's off parsonage road. Great food.

          Though that Japanese place (Fune) on Route 35 in Ocean also sells Korean.

          1. re: aacharya

            Although it was a while back, the last time I had Korean food there it was pretty bad. I haven't been back since (except for a desperate sushi pickup when other places in the area were closed).

            1. re: bgut1

              There is a pretty good Korean place AND sushi place in one strip mall in East Brunswick. The address is 415 Rte 18. The Korean place is called Maru and the Japanese place is called Makkoli. Makkoli is sushi buffet and they're GREAT!!!!

              1. re: bgut1

                Most of their stuff is pretty bad but they do have a couple simple things worth getting. Like Hwe dup bap (Korean Chirashi) and BiBimBap.

            2. re: val ann c

              I was COMPLETELY disappointed with west lake. Fish was undercooked, there was no warmth from the servers whatsoever (thing it was a roundeye thing- as much as I hate to say it) and the prices were way too high for what you get. food was practically tasteless.

            3. Far East Taste is great food. Love the secret sauce and whole fish...

              1. Check out Bamboo Leaf in Howell for Thai/Vietnamese (Same owners as Bambook Leaf in Bradley Beach), Juanitas II in Howell for Mexican (same owners as Juanitas in Red Bank).

                2 Replies
                1. re: touchmefall81

                  Yup... Bamboo Leaf in Howell. is good eats for sure. Had some french dishes last time... we'll stick to the asian dishes next time...

                  1. re: BigBlue120

                    I can't believe I am reading good??? reviews about Bamboo Leaf. I love thai food. I ate at both Pad Thai and Chao Phaya this week, and since I pass the place at least twice a week I really wanted it to be good, but ...

                    I honestly thought it was at best passable and that's being generous. I make a better green papaya salad at home. The fried rice was bland and boring, not at all trancendant like the cold bite of leftovers from lunch I just had.

                    I do want to try the sushi place up rt 9 a little though as a few hounds have said it is good.

                2. What part of Monmouth county are you in?

                  I love getting caribbean in Asbury Park at Castaways. Right next door is a great dominican/latin rice and beans joint (Was Diaz, now it's something else).

                  Also great mexican food in Long Branch.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: joonjoon

                    thank you all for your replies.
                    fyi, i thought Far East in tinton falls was very good, low on atmosphere, high on service, authenticity and ))taste. i will be in vineland next and will post looking for good eats there.//

                    1. re: joonjoon

                      Do you know what happened to Diaz?

                      1. re: OGguy

                        Diaz moved to Asbury Park. They have limited hours, so it's best to call and find out when they're open.

                        1303 Memorial Dr.
                        (732) 774-0554.

                          1. re: tuxedo

                            Diaz has turned into...Jose? Instead of Diaz Rice+Beans it's now Jose Rice+Beans I think. Everything else looks identical. I'm guessing Mr. Diaz sold the place - can't run a restaurant if you're not willing to open on sundays.

                            1. re: joonjoon

                              I agree! Anyone try this place since the change?

                              1. re: tuxedo

                                I tried it. Jose is Diaz's cousin. We met him, same food. Food is good but both times I've been (in Avon and Asbury), they tried to cover up for the fact that it was slow that night. I think they are a bit pricy, personally. Has anyone tried Sister sue's in Asbury, Trinidadian cuisine.

                                1. re: ajohnson301

                                  Sister Sue's is pretty good. I mean you can't really complain when there're no alternatives. Speaking of Diaz, I forgot to mention one of my favorite cheap + good ethnic joints in the area, Castaways. They're right next to Diaz. If you're in the mood for some Caribbean food, check em out. My favorites are curry goat and jerk chicken. yum. And oxtail. Yum.

                    2. How about good Colombian in/around monmouth county?

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: garzmike

                        El Familiar II on Main St. in Freehold Boro recently opened. I've been once so far and enjoyed my meal, despite some bumps in service and communication with the wait staff. I plan on returning to try more of the extensive menu. Very casual and byob.

                        1. re: jsfein

                          2nd El Familiar. Good cheap takeout there as well.

                          Now can we get a Salvadoran Pupusaria? ;o)

                        2. re: garzmike

                          Stumbled upon this place the other day (granted, not in Monmouth County, but only a couple of miles-some on them in Middlesex- away)- http://www.holycowgrill.com/ (From the name and logo, wasn't expecting "Latin Cuisine"....).

                          I had checked out the Kabob place in East Windsor (mentioned elsewhere) but needed to do some "research" (very basic menu, no "English translation" and my Indian menu knowledge is rusty) but I was hungry and pulled into this very 60's-ish mall (with it's interior not visible from the highway- Rt. 33- a concept that was quickly dropped), skipping the Chinese and Italian joints that I'd previously found merely average, and came across Holy Cow, newly opened, clean, bright, (and, sadly, empty) with a friendly couple staffing the place. I played it "safe"- had the 1/4 chicken Lunch Special, but will be returning soon.

                          1. re: JessKidden

                            sounds yum. thanks for the holy cow info. i am bouncing back and forth between brooklyn and vineland, nj. so i may not get there this season but i will get there. lots of average in vineland but i am keeping my hopes up for two new mexican places in hammonton. to date however the best is the no name panel truck that serves tacos parked outside the latin music shop on rt54 just south of hammonton. ))

                            1. re: molay

                              Well, too hot to cook yesterday, so, since it was on my mind, I decided to crank up the AC in the truck for a trip to down 33 to Holy Cow- called in an order of "Bandeja Paisa" - (Country Platter)- Top Round steak, strip of pork, Sausage, corn pattie, sweet plantain, rice and beans- $14.50". Wow. Big order (I was hoping for left-over for lunch today- and I got 'em). They even threw in a 1/4 of avocado.

                              Great tasting stuff.

                              If you're back and forth between Vineland and Brooklyn, this place is probably less than a mile from Exit 8 (Hightstown) of the NJ Turnpike. My new favorite take out.

                              1. re: JessKidden

                                Must try before I move out of the area on the 14th!

                        3. Havana opened a week ago. Cuban food on Bay Avenue in Highlands. Not the same folks that had the Havana restaurant there before it became Rice. The food is good, the prices are right and the staff is charming.

                          1. Just south of Monmouth county in Point Pleasant Beach is a nice new Mexican joint, Mi Mexico. They just opened, no liquor license but food is authentic . good, and best of all cheap!