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Apr 9, 2007 09:55 AM

Authentic Mexican in Jamesburg, NJ

Good restaurant alert!!!

Maria's Authentic Mexican Restaurant
194 Buckelew Ave.
Jamesburg, NJ 08831
(866) 417-5987

This place is a real find. They haven't been open very long, and I expect it to become rather popular, despite it's proximity to retirement-village-land. The menu has lots of seafood and oaxacan dishes, along with a little tex-mex/americanized fare. However, the vast majority of the menu seems to be very authentic. There was a large specials board that featured items such as stuffed lobster, seafood soups, and other interesting items.

We've only been there once, but can't wait to go back. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to linger, so we couldn't try very much, but what we had was really excellent. Their carnitas are really great (I tried the Carnitas Tacos, but they're also available on Sopes and Huraches). Pozole was very nice on a cold day.

Give it a try.

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    1. re: njeggy1

      From the website: "Maria's is the only Mexican restaurant within 20 miles"

      Huh? Freehold is about 10 miles from Jamesburg, Hightstown is about the same and IIRC South River (about the same distance north) has a Mexican restaurant or two these days as well.

      And what's with calling the website "Maria's of Monroe" when it's clearly in "the 'Burg"? Not the old "State Home for Boys" (which, ironically, IS in Monroe Twp.) stigma, is it? Or is it to appeal to the "retirement village" market segment? Or maybe just an previous location?

    2. Realize this is an old post.

      Live close by and have never been here until today.
      This restaurant is located in Jamesburg which is a donut hole town, only one square mile surrounded by Monroe Township which is 42 square miles.

      Maria's is still a good meal!

      Had the opportunity to try an authentic Sidral Mudret Apple Mexican Soda, fresh chips, salsa verde, salsa rojo, and a lunch special Puerco en salsa verde - Pork in Salsa Verde with Yellow Rice and Beans - Spicy and good!

      Looking forward to trying tamales, their mole, made with somewhere about 20 ingredients, a mamey or guanabana shake and a sangria soda next time!

      Andres was an exceptional host who took the time to explain all about food in the Oaxaca region and provided some insight into Columbian food.

      Glad I stopped!

      2 Replies
      1. re: shabbystorm

        I work close by and colleagues tell me Maria's is the real deal. I think the owners are new, at least the flags outside said so on recent drive by.
        Need to take time for lunch and get my butt there soon.

        1. re: tom246

          Andres did say something about Maria's Mom leaving and the daughter taking over?!?

          Keep in mind, this is not gourmet dining.

          They open at 11AM and have a breakfast menu section as well!

      2. Ended up going back here for Cinco de Mayo Dinner - Place was crazy busy!

        We enjoyed dinner - Sopes - Fajita - Chicken Mole - Sangria Soda - Fresh Tortillas!
        Great music!
        Fun meal!
        All really good..only thing we did not love were the beans.

        We'll be back!

        1. On the way home from dropping off our daughter at Newark Airport, we stopped here yesterday for dinner.
          Chips with salsa verde and salsa rojo were very good. Chicken Mole was also very good. Nice flavor and just enough spice. A bit unluckey that the nicely prepared chicken piece had an unusually large bone which cut the portion down a lot.
          My Carnitas was tasty and was a large portion but made more in a chop style than typicallly prepared Carnitas.
          Rice and beans for both dishes were great.

          A large menu with lots of interesting things to try, we will be back.

          1. i have been meaning to try maria's for a while and we finally made it last night. we were not disappointed. maria's is a casual place, with no pretense or chain-style decorations. the menu is large and includes just about anything you might want from a mexican establishment (mole, tripe, fajitas, quesquedillas, tacos, as well as a vegetarian section on the menu).
            we stared off with chips, tomatillo salsa, red sauce, and guacamole. the green salsa had a nice kick to it and we were putting it on other items throughout the meal. the guacamole was the chunky kind, with pieces of tomato, red onion, avocado, cilantro, and lime juice. it was very good and refreshing on a hot summer night. one person in our party also ordered a tortilla beef taco as an appetizer and it was huge! it came out open on plate, and we had trouble closing it to cut it in half. i did not eat any since i do not eat beef, but i have to admit i was little jealous because the taco looked delicious.
            our entrees were chicken with mole sauce, chicken mole empanada, and chicken fajitas. the chicken with mole sauce was spicy and delicious as was the rice and beans that accompanied it. as tom 246 mentioned, the bones in the chicken were large, making the chicken portion a bit small on the chicken mole entree. i noticed a similar phenomenon in puerto rico, and a guide explained to me that they use natural chicken there, not the US kind pumped up with steroids forced to gain too much weight for their stature. so maybe the chicken is "authentic" too. the chicken fajitas came out on a sizzling skillet and did not have the amount of grease you see at mexican chain restaurants. the meat and veggies were moist and flavorful, and the tortillas appeared to be freshly made.
            overall, the food at marias was very good, and an excellent value at around $44 for three diners. the only thing lacking on our visit was the service. we frequently had to flag down the waitresses, and it wasn't very busy. we also noticed a large open area in the middle of the tables, could this be a dance floor? i can't wait to return on a saturday night and find out.

            5 Replies
            1. re: njchowgal

              For me, the jury is not yet in on this one. Driving up to park the car, I was dissapointed that the restaurant is really in the middle of nowhere, in a sort of dingy part of town next to sort of a bodega type store. I was sure that this was the wrong choice. The place was pretty empty although in their defense it was 7:30 on a weekday night .The decor is pretty sparse and I asked my spouse if we should stay or go. Since it is kin of in the middle of nowhere, we opted to stay. Now things started to perk up a bit as some food made its was to our table. The tortilla chips with salsa verde and salsa Rojo( served for free) were extremely tasty and the salsa verde had a zesty but manageable kick to it with very visible fresh herbs. We had a very attentive waiter who unfortunately did not speak great English, so he wasnt as helpful as we would have hoped in explaining some of the dishes. He did gear us to the Beef Mexicana and the Shrimp Mexicana, both prepared in the same style. I wanted fish and my spouse loves beef so we usually find it hard to share. We were trying to ascertain whether or not we could get an order of plantains on the side and we thought we made headway communicating what we wanted, however the plantains never showed so we gave up on that. The dishes, much to my surprise were very tasty. The "Mexicana" preparation is sort of a Sofrito type sauce with onions, fresh tomatoes, fresh herbs.The shrimp were a tad on the smaller size but there were eight of them. The beef was stewed and sort of shredded. We both finished everything. The dishes are served with yellow rice and beans. Really not as bad a meal as I thought at first glance we were in for. The prices are very reasonable. With two sodas and the two dishes, the bill before the tip was $29.00. Cant beat that. I think I would try it again in the future at some point, but it would not be a "high" priority return.

              1. re: charmel

                "For me, the jury is not yet in on this one. Driving up to park the car, I was dissapointed that the restaurant is really in the middle of nowhere, in a sort of dingy part of town next to sort of a bodega type store."

                if you think you'll find better Mexican in an expensive strip mall or in the middle of the Ritzy neighborhood...well...I doubt you will!

                "We had a very attentive waiter who unfortunately did not speak great English" - PERFECT just learn how to say "I'll eat whatever the heck is good today! and lots of it" in Espanol!

                My local place in South River is pretty similar, but the food is fantastic.

                  1. re: eleeper

                    El Tapatio on Main. There was another, but I think it closed, on Ferry St. across from "the" crack house.

                    Had some Mole Oaxaqueno from Tapatio the other night, and it was pretty good.

           for some pictures of a post I did about a year ago.

                  2. re: RPMcMurphy

                    DH and I ate there about 2 weeks ago and enjoyed it. Our waitress also did not speak English very well (not really an issue) except it was hilarious how my husband asked for a Coke and she said "diet?" and he said "no, regular" and she said "diet?", he said "regular" and she still brought diet. No biggie, he walked over to the cooler and swapped out the bottle.
                    He had one of the specials, it was a combo platter with chimi, taco, and quesadilla. He said the cheese in the quesadilla was really good, not the usual jack. I had chicken enchiladas with mole sauce. Sauce was pretty good, little spicy, some parts tasted kind of burnt (like I might have gotten some from the bottom of the pot). Rice was moist and tasty, beans were kind of flavorless.
                    Really liked the green salsa served with the chips. A great value.