moderately priced, good eats in Freehold
I'm not a fan of El Meson, but I think many years of living in California made me a mexican food snob, so I seem to be out of step with many of the other posters on this board.
For a really casual place, you could go to Ibby's for shawarma and falafel. This is a step above fast food, but I thought it was the tastiest thing I ate in Freehold.
glutton, I feel your pain regarding local dining options for Mexican food. I don't know cal-mex food, but we've spent lots of time in TX and NM.
I've lived in the NYC metro region all my life and have never found really good tex-mex, cal-mex, or NM-mex. If you want that food, book a flight.
I'm not thrilled with El Meson in Freehold. IMO you have to think central Mexico when chowing in central NJ. I've found good food at little Pueblan-owned tacquerias and grocery stores. These places seem to keep changing. They will be great on one visit and mediocre on the next.
Currently I like (not love) Tacos No Problem in Keyport, and Julie's in Matawan. There have been reports on this board of good Oaxacan places in New Brunswick. There are many little Mexican places in Long Branch.
There was a recent report of good Mexican in South River.
I believe these would all be central Mexican style cooking. If they serve tex-mex dishes, they will have a central mexican flavor.
I hope someone can change my gloomy outlook.
re: val ann c
The same complaints can be found on the Manhattan board with regard to Mexican restaurants there. When we're in the city, we like Pampano, which serves *modern* Mexican cuisine with an emphasis on fish and seafood. I'm not sure how authentic it is or what part of Mexico it would be considered, and it is somewhat upscale. But I wish we had a place putting out food that delicious in our area of NJ.
Not a lot of good eats in Freehold ... a lot of mediocrity. A few doors down from the community theater (assuming that's where you headed) on South Street is Solo, an Italian restaurant. Some of the food is better than average (really good salad with pine nuts and a very good rigatoni bolognese), but I've also had some less than stellar dishes as well. Its BYOB.
If you cross to the other side of South Street from the theater and walk through the parking lot you'll end up at El Meson, which for the most part is a board favorite for mexican. Also BYOB.