Monday we took the day off and went to lunch at Juanito’s Mexican Restaurant in Red Bank, NJ. This was a real treat, being that we are both huge Mexican Food fans, and that one of us is part Mexican and grew up eating authentic Mexican food since childhood.
Juanito’s is an excellent BYOB restaurant located in Red Bank near the New Jersey shore. This location is the original one. The owners do have another one however, Juanitos II in Howell, but this one is our favorite out of the two. As soon as you walk in, you notice the ambience. The wall colors are warm and there is plenty of brick and tasteful art on the walls. The dark mediterranian furniture and rugged tile floors add to the character of this restauant. You actually feel like you are in Mexico, especially with the friendly authentic Mexican staff. When we tasted the salsa, we were sold. It was delcious! Another sign of a good Mexican restaurant.
Being that we were starving, we ended up really pigging out. For one of our two appetizers, we ordered the Chorizo a la Plancha which is a totally decadent concoction of Mexican chorizo sausage, tomatoes, peppers and onions blended with cheddar cheese. This is served on a very hot iron skillet with flour tortillas to scoop it up with. The taste was unbelievable- especially the layer of totally crispy cheese that formed on the bottom of the skillet. It was amazing!
Our second appetizer was guacamole served with a side of salsa cruda and delicious tortilla chips. Juanito’s tortilla chips have a special taste to them, And it is hard to stop eating them once you start.
Our main course was a combination platter with a roast pork enchilada, chile relleno, rice and refried beans. The enchilada, chile relleno and refried beans were excellent. We also ordered a chicken tamal with red sauce instead of the usual green tomatillo sauce. We are not a huge of green tomatillo sauce unless it’s Mom’s. The tamal was the only item we would not order again. We like our tamales to be full of meat and unfortuately, this one was not. All of the other wonderful food totally compensated for the tamal. One thing to remember though, not all Mexican restaurants make everything the way you like. When you get to know a restaurant, you also become aware of what is good and what is not so good.
Our server for this experience was Jessie. She was friendly and attentive and we were able to practice our Spanish with her even though she does speak English. She has a really nice way about her and definately helped make this experience a great one. Right after we ate, we went directly across the street to the little grocery store that Juanitos also owns, to buy some real Mexican ingredients to make our own Mexican food at home.
To sum it up, Juanitos rates high along with several other Mexican restaurants we frequent, including Tortugas Mexican Village in Princeton and Burrito Loco in Greenwich Village in NYC. Juanito’s has both ambience and excellent food. It’s a keeper. Stay tuned for reviews on our other favorite Mexican restaurants soon. We do have to space them out though. When we eat Mexican, we go all out. We will be working off this meal at the gym for days. Lol.
Juanito’s doesn’t have an official website, but when you do go there, be sure to say that you were referred to them by Roy and Ren from twosquirts.com.