By SUSAN ERICSON
Sharing a table at Red Bank’s Inbetween Café is par for the course. This little luncheonette is much too busy to stand on ceremony, and even if you do manage to nab a table, unless there are six in your party, a stranger is likely to sit down right next to you.
Such is the happy situation we found ourselves in on our latest visit to this English Plaza institution. The two young strangers sitting at the table with us were familiar, and yet, I couldn’t place them.
Ordering from the specials menu, I had the Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict ($12.95). Whenever the Inbetween has smoked salmon, I order it. And no, it’s not just breakfast: like everything else on the Inbetween menu, it can be ordered at any time.
Chef and owner Bob Koehler, a Culinary Institute grad, puts his education and experience to excellent use. The creative dishes that come from the tiny kitchen are well prepared, sometimes unexpected, and always delicious.
In this case, his talents yielded perfectly-timed poached eggs, creamy sauce, and a plate loaded with well-spiced home fried potatoes. You will hear no complaints from me.
The kitchen has been making this dish for several years now, and I was happy to learn from our waitress that it has become popular. A restaurant that can ace a hollandaise sauce every time is a very lucky find.
Getting back to the guys sitting next to us: I finally realized that I saw them some nights before at a local bar. Ryan Gregg is a keyboard player who was wowing the crowd that night with the Shady Street Show Band.
After a few minutes about the music scene in town, our conversation turned to the food on our plates and why we are willing to wait for a table, be seated with virtual strangers, and then wait while our orders are prepared.
“This is the best food in town,” Gregg’s friend mused, while Gregg asked, “Where else can you order what you want, and know that it will be great?”
And, what did he order? “A western omelet with feta and spinach.” The waitress didn’t blink.
According to our waitress, Colleen, “nothing surprises us – everyone has their own way of ordering.”
It’s all good here, gourmet food prepared the way you like it. The only problem I have with the Inbetween is that it closes at 3 p.m. – and sometimes, you want breakfast for dinner.