WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A BITE AT BUBBAKOO’S

Customize your meal by mixing and matching ingredients in a bowl, burrito or taco at Bubbakoo’s Burritos. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

For this week’s What’s For Lunch, PieHole takes a a lighthearted romp through a menu of fun ingredients at the new Bubbakoo’s Burritos on Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright.

Taking some of the best features from other fast food joints on the Greater Red Bank Green — such as the ordering system at Jersey Mike’s Subs, where you watch as your plate gets prepared conveyer-belt fashion— and Surf Taco, where light menu options offset the heavier ones, Bubbakoo’s creates quick meals prepared from fresh, made-in-house ingredients.
An order of three variations on tacos is one way to taste a sample of mix-and-match ingredients at Bubbakoo’s Burritos, seen below.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

Owners Brendan Hart and Steve Fusco sited their restaurant in the space previously occupied by the short-lived Sea Bright Fish Company. Upon entry, you’re greeted by a menu board from which you choose a burrito, bowl, taco or quesadilla, and then the fillings.

Shredded chicken, steak, shredded pork, fish and shrimp are the main protein choices. Other decisions: black beans or pinto beans, white or brown rice, cheese or not, a variety of salsas, dressings and hot sauce. Then there are optional sides.

Sweet chili shrimp? This is something we’ve not seen on other fast-food menus. Creative juices start to flow and we’re on our way, constructing a lunch bowl with a base of fluffy brown rice, a healthy spoonful of creamy black beans, shrimp, pico de gallo, mango salsa and a squirt of cool sour cream.

Unquestionably pretty, the dish tastes as fresh as it looks. The medium-sized shrimp were cooked with an ample dose of chili, leaving a happy buzz of heat on lips and tongue. Sunny mango salsa made this dish a tropical-themed refresher on a cold, gray winter day.

We also tried the more typical burrito stuffed with white rice, black beans, shredded cheese, shredded southern-style barbecue chicken, mango salsa, and hot sauce. It was basically what we expected, and although we didn’t taste much barbecue flavor, the chicken was moist and tender.

Hart and Fusco tell us that they are surprised by how many customers are mixing together shrimp and steak in their burritos and bowls.

“You can go bland or you can get saucy,” Hart says. “If you’re into spicy, try the shredded ghost pepper chicken. The buffalo chicken quesadilla is also big on flavor.”

Bubbakoo’s Burritos has 11 locations, with a 12th planned for an empty storefront in the Staples shopping center in Shrewsbury. It’s open from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. SUSAN-ERICSON

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