The platter of Tacos al Pastor, served on a melmac plate, at the International Mexican Food Restaurant. Below, a sampling of the sauces that accompany the tacos. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)
By SUSAN ERICSON
Walk down Shrewsbury Avenue in Red Bank and you are almost certain to miss a terrific taqueria.
The International Mexican Food restaurant is something of a stealth business. You wouldn’t know what lurks inside at number 92 if someone didn’t tell you. There is a tiny sign above the door that reads, “International,” but that’s it.
Don’t let the bare-bones exterior stop you, though, or the fact that no one inside speaks English; even the takeout menus are in Spanish. This place is busy because the food is fairly unique to the area and seriously good.
The unadorned decor at the taqueria invites simple and quick dining. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)
Possibly the only restaurant to make authentic Tacos al Pastor, or tacos in the style of the shepherds, the pork is roasted on a vertical rotisserie the way you will see lamb and beef roasted in Greek restaurants. Chili-spiced and broken down by pineapple enzymes, the pork becomes, juicy, tender and slightly spicy.
Order the tacos to stay, and you are given a generous plate of five corn tortillas filled with spiced meat, pineapple chunks, cilantro and chopped onions. They’re served with a side of sliced radishes, which are meant to be a palate cleanser, and lime wedges.
The choice of sauce for drizzling on your tacos is yours. We were fortunate to have a customer who was waiting for his order notice our sauce dilemma and offer a hand. In broken English, we established the heat each sauce would bring to the dish. The green sauce, or salsa verde was surprisingly hot, made with tomatillos and jalapenos, while the yellow, made with habaneros, brought some soberingly severe heat.
Takeout and home delivery are both available, and although the menu is mostly meat-centric, it is extensive, offering platters, sandwiches, tacos, quesadillas and fundidos – those cheese fondues flecked with your choice of chorizo (spicy sausage), champinones (mushrooms) and jamon (ham), just to mention a few.
Call for delivery at 732-383-5416 or stop by.