By SUSAN ERICSON
Fast food joints came and went quickly for years in Red Bank, but none of them seemed to connect until four years ago, when the Point Pleasant-based chain Surf Taco opened on Broad Street, offering “coastal style” fast-food.
A regular customer in the early years, PieHole hadn’t stopped into the Baja style eatery in quite a while. Why? Lots of other restaurants opened in town, and this former fave was somewhat forgotten. But, needing a quick lunch, we decided to pay the simple, brickwalled tacqueria a visit.
Ravenous, we called in our order, hoping to run in and pick up lunch. Fifteen minutes later, we waited at the counter for acknowledgment of our existence. We cleared our throat, said hello to the top of a head that seemed to be entranced in a computer screen, but were ignored. We tried again, and were finally greeted with a busier-than-you attitude and a question: “Name?” Name given, we paid for our food and took the to-go bag home.
The food was terrific. Two inexpensive beef tacos ($3.50 each) filled evenly with ground meat, lettuce and cheese were crispy, filling and tasty with the addition of salsa.
The Hawaiian salad ($10.50) brought together an interesting compilation of ingredients: chunks of canned pineapple, tiny pieces of tomato, blue cheese crumbles, cucumber, the requested avocado slices ($1.95 extra) and romaine lettuce topped with a juicy, sesame-dusted, teriyaki-flavored chicken breast cut into bite-size bits. They worked wonderfully together, and the whole was pretty darned scrumptious.
For flavor and a little heat, make your way over to the salsa bar, where they have four versions: mild, verde, Baja, and hot. The verde, or green ,salsa is full of tomatillo and garlic flavors, while the hot lives up to its description. Little cups with lids are provided for take-home transport.
Tortilla chips are provided as a side with almost everything on the menu, giving the salsa options even more desirable substance. Crunching those chips dipped in the unlimited salsa choices is the best part of lunch from Surf Taco.