Pollo Azado with casamiento at Fredy Jeremy’s, seen below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)
By SUSAN ERICSON
Tucked into a nondescript, partly vacant strip mall next door to a car wash on Newman Springs Road in Red Bank, Fredy Jeremy’s is a delightful surprise.
Retaining the pizza and subs offered by the previous tenant, Red Bank resident Fredy Menjivar livens up his six-month-old restaurant with his scrumptious take on traditional Salvadoran fare.
With plenty of Mexican food options in Red Bank, “there was no place to get Salvadoran food,” says the longtime former deli worker, who yearned to showcase the tastes and flavors of his culture.
Pupusas served with salsa roja and curtido. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)
The restaurant touts a mind-boggling, all-day menu: a full breakfast menu, typical hot and cold Italian subs, pizza and pasta dishes — not to mention burgers, chicken wings and cheesesteaks.
Stopping in for lunch, PieHole noted plenty of hungry customers rolling in to grab takeout. But we also saw groups of people lingering at tables over colossal portions of homemade Latino chow.
Well, who wouldn’t want that? And it turned out to be genuine, full-flavored and reasonably priced.
It took a while for our order of chicken azado ($10) to arrive, but when it did, the meal covered half the table. Succulent, brined and grilled chicken was accompanied by a mound of casamiento (rice and beans) with an avocado garnish. Thick, pliable tortillas and a fresh tossed salad added to the filling lunch.
Addictive pupusas — thick corn tortillas, in this case stuffed with creamy refried beans and cheese — activated our taste buds to a level of enthusiasm we haven’t felt in a while. They’re served with curtido, a vinegary slaw flecked with oregano, and salsa roja, a mild but vivid tomato sauce, to boost the flavor, Menjivar informed us. Sauce oozing from the pupusa slithered down our hands as we consumed every last bit.
We’re told that pupusas are prepared with other fillings such as loroco, an indigenous central American herb, chicharron, and spinach. They can be ordered separately for $2 each.
The “antojitos,” or “little cravings” section of the menu, features tamales, fried yuca chips, empanadas, and nuegados, which are sweet fried dumplings made with yuca.
Located next door to Butch’s Car Wash, Fredy Jeremy’s is open from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, and closed Mondays. The restaurant offers free delivery and accepts cash only, but has an ATM machine on premises.