Global Eatery’s mix-and-match international choices include Mexican enchiladas, Korean beef in a cabbage wrap and Italian meatballs. Below, a customer fixes a salad to go. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)
By SUSAN ERICSON
With a focus on office workers and schoolkids in downtown Red Bank, Mark Arabadjis has gone global.
Araabadjis closed the Sicilia Café on Broad Street late last year, less than six months after he bought it, and has now opened Global Eatery in its place.
The interior at Global Eatery. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)
Offering breakfast, lunch and early dinner to eat in or take out, the choices make for a wonky adventure in eating. Chafing dishes filled with hot and cold “international” items line a wall. Menus posted above the register list items such as Cuban sandwiches, burgers and Italian subs. Another lists breakfast items such as Greek yogurt, smoothies and French toast.
You might find all this restaurant a challenge, unless breakfast at any hour is your thing. For the time being, Arabadjis tells us, all of the items on the menu are available all day, including the breakfast choices. Otherwise, it’s a matter of ordering from the burger/sandwich menu or loading up on the buffet, at $8.65 per pound.
The electric blue buffet station, with its myriad options, played right into our quest for culinary excitement, and a bite of this and that. We went for sausage and peppers, a marinara-covered meatball and a potato croquette from the Italian area of the buffet, then hit the Mexican area for a chicken enchilada with salsa verde. Rounding out this diverse experience, we grabbed a spoonful of Korean bibimbap and an empanada.
Weighing in at around three quarters of a pound, the dish cost us $7. But in terms of national cuisines, our first observation is that most of the fare is Americanized and not terribly authentic. That said, some will appreciate how recognizable the options are.
Arabadjis’s brother, George, is in charge of cooking American and Italian recipes, while Andres Cruz puts his talent toward the Mexican and Korean elements. Both seem to know how to finesse heat via the use of chili peppers.
The standard Italian meatballs and sausage-and-peppers were tasty, and stood the test of time spent in a chafing dish. A large potato croquette was creamy in the center and crispy outside — but an unusual find in the arena of Italian cooking.
Covered with a pretty jade green salsa verde, the enchilada had plenty of tomatillo flavor and chili heat, but needed the cheesy, creamy bite that makes this recipe interesting. Its texture resembled a mushy paste from sitting too long in a chafing dish.
There was also a lack of authenticity in the Korean options. Those who are familiar with the cultural delicacies of this region of the world will be disappointed.
The American dishes are Texas-style with a meat or vegetarian chili option. Pulled pork, baked potatoes and corn on the cob round out that area on the buffet. Those inclined to fix a loaded baked potato or a taco-filled with chili will find everything they need here.
The salad bar offerings were a good counterpoint to the hot dishes, and the buffet was well stocked with condiments, including shredded cheese, pickled peppers, onions and chopped tomatoes. Rolls and taco shells were also on the counter.
A web page and Facebook page are in the works, Arabadjis says. He is also planning to start taking credit cards in about a week.
Global Eatery is open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. and currently takes cash only.