By SUSAN ERICSON
When a reader tells us about a new favorite eatery in Red Bank, PieHole pays attention. And at a recent party, an enthusiastic fan suggested that we hustle over to the two-week-old Taylor Sam’s at 20 Broad Street. So we did.
The interior looks little changed from that of its predecessors at the address, The Spot and Mac Attack Cheesery, but the menu at the newest addition to the downtown restaurant scene is distinctive, owner Scott Spivak tells us.
“Everything is 100-percent from scratch,” he said. The dishes we tried lead to instant fandom as well.
Scott Spivak prepares a chopped salad takeout order. Below, the Taylor hash platter. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)
Table service is the first thing we noticed on entering the restaurant. If you’re eating in, you’ll be seated at a table set with cutlery and linen napkins.
Married owners Dawn and Scott Spivak aren’t new to the food industry. He started working at chain restaurants in 1994, and was the food service director at the Ranney School in Tinton Falls for five years, he said.
But “we just wanted to do something for ourselves,” says Scott.
They began three years ago, opening the first Taylor Sam’s, in Brick Township, working the name of one of their three daughters, Sam, into one that evokes a Jersey favorite meatlike substance, Taylor Ham.
From the daily special menu, we ordered the Taylor Hash ($9.89): two glossy, sunny-side eggs crowning a mound of diced pork roll made into a hash with caramelized onions and green peppers. Savory seasoning on the home-fried potatoes elevated the flavor of what is often an uninspiring side dish. We expected salty and weird, but were rewarded with a scrumptious treat that we hope will have a permanent place on the menu.
The Prime “samwich” order is a twist on a French Dip. Layers of house-made, perfectly pink roast beef, sharp cheddar cheese and grilled onion rings are pressed, panini style, on a ciabatta roll. A good sandwich on its own, but — oh boy — the brown beef gravy (not au jus) takes this dish into the stratosphere. Distinctively beefy in flavor, the hearty gravy isn’t just for sandwich dipping.
A heap of crispy french fries also made its way, one at a time, into the gravy, just to prolong this delightful feast. In the dictionary under comfort food, there should be a picture of Taylor Sam’s fries and gravy.
We’re going back to try the meatloaf and turkey dinners on the menu. And the pancakes, which come to think of it were what we were sent here to try in the first place. We think Taylor Sam’s is going to be a popular haunt for local gourmets, breakfast devotees and food enthusiasts on the Greater Red Bank Green.
Taylor Sam’s is open from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., serving breakfast and lunch. The owners plan to add dinners Thursdays through Saturdays in the New Year, offering two or three specials per night in the $16-to-$17 range, said Spivak.