The Parrilla Mexicana at Lino’s Mexican Cafe, a $16.95 barbecue lunch for two that we’ll be returning for again and again. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)
By JIM WILLIS
Lately, as we’ve been driving down Shrewsbury Avenue on our way to pick up son-of-PieHole from Red Bank Primary School, we’ve been hit with a heady noseful of hardwood smoke just as we turn onto River Street.
Our keen inner caveman immediately recognizes this as the smell of barbecue, and pairs it with the restaurant on the corner, Lino’s Mexican Cafe (the “Authentic Mexican Barbecue” sign out front helps our primitive brain make the connection).
After causing a bit of rubbernecking by trying to spy where out back behind the restaurant this aromatic pyre of promising gastronomy burns, we finally stopped in for lunch. It was only upon entering the restaurant that we are able to trace the smoke to its source: a huge, gaping furnace of a fire pit, with flaming logs, thick plumes of smoke and sparks of incendiary chicken fat just sitting there, resplendent in glowing coal and ash, right behind the counter at Lino’s.