39°F overcast clouds

RED BANK: BOWLING FOR FOOD DOLLARS

The scene at the newly opened Playa Bowls last Friday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn small

This edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn has news on three downtown eateries: one that’s doing gangbuster business, one that got a recent makeover, and one that’s calling it quits.

Details follow…

More →

RED BANK: TALKING TURKEY, FALAFEL & LOVE

cafe28Café 28 regular Patrick Means says he was never a fan of eggplant until Mohamed Ebery gave him a taste of  Ismat Eggplant, named for Ebery’s mom. Below, Ebery dishes up a plate of Mediterranean love. (Photos by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

cafe28 (2)Look, cards on the table, we are big fans of Café 28’s falafel in a pita.

Ever since Mohamed Elbery took over  the short-lived Carmine’s Sub Shop on White Street in Red Bank and added Mediterranean foods like gyros and baba ganoush to the menu, it’s been our go-to spot when we get the itch for falafel, always ordered with extra hot sauce.

The thing is though, the sub-shop-meets-Mediterranean menu always seemed a bit Janus-faced. But with a couple years of running Cafe 28 under his belt, Elbery has turned the menu into a coherent vehicle for his creativity, despite the superficial contradictions of a menu that offers turkey subs alongside falafel and stuffed grape leaves.

“Why not?” says Elbery. “We eat turkey in Egypt, too. But here for you, I can put tabouleh on it. It’s all Mediterranean food. To me there is no distinction.”

More →

SPICING UP RED BANK, MEDITERRANEAN STYLE

Mohamed Elbery shows his son, Karim, how to chop parsley finely enough to make tabouli, a salad featuring onion and garlic. (Photos by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge)

By STACIE FANELLI and DANIELLE TEPPER

If you’ve never tried baba ghanoush, Mohamed Elbery will hook you up. If you don’t like it, don’t worry – there won’t be any hard feelings. He’ll just be pleased to have been able to offer you a bite of his culture.

Mediterranean food is an acquired taste, Elbery admits, but Café28, on White Street in Red Bank, has enough loyal regulars to keep him in business and able to afford to give out the occasional free sample. He said it’s the unequalled, exotic dishes that keep people coming back – and keep him fearless in the face of Red Bank’s reputation for quick turnarounds in business.

“You are now in my house. You are most welcome to try it,” he said.

More →