Long Branch, NJ 07740
- Cost: $$
- Alcohol: BYO
- Parking: Street
- Take Out: Yes
May 19, 2012
Long Branch, New Jersey boasts one of the highest concentrations of family-run Mexican restaurants in New Jersey. El Oaxaqueño is one of the best places in town for satisfying comida auténtica – worth a visit for real Mexican food down the shore.
As soon as we walked in, I noted all the signs of a good ethnic restaurant: a huge hand-painted mural along one wall, Spanish television with the volume up, Spanish menus (with English subtitles), and unlabeled spicy condiments on the table. El Oaxaqueño has about a dozen tables and does a bustling take out business from the front counter – the rotisserie chicken (pollo rostizado) seems to be a big draw. Service is attentive, friendly and more or less bilingual, though some Spanish will certainly help. A basket of homemade tortilla chips quickly arrived to sample those spicy salsas, a red mole and a green tomatillo.
For lunch, I ordered the Torta Al Pastor, a barbecued pork sandwich with lettuce, avocado and jalapeños on soft bread. It’s a mouthful, but not the best Mexican torta I’ve had in Jersey. (That would be the torta cubana at Flemington’s Huarache Azteca, now Habanero.) The tasty marinated pork is also available in the Tacos al Pastor, served with two soft homemade corn tortillas. Wanting to sample a few different dishes, I ordered the sopes de pollo appetizer in addition to the sandwich. An appetizer in name only, the three thick fried tortillas topped with shredded roast chicken, lettuce, tomato, queso fresco and crema, was enough to fill me up entirely before I even tried the sandwich. The burritos are are also huge, easily a meal for two, or three small children. To wash it all down, order a Mexican Jarritos soda – grapefruit (toronja) is my favorite flavor – or a festive fresh fruit shake made with water or milk.
The full menu features all kinds of Mexican entrees, from Mole Oaxaqueño and Chilaquiles, to Chile Relleno and Queso Fundido. If they are as large as the dishes we tried for lunch, you can eat very well, for very little, at El Oaxaqueño.
The Long Branch El Oaxaqueño is the third restaurant of the same name by the same owners. The first two are in Lakewood, NJ.