Complimentary meal was provided. Please note that, as always, any personal opinions reflected in this post are my own.
My fondest childhood memories are of Asbury Park. This past week I decided to take a walk down memory lane. Tillie is gone as is the
Casino carousel. Downtown is coming back, revitalized. Its restaurants, pop culture, and nightlife are alive, vital.
Last week I was invited to artisan eatery and bar Talula’s for a very special honeymoon pop-up. As Chef Laura Brahn explains:
Shanti and Steve are leaving town, getting hitched, and hitting the road for Tulum, Mexico – trusting me with the keys to Talula’s. In the spirit of their adventure I’ve put together a super fun menu brimming with spice, ceviche and all the things I love from that sweet little town inspired by its Mayan history, the chef ex pats who are killing it along the jungle strip, and those staple roadside dishes that just taste a little better when you’re sunkissed and/or south of the border.
Now I have been to many Mexican restaurants, fast-food-drive thrus even some holes in the wall. Good is Epcot’s San Angel Inn. Better
are the ones out West in places like San Diego, San Antonio, and Flagstaff. BUT the best is Talula’s here locally in Monmouth County.
I recommend it for ambiance, friendly atmosphere, excellent service, and unique menu. Between courses, I spoke to a young couple seated
nearby. They come often for sandwiches, salads, specials, and their favorite sourdough pizza.
The night was full house. The aroma of fresh ingredients like fish, chicken, and vegetables complimented by savory spices foretold a
unique menu. I asked about house specials–ALL for the pop-up. After specifying no shell fish, octopus, or hot peppers, I left the actual
choices to the my server.
Totally delightful was my freshly made tortilla chips and tomato/onion/garlic guacamole.
I decided to be adventurous and passed on the Yucatan De Lima soup in favor of an ample portion of Sopes de Camarones (fried masapatties, pinto beans, cabbage slaw, cream y queso fresco, and shrimp). This was certainly no sopecito. I am not ashamed to admit I enjoyed every morsel just in time for a Jaguar. (No this is not a cat.)
Jaguar was my main course. After making myself two tacos from the whole fire-roasted bronzino, blistered vegetables, salsa, guacamole, and arroz y frijoles offering, I was stuffed. I would finish the leftovers, enough for two more tacos, once home.
About them I indulged in people watching and listening. Happy faces, warm smiles, friendly conversation, infectious laughter filled the
room. Everyone there was absolutely enjoying himself/herself.
I pushed aside the Arnold Palmer I had been sipping. It was almost time to go. My waitress had been wonderful. It was truly romantic
hearing her tell about owners’ Shanti and Mignona’s love and its representation in the place’s Crescent Moon art.
As she brought me cappuccino and dessert, I made my only complaint. The Luna de Miel (flaky-fried half-moons with honey and blistered
strawberries) were yummy – decadently addictive.
Talula’s gets 5 stars from this reviewer for its fresh food and refreshing atmosphere.
Located at 550 Cookman Avenue, Asbury Park, New Jersey, Talula’s hours are:
Monday · Closed
Tuesday-Thursday · 11:30 A. M. – 11 P. M.
Friday · 11:30A. M. – 1 A. M. (bar & slices only after 11P. M.)
Saturday · 10:30 A. M. -1 A. M. (bar & slices only after 11 P. M.)
Sunday · 10:30 A. M. -9 P. M.
Its kitchen is closed daily from 4 P. M. -5 P. M.
Its menu includes v+ = vegan / gf = gluten free / v = vegetarian.