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REVIEW: JOSE’S MEXICAN RESTAURANT

Jose’s Mexican Restaurant offers exactly what I look for in Mexican food: big portions and big flavor with only a tiny dent in my wallet. Located in Spring Lake Heights, next to a laundromat twice the restaurant’s size, it’s easy to pass by this gem without noticing its existence. However, as with any good hole in the wall, once you find the place, you won’t believe you let it glide under your radar for so long. 

In our outing to Jose’s, my compatriots and I came prepared with a full six pack in need of emptying and empty stomachs in need of filling, and we did not leave disappointed. Upon sitting down, we were promptly served complementary chips and pico de gallo. The pico was heavy on the garlic and tomatoes, giving it a bruschetta-like flavor, and while this accidental Mex-Italian hybrid salsa threw me for a bit of a loop, my tastebuds were glad for its unapologetically bold mingling of flavors.

After scanning the menu (nothing too out of the ordinary for a small Mexican joint), I enthusiastically decided on chicken flautas but was disappointed to learn the cook had already turned off the deep fryer  That meant my second choice, chimichangas, was also out of the question. I settled on a “Mexican Burrito, ” which, as far as I could tell from the menu, was simply a chicken burrito with some extra seasoning added to the chicken. My partners both ordered tacos– chicken for one and chorizo for the other.

The burrito was the kind which one must eat with a fork and knife, for any effort to pick up that monstrosity would have proven futile and terribly messy. I scarfed down about half of the thing before admitting defeat. Well, defeat never tasted so good. Stuffed with chicken, cheese, black beans, rice, lettuce, and more of that bruschetta-like pico, and served with a side of sour cream and guacamole, it literally left no room for disappointment.

From what my friends told me (greedy bastards), the tacos, served two to an order with a side of black beans and rice, were exemplary. The tortillas were crisped up just right and filled to spill. The chorizo, of which I did manage to sneak a taste, had a serious kick and clearly was not made for the weak of stomach.

We left Jose’s much more full and only slightly less wealthy than we had been upon entry. I have no doubt of there being many return trips in my future, if not for the food, then at least to find out what happens next in the telenovela that played on the TV throughout our visit.

Jose’s Mexican Restaurant,  101 Rt. 71 South,  Spring Lake Heights, NJ,  (732) 974-8080

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