Mar 24, 2022

Dining with Draz: Rosalita’s Roadside Cantina

By Lori Draz

Spring awakens so many things, including our tastebuds, so with an eye ahead to Cinco de Mayo, we set off for a something spicy at Rosalita’s Roadside Cantina in Englishtown. 

This is Americanized Mexican with a huge menu of traditional dishes. While it doesn’t take big risks, it does deliver a fun and colorful dining experience. The owners have captured the roadside cantina look. From chicken wire doors and boards on the siding, it looks like a small desert drive-in, but it’s really quite large inside. The wind-worn looking, sand-colored walls, sturdy wooden tables, southwestern accents and perky staff set a relaxed vibe that we could see was popular with casual diners. 

We ordered a round of cocktails, and they arrived in a flash. Each was colorful and tasty – so much so that ordering a second or third round would be easy. 

We began our meal with the Popcorn Shrimp. The crispy, beer-battered shrimp have a mild dose of Cajun seasoning and ranch dip on the side. The batter is a little thick, but the fry is exquisite, and they are served in a cute rolled-down paper bag for the roadside feel. We also picked the Rosie’s Sampler, which gave us chance to try the avocado fries – which are really battered and fried avocado slices – the stuffed jalapenos, buffalo cauliflower bites and taquitos. There was plenty to share, and there are plenty of other appetizers too, so pick a few. 

Now for the entrées. Diner one chose the Chicken Flautas from the entrée menu. These are three cigar-length crispy corn tortillas stuffed with pulled chicken and dressed with queso fresco. She liked the crunch and the fact they were not overly filling. The rice and beans on the side gave it a finishing Mexican touch, and overall she was pleased with her choice. 

Diner two took advantage of the Tuesday night taco special. It’s a little mind-bending but perfect for those who like to try new combinations. You begin with two tacos with your choice of proteins, toppings and sauces. Finish those and you order two more in any other combination you create. They had lots of fun with this one and made it up to a third round with a smile on each one. 

I had the Hawaiian Pork Burrito. This is a big boy stuffed with pork, beans and seasoned rice. I was curious to try the combination of pork and grilled pineapple which is a salsa-like topping and which made for a nice combination. I only got halfway through, so order it if you’re good and hungry.  

Sometimes you’re in the right place at the right time, and we were in perfect viewing position to see the Kitchen Sink Burrito being delivered to a fearless eater. This whopper is a massive mountain of meats, five pounds strong. It’s as big as a load of challah bread and there is some “eat it in a sitting” challenge attached that no one has completed yet. What a show!

We ended our meal with three treats. The first was traditional Mexican Churros. These are three foot-long crispy churros, which are in the donut family, filled with caramel, dressed with caramel and chocolate sauce and a berry whipped cream on the side. They’re sticky and not too sweet, crunchy and gooey. The second was the Apple Empanada. This flaky turnover was stuffed with tender, juicy diced apples with vanilla ice cream on the side. Number three was the Chocolate Chip Skillet Cake, served in a cute mini cast iron skillet and swimming in chocolate sauce. My favorite was the empanada, but all were good and not overly large or sweet.  

Rosalita’s Roadside Cantina has many nightly specials. On Mondays and Thursdays, it’s specially priced margaritas all day; Tuesday, all you can eat tacos; Wednesday, kids eat free all day with an adult meal; reduced drinks on Sunday and a Monday through Saturday Happy Hour from 3:30 to 6:30 pm. They also have a big kids menu too. 

Cost – Low

What we liked – The colorful décor and the roomy dining areas; the peppy, casual energy; the big menu and portions; the quick-to-the-table cocktails; the skillful frying; and the big parking lot.  

We give it 4 and a quarter Js 

Rosalita’s Roadside Cantina is located at 180 Route 9 in Englishtown. They also have a second location in Brick. 732-617 0099. They’re open seven days a week – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 11:30 am to 10:30 pm and Sunday from noon to 9:30 pm. RosiesCantinaNJ.com