Spanish Potato Grill
399 Mantoloking Road, Brick
Hours: Daily, noon–9 pm
Style: This storefront with less than a dozen tables manages to seat you and bring your first course before the ice melts in your pitcher of sangria. (It’s BYO. See below). The brightly lit room has a bit of a diner vibe, but you won’t find authentic Spanish and Portuguese cuisine like this in any diner.
Don’t Miss: For literal flamboyance, it’s hard to top chorizo flambiado, a $10.75 starter in which the spicy Portuguese sausage is flambéed in brandy tableside. Paella ($24) is a must. You get a generous pot of redolent saffron rice bristling with meaty scallops, shrimp and mussels and crowned with half a lobster. Other seafood hits include bacalhao a Espanola ($21) and baked cod with peppers, onions and potatoes in a delicious saffron sauce. Meat lovers will delight in steak a la plancha ($18), a griddled New York strip showered with sautéed mushrooms. Daily specials tend to be worthwhile. The flan ($4.50) is masterful, creamy yet firm, with rich caramel flavor.
Heads Up: The parking lot is tight, the foyer even tighter. On weekdays you can make a reservation, but on weekends be prepared to wait for your table. While you’re waiting, the staff will open your wine and pour it into a pitcher of ice stocked with juice from squeezed fresh fruit—instant sangria. The waiting area has seating and the staff moves pretty quickly, so the waits aren’t usually long.
The Scoop: Spanish Potato Grill is the latest and—so far—the most promising restaurant in a spot that has seen many a place close after one season. A steady stream of locals has made the restaurant a hit, and a hearty summer crowd (the restaurant is just two or three miles due west from the Mantoloking and Brick beaches) will likely keep it going.