Legendary Arabic and Mexican food hidden in a forgotten New Jersey town

That is the second installment in an ongoing, occasional sequence highlighting the most effective of New Jersey “Low cost eats” – Scrumptious dishes at inexpensive costs. If of a restaurant in New Jersey that gives glorious worth to your cash, e-mail me, Karim Shamsi Basha, at kshamsi-basha@njadvancemedia.com

Generally the only eating places can boast probably the most extravagant flavors.

That is what I skilled at Halal Brothers Restaurant on Hamilton Road in Trenton. The road is abnormal, a driveway relatively than a vacation spot, north of D.C.’s historic Chambersburg neighborhood. The modestly furnished restaurant is clear however small and serves takeaway meals.

However the meals? A real hidden and inexpensive gem serving scrumptious Center Jap delicacies.

I’ll add Halal Brothers, open since 2020, to my restaurant rotation month-to-month, and even each two weeks. Then once more, Trenton will not be removed from the place I reside. Perhaps I can go weekly. That is it. I’ll eat at Halal Brothers each day.

extra: Finest New Jersey meals underneath $10: Unreal sandwiches from a Jersey Shore legend

Restaurant proprietor Amir Farraj, 24, is the eldest of six siblings, all of whom assist in the restaurant. He was born in the US, however his dad and mom immigrated right here from the Palestinian territories at an early age.

Because the warfare between Israel and Hamas continues, Faraj and his household stay looking forward to a peaceable resolution.

“It has been robust, however our prospects love our little place and have proven us a lot help,” Farag advised NJ Advance Media. “Regardless of the warfare, my household and I work laborious to supply the most effective Center Jap delicacies at the most effective costs.”

Finest costs, in truth. Restaurant dishes with rice and your selection of rooster, fish, gyro, shrimp or salmon price $13.95 at most. You will pay $20 or extra at a distinct restaurant. I spent as much as $30 for much less meals.

You will get sufficient meals at a low worth at Halal Brothers in Trenton.

Most wraps are $11, however the costs for sides caught my eye: $1.99 for fries, $3 for grape leaves, $3 for hummus with pita bread, and $5 for falafel. These meals have been very beneficiant, not like most dishes I’ve had earlier than,

“We’ve got quite a lot of common prospects, and we love making our meals accessible to them,” Farag mentioned. “This can be a labor of affection. It isn’t in regards to the cash.”

Farraj by no means attended culinary college, however grew up in a typical Center Jap residence, the place meals is the fulcrum of actions.

I attempted grape leaves, falafel, and hummus, and I used to be greater than full. Then got here the shrimp over rice dish at $13.99, which might have simply fed two individuals.

The shrimp over rice at Halal Brothers can simply feed two individuals.

The meals at Halal Brothers has the aroma, style and texture of handmade. The falafel was effectively seasoned and smooth on the within with a crispy, crunchy crust. The hummus was tangy and lemony with a pronounced tahini style, and the shrimp have been tender and completely seasoned.

Then I tasted the stuffed vegetarian grape leaves. This was the place issues acquired actual. These have been completely tender and recent with simply the correct amount of brine.

Halal Brothers grape leaves style quite a bit like my mom’s – most likely the very best accolade I may give!

“We base all the pieces on retaining our prospects blissful, so we make all the pieces ourselves from the garlic sauce to our personal seasonings,” Farraj explains of his flavors.

The meals at Taqueria El Mariachi was genuine, just like the tilapia tacos and fried shrimp pictured right here.

Mexican bonus!

On my manner out of Trenton, I ended at close by Taqueria El Mariachi Mexican Restaurant, one other unassuming restaurant that comes extremely really useful (it seems in our information to low cost eats statewide). I had to take a look at the situation on South Olden Avenue – it had been a full 10 minutes since my final meal.

The meals right here affords true Mexican and Guatemalan flavors on a funds. I attempted the tilapia, $10, the shrimp tacos, three for $10, and the pupusas, $7. They have been all scrumptious and filled with genuine and flavorful spices.

Like Paterson, Trenton tends to be a forgotten metropolis within the Backyard State, or at the least a metropolis with a generally damaging fame. If you happen to’ve by no means been there, you will be stunned by our capital metropolis, full of wealthy historical past and evolving tradition, and by a sturdy meals scene that may take your style buds on a journey throughout the globe.

I felt like I traveled to Jap Europe after I wrote about Blue Danube, a restaurant that serves the most effective Polish and Hungarian delicacies.

Cease in Trenton subsequent time you are within the space. Worldwide specialties – and cheap costs – await!

Karim Shamsi Pasha might be reached at kshamsi-basha@njadvancemedia.com. observe him Twitter & Instagram. Discover NJ.com on Fb.