Fiesta, Fiesta. Yes ma, it’s a, Fiesta….. at Under the Moon Cafe in Bordentown, NJ. On a beautiful fall Saturday evening #squad and I stumbled into Under the Moon in search of some delicious Latin cuisine, and surprisingly enough our curiosity was rewarded. Not being locals we were unaware that this was a hot spot, where if you show up on a Saturday evening for dinner it would behoove you to have a reservation. Luckily for us our incredibly awesome waitress Tina worked some magic and squeezed us in a two top so we didn’t have to wait a couple of hours for something to open up.
Walking through this down home enigmatic Latin joint you can’t help but notice the beautiful wooden tables and hand carved ceilings; which immediately gives you a feeling that you are in store for something special. I wasn’t exactly sure what that was but as Tina went through the specials for the night and giving the menu a once over, I started to get an idea that there wouldn’t be much, if any disappointment coming out of the kitchen.
We decided to just order a bunch of tapas to get a feel for the place. Corn brûlée, chicken teriyaki spring rolls, beef empanadas, stuffed shrimp, and boneless short rib tostadas made the cut and arrived shortly after we polished of the delicious complimentary garlic toast and chimichurri. Without further ado let me get to these amazingly sabor tapas.
The boneless short rib tostadas were braised fucking fall-apart-in-yo-mouth perfectly. It was dressed with pico, roasted garlic, and lime aioli. This exemplary flavor profile danced around my taste buds like diamonds on an Audemars Piguet.
The crab stuffed shrimp in horseradish pesto cream sauce was another exercise in flawless execution. As I started spooning left over pesto cream in my mouth all I could hear was Post Malone singing “I’m saucin, I’m saucin, I’m saucin on you!”
The corn brûlée topped with caramelized leeks was another immaculate dish. The chef should give a class on this one because the light airy soufflé was spot on in texture and taste, as the leeks added a whole other dimension of salty crispness.
So……. chicken teriyaki spring rolls? Really though? Yes, as out of place as they sound, in coincidently, this dish turned out to be a complete mind fuck. I thought I was sneaking in some Far East; the whole while I was being led right back to south of the border. The asian veg, corn, black beans, and wasabi aoli interpolating with the marinated chicken made a hell of a case for a southwest roll.
The beef empanadas, the main reason #squad wanted to come here, would have made any Latin mother proud. Perfectly crisp dough, and exquisite meat filing made for an almost 10 out of 10 effort. I’d say it was a 9 only because of my utter disdain for olives that were incorporated into the filing.
After destroying our tapas with extreme prejudice; Tina came back around to see if we were ready for dessert and coffee. Admittedly I rarely order dessert and didn’t plan on deviating from that mindset, but I would be a damn fool to not at least entertain the thought based on the quality of food I was just served. She rattled off at least 6 mouthwatering in-house desserts, which made me wonder if they had a Cake Boss contestant held hostage back there, because to have such a varied number of in-house delicacies at such a small restaurant just seemed illogical. Nonetheless, we decided to take home some French Toast bread pudding. It wasn’t as good as it sounds though, it was so much better! The homemade whipped cream merged symbiotically into the moist bread, and hinted accents of vanilla and cinnamon running wild didn’t hurt either.
Under the Moon Cafe went above and beyond with their food as well as their service. It’s easy to see why this Cafe’s reservation book stays full, so if you’re in the Bordentown area with a craving for Latin do yourself a favor and stop here. You will probably run into myself because I plan on riding this wave as often as possible.