April 27, 2009 by MrBlueSkies
For those of you who don’t live in my area, Collingswood has become THE town to go to when you want to dine out in South Jersey. A dozen amazing restaurants have popped up in this quaint, dry town and the Tortilla Press (TP) was one of the original restaurants that helped pave that road.
I’ve been to the Tortilla Press several times and even blogged about their wonderful brunch so I was pleasantly surprised when the contacted me to tell me that they really enjoyed and appreciated my last review. They also offered me a coupon for a free meal if I would come in and try out their “steak night” on Wednesday. Since I am one to never refuse a free meal, I happily accepted…
Now before I start in about the meal, let me tell you that I decided that the free meal would in no way impact my review. Whatever I ate, I would review it based on how I (or my guests) enjoyed the meal.
Amazing $5.00 Brunch
Every Saturday and Sunday, the TP offers a special $5.00 brunch menu from 10am – 12 noon. With offerings like Cheese Chiliquiles Verde & Scrambled Eggs, Pan Perdidas (Mexican French Toast), and Breakfast Enchiladas, this is no watered-down menu.
This past Sunday, my friend Scotty called me and wanted to know if I wanted to go to the mall with him. After I picked him up, I suggested we stop at the TP for the $5.00 brunch. It was 11:30 and we had just enough time. They start you off with a complimentary bowl of sugar and cinnamon tortilla chips accompanied with a cinnamon and honey infused yogurt dipping sauce. An amazingly delicious combination and what was even more amazing was that it was still complimentary, even with the $5.00 brunch menu.
I ordered the Huevos Rancheros which is my favorite. TP’s version is two eggs sunny side up served with a tomato cilantro sauce over corn tortillas, then topped with crumbled queso fresco, rajas poblano and tortilla strips. It also comes with rice and black beans. I am pleased to say that the plate looked as pretty as a picture and tasted just as good. And such a huge platter for five bucks.
Scott ordered the Spinache & Bacon quiche which was filled with a creamy chihuahua cheese, then topped with a home made hollandaise sauce. It is also served with a side fruit cup. Scott raved over the quiche and said the sauce was so good he wished they would bottle it. But don’t take my word for it, take a look at the picture I took of him after the first bite.
Here’s the Beef Wednesday Night Special
So when I decided to go for dinner on Wednesday night to take advantage of the free meal and their “Here’s the Beef” Wednesday special, I was worried that TP would have a difficult topping such an amazing brunch. But boy were my worries missplaced.
I invied Amy to join me and Sean and Scott wanted to come along as well. We arrived at 5:30 and were promptly seated even though the restaurant was already fairly full. Our waitress, Cait, (and I am spelling it correctly) was friendly, efficient and just plain nice. She definitely added to our dining experience. If you go for dinner, make sure you ask for her.
They start you out with chips, salsa, and a bean mixture. The offering is a little sparse for 4 people, but the bean mixture added a delightful taste and texture to what would be basic chips and salsa. We then ordered the Blue Corn Calamari with fried jalapeno for $8. The blue-green tinted calamari and jalapenos arrived on a plate of greens with a wonderful creamy mexican tartar sauce. We housed it.
Scotty decided to order the Wednesday special ($15.95), which included an 8 oz. filet, chipotle mashed or au-gratin potatoes, a spicy sauce or a bernaise sauce, vegetable, and a salad. Scott chose the au-gratin potatoes and the bernaise sauce. The filet was cooked perfectly and Scott savored every bite. The potatoes were creamy with a nice crisp topping and the green beans were crisp and fresh. I heard another patron at a different table comment on the generous size of the steak.
I ordered the shrimp fajitas for $18. TP does fajitas a little different as there is no greasy, sizzling skillet. The shrimp, onions, and peppers were pre-grilled in a sweet and spicy mexican bbq sauce and served on a plate with the beans and rice. Served with soft tortillas, salsa, guacamole, and mexican creme. I was a little surprised by the different presentation but the bbq sauce added a wonderful flavor and I appreciated the lack of splattering grease. The shrimp were big and meaty and everything was supplied in ample portions except for the salsa which I practically used all of on my first tortilla. Otherwise, this was the tastiest fajita this man has had in a long time and considering that I worked part-time at Chi Chi’s for almost 8 years, that is saying something.
Sean ordered the Coconut Habanero Shrimp for $20. This delectably sweet and spicy dish included the same large and meaty shrimp fire grilled in a sweet, spicy coconut & pepper confetti salsa. Served with chipotle mashed potatoes, grilled pineapple & fresh green beans. Sean is afraid of the heat and he found the sweatness of the coconut milk counted nicely with the slight heat of the dish. He also enjoyed the subtle smokey flavor of the chipotle mashed potatoes and insisted we all have a taste.
Lastly, Amy ordered the Rainbow Shrimp for $20. (We all wanted shrimp–what can I say.) This meal included the same meaty shrimp sautéed with peppers, onions and mushrooms in a garlic chile butter sauce. Served with poblano spinach rice and fresh vegetable medley. Amy said the chile butter sauce added the right touch of heat without being overwhelming. The veggies were fresh and crisp. I forgot to ask her about the rice but she ate it all, just like the rest of us, so she must have enjoyed it.
The deserts look similar but they were very different. Scott, Sean, and Amy ordered the desert special, chimi fried cheesecake. The dish was NY style cheesecake and blackberries wrapped into a tortilla and fired crispy. Served coverd with powedered sugar, more blackberries and a dollop of cajeta. (mexican whipped creme I am guessing.) They all were in heaven. I had a small taste of Sean’s and this is one treat that they should keep on the menu.
I had a similiar dish called the Banana Buritto. The Banana Buritto is made of Ripe Banana and sliced strawberries drizzled with chocolate and cajeta, then rolled in a flour tortilla and lightly fried. Served with a scoop of ice cream, more chocolate sauce and cajeta. I had a choice of ice cream so I went with cinnamon. This dish is amazing. The flavor of the bananas and strawberries with the crispy tortilla and the spicy cinnamon ice cream dance all over my taste buds. After we finished eating, Sean turned to me and said, “This is now my favorite restaurant.” Considering that his is one picky fellow, I’d have to say that was some accomplishment.
I’ve eaten at the TP many times and I would be hard-pressed to say anything negative about it. Chef Owner, Mark Smith, has a real gem here in Collingswood and he truly is making an effort to keep dining out in SJ affordable. In addition to the $5 brunch and the Wednesday filet special, the also offer a 3 course twilight menu Sun – Thurs, 4:00 – 6:30 for only $16.50 pp.
The Tortilla Press is located at 703 Haddon Avenue in Collingswood, NJ. Visit them at www.thetortillapress.com. Walk-ins are ok but I recommend calling 856-869-3345 to make a reservation. And tell em Mr Blueskies sent you.