It's noon in Long Beach, and West Park Avenue is teeming with foot traffic.
My pal has been out walking the boardwalk. I have a date to meet her at Sugo, an Italian restaurant, where owner Alan Adams recently opened a taco and hot dog window called Jax. It's open daily from noon until about 9 p.m., later on weekends.
We meet up and order two soft corn tacos ($5 apiece, two for $9) one with jerk chicken, the other with blackened fish. A hot dog, too. "Have it Alan-style," Adams advises, "with coleslaw and ketchup. You'll never want it another way again." Hey, I'll try anything once.
It's shady and cool at an umbrella table. The Alan-style, beer-boiled Hebrew National hot dog is a surprise kick, a study in crimson, since the slaw is made with red cabbage. It works amazingly well with the ketchup. And I'm into those tacos; jerk chicken is fiery and nuanced, crowned with mango-pineapple salsa, cabbage, salsa verde and pickled jalapeños. Blackened flounder is topped with smoked chipotle aioli, guacamole and spicy banana peppers, setting off little mouth explosions. Adams suddenly appears with a pulled-brisket taco topped with pico de gallo, crema and hot sauce. "Taste it," he tells us, placing it on the table. Simply grand.
New to Adams' repertoire: a Reuben taco. And a lobster roll, served with Cajun sweet potato chips and a Waldorf potato salad. Also, a muffuletta done with an assortment of cured meats, cheeses, Cajun mayo and olive salad. For dessert: Key lime pie.
Street food; it's hard not to love it.
Jax at Sugo is at 62 W. Park Ave., Long Beach, 516-431-7846, sugocafe.com. $