DINING REVIEW: Bad Boy Burritos at The Pantry

When it came to what’s new with food on Fire Island, talk of Bad Boy Burritos was on everyone’s lips. There is little surprise why. The black and white Jolly Roger logo strategically placed outside The Pantry kind of beckons, and who isn’t a fan of burritos?With outdoor restaurant dining being reintroduced only recently after the height of the COVID-19 crisis in New York, all of us became more adept at take-out food options to help keep things interesting, and we give The Pantry credit for the retrofit job of their store to accommodate the public. The sliding windows on their recently constructed front porch are kind of reminiscent of old-fashioned beachside concession stands – not only functional, but nostalgic.But back to the burritos, we had questions. Who were these bad boys, and where did they come from? A quick Google search indicated that there is a restaurant of that name down in Key West. Any affiliation?“Not at all,” said Island Mermaid and The Pantry proprietor Scott Hirsch. “These burritos were developed in The Island Mermaid’s own test kitchens over a year and a half period. It was a labor of love and we are very pleased with the high demand.”Of course we had to try it for ourselves, but where to start? There are so many intriguing options! Shall we try the surf & turf Bad Boy Bromance – grilled skirt steak and shrimp, guacamole, scallions, and cowboy sauce? Or how about we go vegetarian with Bad Boy Buddah with hummus, fried chickpeas, roasted peppers, shredded carrots, cucumber, lettuce, tzatziki and cucumber wasabi sauce? Maybe we should go Thai style with the Bad Boy Bam Bam, fried rock shrimp, peanuts, stir-fried vegetables, La Choy noodles and peanut sauce.If you like chicken there are three different Bay Boy options that include either Cajun, braised, or Buffalo chicken creations. If you enjoy fish tacos, maybe the Bad Boy Baja is for you, with crispy cod, Brussel kohlrabi slaw, black beans and pickled jalapeños, with caper and red onion sauce. Of course for the traditionalist, there is the Bad Boy Beef – classic prime taco meat, rice, tortillas, black beans, nacho cheese and pico de gallo sauce.If Mr. Hirsch has a test kitchen, so do the McCollums. In this test kitchen we order and share a single sandwich. These half sandwiches have taken us through much of the pandemic, and it kind of works for us. Because shrimp and steak are two of our favorite things, we went with the Bad Boy Bromance. When we plated the burrito, we found that it measured approximately eight inches, and had roughly a three-inch diameter. The important thing with any burrito is that all the flavors jive. We are pleased to say our sample passed our jive test, which is quite a feat, considering the diversity of ingredients. How do they do it?“The secret is in the sauce,” said Scott like a proud father.The suite of specialty sauces includes salsa verde, cucumber wasabi (which is amazing), and mango habanero among others – many being Island Mermaid proprietary recipes. As each burrito is made to order, Scott was quick to point out the patron can customize to taste – if you would prefer boom boom sauce on that Bad Boy Bahama instead of their smoked paprika sauce it can be done, just ask.All burritos are reasonably priced at under $15. Kudos to The Pantry staff for always being so gracious. Please don’t forget about their wonderful deli sandwiches, and of course their homemade fruit pies – one of the best-kept secrets on Fire Island.The Pantry is open for take-out on the west end of Ocean Beach at 2 Bay Walk, and will deliver to Ocean Beach and the neighboring Fire Island communities. Their telephone number is 631-583-7467. Online orders can be placed on their website at Pantryobfi.com