Posts Tagged ‘diner’

The George Inn, Vernon NJ

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Finding a place to eat in and around this part of New Jersey is not an easy thing to do. Surprisingly though, what the George Inn lacks in atmospheric dining experience, it made up for with tonight’s special dish.

Two things stand out to me about dining here. One was the decor/feeling of the dining room and the other was the menu choices.

The atmosphere leaves much to be desired albeit clean and well maintained, it seemed vast and cafeteria like. A large open dining area with very bright lighting, adds to the noise level while dining. Customers in brighter places tend to speak louder than those in intimate low lit rooms. The wood work and decorative Tiffany lamps would have provided more charm had there not been the additional overhead fluorescent lights. The well lit room also put on display, the sloppiness of the wait staff. Although our waitress was dressed and presented well, her co workers left much to be desired. Combinations of untucked shirts, large hoop earrings and chewing gum gave an unprofessional and mismanaged appearance. It seems to me that with some attention to details, (ie; remove the paper “diner” style place mats, neater staff etc..) this dining room, would be very warm and inviting.

The menu was both confusing and and yet very predictable. What I mean by this is that the style of dishes were all over the place and yet nothing that we wouldn’t expect to find in most diners. For example, you could order Mexican dishes, Nacho platter or Fajitas or your basic Parmigiana ( Chicken or Veal). At first glance and before looking at the menu, you would expect seafood and steaks to be the backbone of menu entree’s. Perhaps they are trying to cater to all different customers likes due to the lack of diversified restaurants in the area. The funny thing is that we ordered a special that was Grilled Pork chop with a Mushroom Risotto in a Demi Glaze with medley of vegetables, which was exactly the type of dish that I expected to see throughout the menu. And by the way, the dish was delicious and the Pork Chop was prepared perfectly. If not for that dish, I would not have been able to choose an item for dinner. Too many restaurants have “diner” menus where they try to be everything but their dishes tend to be just ordinary. Very rarely do you find a place that serves so many different styles of food that is exceptionally prepared and different. Have we not seen enough of Chicken Parmigiana, Buffalo wings and Potato skins?

Back to the Pork Chop dinner: The chop was grilled perfectly and the Risotto was creamy, cheesy and fantastic. The portion size was more than adequate and I left satisfied and full. After eating this, I couldn’t help wonder why they choose not to explore this style of cooking though out the menu. Do away with the ordinary and make a statement with dishes such as this. Perhaps because I was expecting more of a steak house menu was I disappointed. Maybe the Chef at the George Inn knows more about his clientele than I and thus the wide variety of normal everyday items. I will say this. If everything is prepared like my Pork Chop dinner, than they might be on to something.

Next time your skiing at Mountain Creek, be sure to dine at the George Inn and leave a comment on my site. I would be very interested in your opinion.

The Regular Guy rating  * * *

The George Inn

84 STATE RT94

SOUTH VERNON, NJ 0746

973-827-5758

www.georgeinn1872.com/index.html

It sucks! Now go away

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Does every waiter have to ask how everything is less than five minutes after they serve you? Do they not eat out themselves? Can they at least watch you to see if your mouth is full BEFORE they ask you?

Look, all you need to do is walk by me once in awhile and if I need something, or “the food sucks”, I will get your attention. Is the food so bad in these places that waitresses have to ask you how everything is? Shouldn’t it just be fine? After all, it is what we expect when we eat out. I don’t go out thinking “hit or miss, I hope this food’s good”. And one more thing. Tell me your name. That’s not reserved for costly restaurants. That way when you disappear, I can ask the next waiter to find you, just in case “it sucks”.

Just one man’s opinion

The Regular Guy

Mustache Bill’s Diner, Barnegat Light NJ

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

After dropping my card and promising on my last visit to post my review, I have finally found the time to do so.

After some 20 years of eating at Bill’s diner, I guess its about time I posted why I have been such a fan of his place for so long.

How about a list. Yes, just like David Letterman’s top ten list.

10. Location. At the north tip of Long Beach Island and tucked away from everyone except the local faithfuls and summer tourists.

9. The smell of the salt air and nearby bay make it pleasurable even when waiting during the summer months for a table.

8. The tables in the back room are the coolest. Its like eating in your grandma’s back porch when everyone else has to eat at the kitchen table.

7. The menus on the wall and in your hand offer too many choices that make it too damn hard to decide what to order.

6. The waitresses are the best, the friendliest and the prettiest on the island and the serve up the food faster than you can finish your first cup of coffee.

5. The coffee cup is ALWAYS full.

4. Everything tastes like it was just made, which is exactly how it should be.

3. The kitchen staff has worked together for many, many years and they always serve the food the same way, everyday, which is the hardest thing to accomplish in the restaurant business. CONSISTANCY!!!!

2. The diner is a landmark ( or should be) and no one else on LBI received a visit from Guy Fieri, of my favorite food show, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Hats off to you Bill!!

and the number one reason…

1. Mustache Bill’s omelets and pancakes are quite simply the BEST on LBI and the surrounding area. I have my own omelet which should have a name by now since Vinny and I perfected its makeup some three or four years ago…We start with the Potato Skin omelet which has potatoes, scallions, bacon and cheddar cheese and then we ask for HOT peppers to be added. Dress it up with salsa, sour cream and a short stack of ‘cakes and the next meal you can expect to want is dinner. Bill has perfected the omelet and no where will you find one that is fluffier and filled better.

You can expect only the best when you visit Mustache Bill’s so get up early, put the top down and head over to LBI and enjoy the best breakfast this area has to offer.

The Regular Guy rating * * * *

Mustache Bill’s Diner

W 8th St and Broadway
Barnegat Light, NJ 08006

Horizon Diner, Manahawkin NJ

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

Having breakfast out on Sunday mornings is always one of my favorite things to do, and this Sunday was no exception.

The Horizon Diner is one of the oldest businesses in town. Some years back, the diner was renovated by a previous owner and is now more up to date than its original self. Although the previous owner did most of the updates, credit must be given to the new owner for the upgraded food and service.

Today’s visit offered both good food and some exceptional service. It has always been one of my pet peeves that most restaurants won’t accommodate a request for something special.  Diners however, are usually very capable and willing to prepare a dish not on its menu pages.

I like omelets with a lot going on inside, so I asked for one with cheddar and bacon with sauteed scallions and jalapenos, not too brown ( well done is a no no ) and sides of salsa and sour cream. Our waitress was a real pleasure too as she didn’t flinch when I preceded to rap off everything I wanted. She actually played along very well with the kidding we gave her during the placement of our orders.

All in all the food was done just right and we all had a good time, which is the way it should be when going out to eat.

The Regular Guy rating  * * *

The Horizon Diner

Bay Ave Manahawkin NJ 08050

(609) 597-4771

Ebby’s Cafe Alfresco, Seaside Park NJ

Monday, July 6th, 2009

I love this place! Something about Ebby’s made me feel that way from the moment I walked in.

I turned forty nine years old this last Wednesday and my parents and their close friends asked my wife and I to join them for dinner at a place they thought I would really enjoy. I am not one for fancy restaurants so this one looked promising at first glance.

Ebby’s is a little delicatessen/ restaurant set back on a main road through a beach town here in New Jersey. You would never know from looking at the outside that such great food is being served on the inside. Walking in the front door you have to pass by the deli to get to the dining area but once inside the dining room you quickly forget that there is a deli attached to it. The dining room is dressed in crisp linen table clothes and comfortable lighting. I say comfortable because at forty nine its tough to read menus in most places these days. Ebby’s also dining al Fresco under the tent along side the building on the patio.

Ebby’s menu is filled with the usual items that one would find in a continental restaurant, but the taste is not so usual at all. We started with an order of fried calamari and an order of something that I haven’t seen before and quite frankly do not know the name of. It is a clam, spinach and  white bean appetizer that I believe is their version of steamed little necks. Whatever it is, it is fantastic. The broth is made for dipping your crusty bread into. The only problem was that there were too many of us for just that one dish. This is a must have if you visit Ebby’s.

Ebby’s menu has enough items to make you have to choose albeit agonizingly, between so many interesting twists on some regular expected dishes. And if that’s not difficult enough, Ebby’s serves up specials too. I had a very tough time deciding between the Pork Milanese and the Cowboy Steak. Both sounded great but I eventually opted for the Steak, being that it was a Rib-eye which happens to be a favorite of mine.

My choice turned out to be a good one as the Steak was done perfectly and accompanied with Broccoli Rabe and Roasted Potatoes, which set it off nicely. Every one’s meals must have been exceptional as our table got very quiet while dinner was being eaten. That’s not an easy thing to accomplish with our group.

I can’t tell you how much the dinner was but I can tell you that the pricing was very reasonable. Our server, Christi was knowledgable and very attentive. She did a great job with all our questions too, especially from me when I asked three times about the specials! I wasn’t allowed to partake in the paying of the bill because it was my birthday but I will tell you that I plan on returning to Ebby’s real soon. By the way, bring your own bottle. Another great reason to visit Ebby’s.

Regular Guy rating  * * * *

Ebby’s Cafe Alfresco

2013 Central Ave, Seaside Park

Toms River NJ

Bay Ave Diner, Manahawkin NJ

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

As most people know, New Jersey is the diner capital. Unfortunatly for me, on this day, I chose the wrong time to visit one.

Feeling hungry and on my way to work, I can’t help thinking about a stack of pancakes with some fresh fruit.  A visit to our neighborhood diner is in order to satisfy my craving. I order up a short stack with banana’s, strawberries and blueberries and can’t wait to sink my teeth into them. Last night wasn’t a good night for dinner so I wake up hungry and craving some ‘ cakes.

As I sip a hot cup of coffee my waitress sets the plate in front of me. At first glance I am impressed at the amount of fruit that is piled high over my ‘cakes. At second glance I realize that the fruit, other than the banana’s, isn’t fresh.  Disappointment begins to set in as I attempt the navigate thru the mushy and hot blueberries to search out the ‘cakes. Even the strawberries were like tasteless shaved strawberry ice. To add insult to injury, I am served whipped margarine in a cup instead of butter. I hate margerine and especially on pancakes.

Trying to make the best of the situation and still hungry, I make it to the pancakes beneath the frozen fruit mess. The ‘cakes are always tasty and I make sure to eat the banana’s with each mouthful.

So how does this story get worse? How about the price they charged me for 2 pancakes and frozen fruit. How does $8.79 sound for that short stack mess. I can not believe my eyes and realize a lesson is hereby learned. Total for ‘cakes and coffee amounts to $10.49. I know I will never eat here again, especially since the waitress sees I didn’t eat all the fruit and charges me full price anyway.

How is it that when a customer isn’t satisfied, the waitress doesn’t make it a point to address the issue at hand to make it right or at least remove something from the bill to ease the distress. This is why I write this stuff, more for a warning shot to potential customers to these establishments.

Regular Guy rating * *

Bay Ave Diner

Bay Avenue

Manahawkin New Jersey

Meils Restaurant, Stockton NJ

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

Quaint little towns always seem to have at least one restaurant that clearly stands out. Meils is one example of just such an establishment.

I have dined at Meils at least four times that I can remember and perhaps at least one more time that I can’t recall, but each time did not disappoint. Although small and crampy, the atmosphere is mom and pop, old style homemade dining. And the food….is exactly that.  Big portions of very tasty and some clever, combinations. My favorite over the years has always been the meatloaf. I make it a point to eat at Meils every time I visit the New Hope/ Lambertville/ Stockton area.

This time I made it there for breakfast, a first. Three friends and I set out from Manahawkin NJ on a very frigid Sunday morning on motorcycle, for a long awaited first spring ride. With the cold breeze threatening to make our trip shorter than we would like, we persevered until finally an hour and a half later we arrived.

First order is to drink as much hot coffee as possible to warm our frozen extremities. Our waitress promptly delivered the goods along with menus. At first glance something changed from what I remembered about Meils…their prices. I have to say that I was very shocked at the prices for the breakfast items. My last recollection of Meils was fantastic food at very, very reasonable prices. It has been some five years since my last trip to Meils so I thought that the popularity of the place created a sale and the new owner changed the menu. As I found out later, the same owners are still there after some 18 years, so that wasn’t why the prices were so much higher than I remembered. For example..Ham and eggs, with two sides $11.00.  Omelets ranged from $14-$18. I stopped short of reading the whole menu because no matter how good the breakfast might be, I can’t see spending this much money on eggs. That being said, the ham and eggs were delicious. I opted for the home fries and a Cinnamon Butterscotch scone as my two sides, with a side of salsa for my eggs. The salsa, which I love to eat with eggs, was fresh with the much needed addition of Cilantro. Anyone who eats salsa knows that fresh Cilantro really sets it off and separates the good salsa from the just so so salsa. I am a baker/chef by trade and I have to say that the scone was as good as any I have made in my own shop. Served up warm and flaky with a side of jam, it definitely made the meal better than if I had it with toast. The breakfast took quite some time to serve (about 25 minutes) and the place wasn’t jamming so we couldn’t understand why it took so long, but once we started eating , we soon forgot the wait time. By the way, all the dishes were garnished attractively and overfilled the plates. Also the bacon is the best any of us ever had, and describing it just wouldn’t cover how good it was.  If you love bacon, you have to order up some on your visit.

So what does it cost for great food, great service ( the coffee kept flowing with out asking) and great atmosphere. Well for us, including tip, $80.00. I told you it was pricey. Although the food is excellent, I don’t know how they justify Manhattan Hotel prices. If I were to say how much it should have cost us, it would be more in line with $60-$65 including tip. So, a bit costly but at least you are getting a meal that leaves you full and satisfied. Nothing worse than overpriced bad food, so it makes it a little easier to accept the bill.

Regular guy rating * * * 1/2 ( only because of high priced menu)

Meils Restaurant and Bakery

Bridge & Main
Stockton, NJ 08559
(609) 397-8033

Granny’s Kitchen, Lakewood NJ

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

My friends and I eat breakfast out every Tuesday morning, usually in the same place but lately we’ve been trying to find some new places to go. So I print out a coupon from Restaurant.com ( which in itself is a great place to visit and take advantage of) for Granny’s Kitchen and proceed to place it on my refrigerator for almost 1 year before finally using it on this past Tuesday.

Granny’s is in Lakewood on the Bricktown border in the Home Depot plaza on Rte 70 east Since Granny’s is in a town some 25 miles from my neighborhood, I don’t have any sense of what type of place it is.  Upon arriving and at first glance it appears that Granny’s is a diner/luncheonette (remember that word?). Upon entering the first thing you notice is a broken down and cluttered wind break area between the two doors that lead to the seating area. We are seated quickly (and given menus) at a table that does not fit three men of our stature, so we move to another table that allows more elbow room.

Ordering takes awhile since the menu is pretty extensive and two sided, but we navigate to the Steak and Eggs which seems to be a good deal compared to the other breakfast specials and regular meals. We order three Rib eye steaks and eggs, all med rare, all over medium eggs, which also include toast and home fries. Vinny, as I like to call him, can not just eat breakfast but has to order some types of sides to start. Usually toasted corn muffins are his preference as it is today. He also orders a short stack of ‘cakes as Gus orders up a side of potato pancakes.

The corn muffin arrives first and we all agree that it tastes like fish oil. Not a good muffin at all. Eggs are being served as we set aside the muffin.  The steaks turn out to be cut “thinner than the slices of toast”,  a quote from Gus, and our eggs are browned and yolks are dried up. The home fried potatoes are a mix of what looks like old and new. some of which are blackened throughout. As it is we proceed to eat most of the food served to us and complain as we do that we won’t be returning to feast here again.

Okay so lets look at the good first. The waitress was friendly and competent. The food was served quickly and nothing was incorrect or missing. Now the bad. The eggs were overcooked, the steak was about 3 ozs, pre cooked weight, the potatoes black and white. The pancakes were average but as Vinny noted the syrup was very good. “Thick”, he said. The potato pancakes were the type that are served in almost every place in New Jersey. Frozen, pre-made and fried in deep fat and served up with apple sauce and sour cream. No comment.

So there you have it, although as bad as the meal was, it wasn’t as bad as the run down and dirty dining room. The over head fans were thick with dust, the air registers were black and the walls were in desperate need of new paint. The type of walls that had pictures framed in dirt from being there so long.  I almost feel bad writing such a bad review but I can’t find anything that would make me return for a second try.

Too bad because the wait staff was very nice and deserve a better working environment. It would definitely make for better tips. It almost seems like the owner has given up on his investment and refuses to put any effort into cleaning up.

For three steak and eggs, one short stack, one potato pancake, two corn muffins and  three iced coffees, a grand total of $42.23. With the Restaurant.com coupon we save 50% which puts us at $21+. We drop $30 on the table and bid the place ad

Regular Guy rating * 1/2

Granny’s Kitchen

Rte 70 East

Lakewood New Jersey