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Jun 1, 2007 12:44 PM

PJ Clarke's = PJ Clueless

So my boyfriend and I went there this afternoon for lunch after having passed by and thinking it looked like a good place to eat, and knowing the history of the original place. It seems like a good place to throw back a beer, but i have to say, from a food perspective, it is the worst. I had a grilled chicken sandwich [with a slice of cheddar, a slice of apple and sweet onion [which weren't]] and he had a Chicken Salad. The sandwich was a tasteless waste bland chicken. To boot, none of the sandwiches come with any sides which is a BIG deal when you're paying $12.50. If we had wanted fries we had to pay an extra $4.80 which I found simply ridiculous considering the cost of the sandwich alone. The salad was mediocre as well and certainly not worth the $16 price tag. Oh, the pickle was good. Our waitress was less than mediocre and carried a "who cares" attitude which made the whole dining experience even worst. It's a shame that the new owners are looking no more than to cash in on the original and it's famed history instead of really creating something new. The original was a raw old time saloon with befitting [and satisfying] saloon grub. This is neither a saloon nor a restaurant. Tourists BEWARE!

· Pros: Convenient to Lincoln Center; spacious by NYC standards

· Cons: Tasteless bland food, overpriced, unfriendly staff

· Overall user rating: Not Recommended

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  1. Is this the PJ Clarke's on the East Side - Midtown?

    2 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      This was at the Lincoln Center location.
      As for going back for a burger? I think I'll pass. A cheeseburger with onion and bacon will set me back $11. I'd prefer to hit the Burger Joint and pay $6 and leave satisfied.

      1. re:

        Thanks - I didn't know there was one there - not that like it sounds like I want to go!

    2. I'm usually drunk when I order food here. Only been to the original on 55th and 3rd Ave.

      1. perhaps go back and get a burger. you'll be much happier. plenty of coffee shops for the george costanza chicken salad.

        7 Replies
        1. re: harrison

          I think the level of burger quality (burger joint, shake shack, BLT, Rare, Royale, etc) has risen so dramaticaly over the last few years in the City, that the once good burger at PJ's is now rather mediocre. I've been to the new UWS PJ's a couple of times and it is pretty much the same as the original which is not that great anymore....

          Then again with the dearth of good burgers on the UWS it would seem like a serius burger place (just a good burger a Rare BTW) would have the UWSer's lining up....

          1. re: Cpalms

            two good points, Cpalms. unlikely to seem like a good burger as a result of BJ, SS, etc [thank goodness]; however, b/c the UWS is lacking in good burger places that seem to be sprouting up everywhere but here [LOTS OF EMPTY STOREFRONTS UP HERE. COME... PLEASE COME], some may be easily fooled. i have to say that this UWSer has been to BJ, SS, bgr, NY Burger Co, Blue 9, Soho Park, and has no plans of stopping into PJs given several consistent bad reviews not limited to the burgers. So, we'll just wait up here and hope...

            1. re: nativeNYer

              I ordered a medium-rare burger at the UWS PJ's two weeks ago and was thoroughly unimpressed, especially when it arrived at my table a) 10 minutes after my boyfriend's dinner, and b) extremely well-done. Will not be going back.

              1. re: nativeNYer

                Lincoln Center crowd may well keep PJs in business for a good while. Native, try the Lamb Burger (comes topped with goat cheese) at Compass (and the mussles and fries) from the lounge menu--its different and very good. I almost never go out for a burger 'cause mine tastes better than any I have had out really.

                1. re: Ora

                  thanks, ora. i've heard great things about compass. a lamb burger with goat cheese really sounds fabulous. i'll have a couple of mussels but i'm not a big fan. i agree that tourists (hanging near lincoln center and columbus circle)may very well flock to PJs and keep them in business. the place looks cute but uggh!! such a prime location. i can't even imagine the crowds that would flock there if a really great place opened.

                  1. re: nativeNYer

                    How about the crabcakes? East Side PJ Clarks gets raves for their crabcakes. I'm willing to go and drink a warm beer there if they serve those great crab cakes...

                    1. re: debola

                      Although I haven't been to PJ Clarke's Lincoln Center clone, I always love a good slam when I read one.

                      The original is not about food only - its a raucous slice of old New York, and its charming atmosphere is specifically tied to its place and its history on Third Avenue. Foodwise, I've always had good meals there, both downstairs in the saloon and upstairs in the speakeasy, or whatever they call it.

                      Commoditizing the original by cloning it is obviously a shrewd and greedy move. Hopefully it won't inundate the original with bad karma. Soon there will be a PJ Clarke's in every mall in America and tourists will flock to the original, cameras in hand, for their momentary brush with the "real" PJs.

                      Have you heard that Rao's of all places was cloned in Las Vegas? Nothing is surprising anymore.

        2. You are certainly on target. A few years ago, my teenage son and I went there while on a trip to NYC. I had set it up for him that this place was the classic old saloon that served great bacon cheeseburgers, etc. I can say that it was truly a sad visit. We have been to restaurants previously that did not live up to expectations, but this was just listless. No excitement or buzz (I realize this place had its heyday decades ago but this was ridiculous.) The bacon cheeseburger was not merely not good; it was horrible. Tasteless. On a cold untoasted bun. Expensive. The 3rd avenue place must stay in business by luring unsuspecting tourists like we. shame on them

          1 Reply
          1. re: steakman55

            been to the 3rd avenue place many times and really never thought of it as an eating destination. sure the burger is pretty good, better can be had elsewhere, more you go there more for the ambiance and the history of the joint. sit at the bar and have a beer or a drink instead. never knew of the UWS location. maybe if if i went above 23rd street more often.

          2. This may be bit later than everyone elses post, but we ate here tonight and it was much better than billed, although I will agree that cheap it was not. The beer was cold, the raw bar quite tasty, and the burgers are good. While its not a destination, it was a great place to be if you are in the Lincoln Center Area and want some time and a table to talk and drink with your friends.