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MY REVIEW: Somerset Diner, Somerset, NJ; Diner Food and More

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Located just off exit 10 on I 287 - about one mile south on NJ 527 (Easton Ave.)
Diner Food and More in Somerset, NJ

Had an unexpectedly great eating experience at the Somerset Diner and Restaurant (1040 Easton Ave, Somerset, NJ) last Saturday evening. The exterior is done in a stainless steel and red, faux diner style and it is clean, reasonably priced for the area, serves very good food from meatloaf to prime ribs and italian dishes and the portions are substantial. The bus people work like demons keeping tables cleared and clean and my waitress was courteous, friendly and most importantly, there when I needed her! I had the Prime Rib special that came with your choice of soups (while the Matzo Ball soup was tempting, I went with the minestrone and was not disappointed) a salad (nice size, very crisp lettuce with shredded carrot and some purple cabbage, a generous amount of tomato and a decent blue cheese dressing) two hot crusty rolls with butter (delicious, fresh, yeasty rolls) two side vegetable dishes (I had the baked potato with REAL sour cream and a stewed eggplant and onion dish that was nicely prepared and surprisingly good considering the utilitarian name!) and topped it off with a dessert. A small dessert came with the special (I can’t remember exactly what that was) but they offered any of the regular pies or cakes for only a $1.25 extra charge. I had the blueberry pie with a very nice sized portion of vanilla ice cream and a mountain of whipped cream. The pie was above average for what you would expect at a good diner – very good but not your Aunt Martha’s home made, to-die-for pie! The coffee was very good as well.

What I enjoyed most about this diner was the warm atmosphere and the incredibly good service. The owner is on hand keeping an eye on things and speaking with the regulars. There is also a very stern looking older gentleman who walks around wordlessly managing the wait staff. He obviously does a great job but never smiles! They have a few flat-screen TVs mounted near the ceiling which were on mute with closed captions displayed so they were not offensive or overly obtrusive in any way and I enjoyed being able to watch the end of the Penn State Wisconsin game. The place has a nice “homey” feel and obviously attracts a large number of local regulars and families. While it was full almost all of the time I was there, it never felt crowded and the line was never excessively long and it moved quickly. I liked it so well that I went back for a quick lunch the next day before I had to hit the road. They also make a great strawberry milkshake with real ice cream and strawberries.

I’ll make a point of going back again whenever I’m in this area! Highly recommended for people who like well prepared comfort food served in amounts that will not let you leave hungry in a warm, friendly atmosphere.

 
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  1. I have to say the Somerset Diner, once remodeled has gone down hill. We live in Somerset and used to use the place as a second kitchen. Now, the hosts seem angry that your coming, dont say hello and need a good class in customer service. The food, now priced at a premium to other diners in New Brunswick or Bridgewater, we just dont frequent the place anymore.

    Id recommend the Omega on Rt 1 in North Brunswick or the Bridgewater Diner on Rt 22 in Bridgewater as better options for warmth, service and food quality.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Mike21NJ

      Is there anything on the menu at Omega that is exceptional? Always wanted to try it but I've been disappointed by so many diners that I'd love a crash course on what to get and more importantly what to avoid, Especially interested in how the soup is.

      1. re: Mike21NJ

        I also live in Somerset, and I am going to respectfully disagree with Mike. When I first moved to the area, about 12 years ago, I was so disappointed with the dinner entrees at the Somerset Diner that I quickly concluded that it was okay for breakfast or lunch, but not a place to go for dinner.

        However, subsequent to their renovation, I have found the quality of the dinners to have improved greatly. The soups are generally good, and unlike most diners, you are served a large bowl of soup with your entree, rather than just receiving a cup of soup. The salads are definitely a cut above what is served at most diners. As to the entrees, I cannot attest to the quality of everything on the menu, but I have been very satisfied with everything that I have ordered.

        I frequently visit the Somerset Diner, and I have never encountered an attitude that the host was "angry" at my arrival. And, all of my waitresses have been both friendly and efficient.

        I have brought out-of-town friends to the Somerset Diner, and universally they request a return visit when they next visit me. Their usual comment is something on the order of, "I wish I had this diner near my house".

        If you go for one of the dinner specials, you will receive the aforementioned bowl of soup, plus one of those nice salads, plus a credible version of a "comfort food" type of entree, plus dessert and coffee for...usually something on the order of $9.95. I have not been able to find this combination of price and quality at other diners in the area.

      2. we occasionally have breakfast there....its not a bad diner. especially if you get the one waiter, a little strange, but great service...

        1. Went there for lunch a couple of months back, all 3 of us got salads. The portions were huge (nobody finished), but the lettuce was not very fresh and we all had upset stomachs after. Plus a waiter who had a cold or something and wiped his nose on his sleeve. Ick. Not the greatest diner for many reasons.

          1. This is a very mediocre diner. They take a lot of shortcuts with their food, especially with dinner. I guess they are okay for breakfast or for a burger. Beyond that I would not expect to much. Went there for dinner with parents, and they have had some mediocre experiences there, so they ordered what they thought was a safe option-a grilled cheese sandwich. This place could not handle it. Excessively greasy bread put together haphazardly, with a couple of slices of cheese in the center so that about a third of the sandwich had no cheese. That really convinced me that this place is for breakfast or a burger, but little else.

            1. My wife and I ate there recently. I wasn't particularly impressed with the food. The bus staff scurried about frantically as though they feared being whipped (or maybe reported to the INS) if they didn't move quickly enough. My wife ordered a grilled cheese sandwich and was amazed thet couldn't prepare such a standard fare dish competently. The bread is supposed to be grilled; that's why they call it a grilled cheese sandwich. Instead, they toasted the bread and the placed some half-melted cheese slices in between.