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Oct 23, 2007 03:06 PM

CJ Montana's Update

My husband and I just returned from CJ Montana's (Sycamore Ave, Tinton Falls). The menu is limited right now. I asked the server when full menu will be available and she told me that as of Nov 6 they will have the full menu and hopefully, it will be online.

I had a salad with fried chicken pieces. It was very good and also, very filling. My husband had a burger. He said it was excellent. We each had a beer. I was too full to have dessert.

The bar was very busy. We'll try the bar and Happy Hour next time.

We will go back.

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  1. I was in last night for Monday Night Football. Not very busy. Very nice bar, small menu. Everything we had (wings, burgers, shrimp po boy) very good. Nice job with the interior redo, except they left a very old, cluttered kitchen exposed to the dining room.

    5 Replies
    1. re: hotfoodhot

      IS this the same location Brix was in?

        1. re: Angelina

          I didn't know Brix. All I know is that the location is the old Airport Inn. It's down the street from the Pour House.

          1. re: vtt7

            Old Airport Inn!! Wow, that goes back many moons!!!

            1. re: vtt7

              I had lunch once at Brix. Iirc, it was located in a stand-alone building on Shrewsbury Av., near Apple St.

        2. Watched football there Sunday. Angus burger was very good. Skinny fries, however, not a big fan. One of the bartenders was way too aggressive with the refills. At least twice asked if I'm ready for a refill when my beer was about 3/4 done. Good football watching bar. One big screen located on the side (why there?) and 7 or 8 regular size screens behind the bar on this huge wall mixed amoung shelves of varios liquor bottles. Nice effect. Brix wardrobe employed...all black. Has possibilities. Stay tuned.

          2 Replies
          1. re: kryptonite

            My husband and I didn't like the fries, either. They have to go.

            1. re: kryptonite

              Stopped in for a beer yesterday during the Jet game. Charged me $4.25 for a Yuengling draft (On a football Sunday mind you where beer specials should be the norm). Last week they were $2.99. I asked the manager why the difference. He said they were having problems with their computers last week. Huh? Based upon the failure rate of this location they should be giving beer away rather than charging Buona Sera-like prices. Look for this place to be closed by March.

            2. I don't recall Brix. The last restaurant there was Aleo's.

              1. My husband and I went this past Sat. Night, Nov. 11th and there was still a limited menu, but plenty of good options to choose from. They start off by giving you these mini croissants which were fresh from the oven-very good. I had a side salad which was a pretty big size, and very good, and lobster ravioli which was prob the best I've ever had. The ravioli was stuffed with chunks of real lobster meat, not the lobster/crab-meat mixture which most restaurants serve. My husband had a pork chop which practically took up the entire plate. He loved it. For dessert we had carrot cake-which was could tell everything is homemade--We'll definitely be back and are looking foward to seeing the full menu.

                1 Reply
                1. re: lc123

                  Ic123, thanks for the update. We went back this past Friday. It was pretty noisy. We got there before Happy Hour ended. We spoke with the owner and he told us that doors were going to be put up between the bar and the dining room. Also, if you noticed, they expect to have the full menu sometime after Thanksgiving. I'm looking forward to the menu. We had a waitress that was ok, but not super nice. We will go back once the menu is expanded.

                2. My husband and I tried to get in there last night at around 7 PM to give the pace a try. It was a mob scene. They were lined up just to get to the hostess stand so we didn't even find out how long of a wait there actually was. We walked out and I had to ask my husband if it was really Sunday night. Seemed more like a Friday or Saturday to me. Wow............they must be doing something right. I'll have to give it a try another time. We ended up at the Globe in RB.

                  15 Replies
                  1. re: sunsetterdottie

                    "Wow............they must be doing something right."

                    Hey, sunsetterdottie, I had to chuckle at that comment. From my experience, that is often far from true. There are many restaurants in this area that get huge patronage but where the food is mundane at best. Thus, huge crowds are not always an indication that a place is worthwhile.

                    As of now, none of the board regulars whose opinions I trust has tried it, and I'm loathe to "take one for the team." But if you go sometime, I will be very interested to hear what you think.

                    P.S. I've not heard of the Globe. Where is it in Red Bank and what kind of food do they serve?

                    1. re: RGR

                      The Globe is at 20 East Front St. in Red Bank. It is an sports bar that looks like many of the bars from my youth. It was our first time there and the "bar fare" was pretty good. Although I ordered fried mac n cheese as an appy and did not care for that at all. Pretty bland and they served it with marinara sauce which just doesn't go together in my book. However, I had a cheeseburger and was pretty pleased except for the roll. But I am not sure that the rolls of my youth (aka, flaky HARDROLLS) even exist anymore so perhaps I just need to learn to settle in that department because it is always my complaint about burgers. My husband had a reuben and he was pleased. He is very picky about his reubens and has not found one in Monmouth County that he likes so that was a positive. The rye bread was not very big but they stacked in pretty high and put the kraut in the middle so it made up for it. We sat at the bar, so I can't comment on the table service but the bartenders were good. The atomospher is very "Cheers" and we were welcomed even though it was our first time.

                      As for CJ Montana's, I am scheduled to try and go there again on Tuesday evening after a meeting with a group of folks. I'll let you know.

                      1. re: sunsetterdottie

                        Thanks for that info about the Globe. We don't do sports bars, so that's why it didn't ring the proverbial bell.

                        1. re: sunsetterdottie

                          sunsetter, Has your husband tried the reubens at Kelly's in Neptune or Richard's in West End?

                          1. re: fershore

                            Yes to Kelly's but not in a long time. We tried to go there for lunch on New Year's Eve but he couldn't get one because they had a special menu due to an early party. I am not familar with Richard's. We will have to look into that one. Thanks.

                        2. re: RGR

                          RGR, I agree with you completely that crowd does not equal quality. I can't help but wonder why the previous restaurants at this location had the opposite problem. Decent fare and few patrons.

                          I've dined three times at CJ Montanas. Because it's close to my home, I really want it to be yummy. However, each time, things were fair at best. The elements were consistent at each visit: enthusiastic, friendly servers; good wine selection at reasonable prices; pleasant environment; so-so food.

                          First visit: Their "signature dish," pistachio parmesan-crusted tilapia had no flavor and the almond pasta (orzo) salad was excellent but would have benefited from being served at room temp instead of chilled. The DH had a steak. It was fine, nothing special.

                          Second visit: Lunch with Mom. Perfectly adequate sandwiches. Large portions. Nothing memorable. (Coincidentally, we were there at the same time as Don Wilno, the press reviewer who loved the place.)

                          Third visit: Exceptionally friendly server (I love that; warms the soul). Mom and DH had burgers: enormous, nothing special. So-so fries. I ordered a special. This is exactly how it was worded: panko parmesan-crusted chicken breast with a light tomato cream sauce. The chicken was fine but served dry. On the side was linguine in the sauce. Very good. Now get this: a helping of rice pilaf was also on the plate. It was also very good. I mentioned the oddity of this to the server and she said she's been telling them to replace the rice with a vegetable.

                          Each time, the server failed to serve us bread while the tables around us had it.

                          I'm chalking it up to good advertising and low expectation/standards.

                          Regarding the Globe, good burgers and buffalo wings. It's kind of perfect if you've been spending time visiting loved ones at Riverview.

                          1. re: fershore


                            Thanks for those details re: your experiences at C.J. Montana's. I guess I can understand you wanting to give it a fair try, especially since it's close to your home. But you are so right that most of the dining public has very low standards.

                            Honestly, when new places open near us, if the food is not very good to excellent the first time, I immediately write them off despite their convenience. I'd rather travel for top-notch food than put up with mediocrity. Thus, since I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of excellent restaurants very close to our house, we put quite a bit of mileage on our car. lol

                            1. re: RGR

                              That is why so often lately a trip to wegmans and then back home to make it happens as often as going out. Last night was considering Whispers, opted for short ribs at home instead. BTW, great!

                          2. re: RGR

                            RGR - Just read this -- I know Houlihans isn't fine dining, but their reuben is delicious! McDonoughs in Keyport has a corned beef wrap which is just like a reuben and is also pretty good.

                            1. re: mfp79


                              I don't like wraps of any kind; however, I'm always up for a great classic Reuben, so thanks for the tip about Houlihan's. :-)

                              1. re: RGR

                                I went to CJ Montana's last night after a meeting with a group. We ordered lite fare since it was late. Nachos for me (I was a bit disappointed........lots of chips, olives and jalepenos, but not much meat or cheese). My dining companions each had a burger. One beef, one turkey. Both said they were good but there was not a lot of excitement such as "OH MY GOD THIS IS THE BEST" or anything of that sort. The fourth person had a small bowl of chili. Her reaction was much the same of the burger eaters. The service was outstanding. The atmosphere is pleasant. I will give it another shot in order to try their "proper" menu.

                                1. re: sunsetterdottie

                                  Thanks for the report, sunsetterdottie. I look forward to hearing what you think after you try the "proper" menu though, to be honest, I'd be surprised if it elicits any more excitement.

                                  1. re: RGR

                                    Thanks very much for all the CJ Montana's info. It's right around the corner and I've been wanting to go...better off staying away and hitting my fave Molly P for a late lunch/early dinner...BTW..I Cavallini is a nice choice for lunch, the prices are within reach and the service is impeccible. Say hello to my buddy AKUN the manager, he's a sweet guy who will steer you in the right direction...also, the fish is delivered daily, so no need to worry about partaking in anything decaying...LOL>>

                                    1. re: jerseygurl

                                      We tried CJ Montana's earlier today. I had a pulled chicken sandwich (chicken instead of pork). It came on a nice roll/bread, however, there was very little chicken. Basically, I ate bread. I did not like the cole slaw that came with the sandwich. My husband had a chicken caesar wrap which was ok. I've been here four times and considering we usually order some kind of sandwich and a beer, we decided we'll go down the street to the Pour House. I don't think we'll go to back to CJ Montana's....

                                      1. re: vtt7

                                        I tried CJ Montana's for a business dinner tonite. The food wasn't great but it wasn't horrible either. The best thing I can say about the place was that the host and our waiter were very friendly and went out of their way to make my party feel welcome. Many "better" restaurants could learn by their example. The restaurant was pretty packed for a Tuesday night and the bar scene was quite happening. As far as the decor, I liked the design of the space (a mix of dark colors and flat panel TV's in the bar) and interesting wavy banquette's in the smallish dining room. While decent, both of my food items missed the mark. I ordered a pub green salad (mixed greens with almonds and wonton strips in a nice vinaigrette) ($3.99 with dinner or $9.99 on its own) which was overdressed along with the cowboy steak with herb butter ($29) which while ordered medium rare arrived rare and lacked seasoning (remedied by a health dose of salt). One other nit pick. The steak was to come with a loaded baked potato. As I eschew carbs I asked if I could substitute a veg. Surprisingly, while I could sub the potato with another starch (fries, mashed or rice) I couldn't do so with the chef's evening veg selection (asparagus). Thankfully, the steak did arrive with steamed squash. One positive to report. Our wait person remembering that I wasn't interested in carbs intentionally avoided placing a bread plate in front of me. All in all a decent restaurant. While I wont be rushing to go back, I think we could all do much worse. Good Luck.